A home of one’s own: it’s core to what it means to be human. Very few people choose to live on the street, in a shelter or institution. For many, supportive housing – affordability plus supportive services – is key to finding and maintaining a home.
At Brilliant Corners, we’ve seen amazing things happen when people embrace this Housing First mindset and a commitment to align the right housing and supportive service resources. With public and private partners, we’re building new, scalable supportive housing platforms to rapidly house thousands of formerly homeless people and those at risk of homelessness each year. We’ve also partnered with state and local agencies to create community-based housing for over 1,000 previously institutionalized Californians with developmental disabilities.
We are honored to be part of this collaborative work – meeting each person where they are, advocating for transformative systems change, aligning existing and new resources for better results. We embrace the challenge of scaling supportive housing solutions, confident that together, we can bring about the better world our hearts know is possible.
William F. Pickel
Director of Housing DevelopmentSami joined Brilliant Corners in 2011. During his tenure, he expanded the San Francisco-based development department into a statewide team responsible for the creation of over 200 residential care facilities, leveraging over $100 million in local, state, federal and private funding for the successful transition of over 1,000 individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities from state-run hospitals into community living. Sami oversees the acquisition and construction of supportive housing with primary responsibility for managing relationships with all key stakeholders including funding agencies, service providers, consumers and the community at-large. Sami holds a Master’s in Public Administration with a concentration in Nonprofit Management and has been a California licensed Real Estate Broker (DRE Lic. #01470174) since 2005.
Housing Services Director, Northern California
Stephany oversees all housing services programs across Brilliant Corners’ San Francisco and San Mateo offices. She is the former Executive Director of the St. James Infirmary, the nation’s only healthcare and social service agency by and for the sex worker community, and she currently serves on the Leadership Team of the TGI Justice Project. She has been active in San Francisco politics, serving as President of the Harvey Milk LGBT Democratic Club, as a Legislative Aide to former Supervisor David Campos, and as a Campaign Manager and Communications Consultant for various local campaigns. Most recently, she worked on Tipping Point Community’s Chronic Homelessness Initiative.
Director, Los Angeles Flexible Housing Subsidy PoolChris joined Brilliant Corners in 2014. As a leader of Brilliant Corners’ Housing Acquisitions team, Chris helped to launch the FHSP program and has provided strategic oversight to the scaling of the FHSP’s housing portfolio to include over 4,800 individual market rate scattered-site units throughout the county over the past four years. His current role has given him the opportunity to focus extensively on housing location and landlord recruitment throughout Los Angeles County. Prior to joining Brilliant Corners, Chris worked to improve community housing outcomes in Santa Barbara County. He holds a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science from University of California, Santa Barbara.
Director of Data and TechnologyJosh brings over a decade of experience in the public and non-profit sectors to the Brilliant Corners operations. From 2011 to 2017, he worked at the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority (LAHSA), where he oversaw data collection, research and program evaluation. Prior to that, Josh spent five years in the non-profit education space with a focus on designing data systems to support participant information management and outcome measurement. He holds a Bachelor’s degree in Mathematics from San Francisco State University and a Master’s in Business Administration from the University of Southern California.
Director of FinanceIvy brings over 15 years of professional accounting experience to Brilliant Corners. She began her career in the Los Angeles office of Deloitte, where she worked both in the Audit and Tax groups, primarily with real estate and high net-worth clients. Ivy then joined Hackman Capital Partners LLC, a private equity firm. During her 11-year tenure, she held many key positions, most recently as Senior Vice President of Corporate Accounting, and played a vital role in the company’s growth through the development of infrastructure for the accounting department, system implementations and corporate shared services. Ivy is a Los Angeles native, graduated Magna Cum Laude from Clark Atlanta University with a Bachelor’s degree in Accounting and is an active Certified Public Accountant.
Head of People
Josh joined Brilliant Corners in 2018, bringing significant experience working with rapidly growing organizations. As the lead of Brilliant Corners’ Human Capital team, Josh oversees the staffing, benefits, culture and compliance for the organization. Prior to joining Brilliant Corners, Josh directed the exceptional growth of Think Together, an education-based non-profit. During his 12-year tenure with that organization, Josh provided leadership in Human Capital and oversaw a merger with a locally-based non-profit. Josh holds a Bachelor’s degree from the University of California, Irvine and a Professional in Human Resources certification from the Society for Human Resource Management. Josh is an active member of the Silicon Valley Community Foundation, the University of California, Irvine Alumni Association and the Latino Association Young Executives.
Senior Director of Program Initiatives
Tyler joined Brilliant Corners in 2009. Tyler initially provided support and oversight for Brilliant Corners’ first scattered-site supportive housing program, located in San Francisco, to house over 150 people experiencing homelessness. In 2013, Tyler moved to Los Angeles to expand Brilliant Corners’ operations in Southern California, while also launching Brilliant Corners’ first partnership with the Los Angeles Department of Health Services – Housing for Health office. Two years later, Tyler helped to launch the Flexible Housing Subsidy Pool in Los Angeles County. Tyler currently provides oversight to innovative supportive housing programs in the Inland Empire and the Bay Area.
Chief Financial OfficerHam brings over 11 years of progressive experience in private real estate and non-profit work, including real estate accounting, operational and technical accounting, GAAP, process and technology improvements, audits, financial planning and accounting, and reporting. Prior to joining Brilliant Corners in 2018, Ham worked at two public accounting firms on non-profit audits for healthcare clients, state departments, and school districts and counties, and then as Assistant Controller at Northern California Presbyterian Homes & Services, a $90M non-profit that provides housing to the elderly. Ham has experience managing and supervising staff, and enjoys mentoring and leading others. He passed all California CPA exams, and holds Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Accounting from the University of Arizona.
Statewide Case Management Director
Lisa joined Brilliant Corners in 2015. She oversees Brilliant Corners’ case management programs and services in San Francisco, the Inland Empire, and Los Angeles County. Lisa engages with high-level government and partner stakeholders to develop, operationalize, and scale supportive housing services that embrace a Housing First model. She developed and managed Brilliant Corners’ Breaking Barriers program, an innovative rapid rehousing and case management program serving Los Angeles County adult probationers. Prior to joining Brilliant Corners, Lisa provided clinical case management to former foster care and probation youth. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Sociology from Stanford University and a Master’s in Social Work from Washington University in St. Louis. Lisa is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (#75963, California Board of Behavioral Services).
Chief Operating OfficerJonas brings to Brilliant Corners a background in both for-profit and non-profit organizations in high-growth stages. He has helped lead organizations to scale, served as a thought partner with CEOs and founders, and has hands-on experience in program, project and people management, technology and finance. He played key roles in scaling Bay Area organizations and companies nationally—including Revolution Foods, Sports4Kids/PlayWorks, and Noah’s Bagels. Jonas also led operations efforts for three international organizations: at Room to Read, as Vice President of Finance and Operations at Global Citizen Year, and as founder of World PULSE, a Bay Area international non-profit for young adults from low-income backgrounds. Jonas has a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science and Asian Studies from University of California, Berkeley.
Director of Supportive HousingWendy joined Brilliant Corners in 2015. She has more than 30 years of experience promoting and providing safe and appropriate housing for very low-and extremely low-income seniors, people with disabilities, and people experiencing or at risk of homelessness or institutionalization. She has supervised property managers at every level as well as overseen social service, compliance, fair housing and maintenance departments. Her portfolio has included management of cooperatives, SROs, affordable housing for families and the elderly, care homes, and other forms of permanent supportive housing. She has a Bachelor’s degree in Human Development, Family Studies, and Related Services from Cornell University.
Director of Internal AuditsCristobal leads the financial reporting function for Brilliant Corners, including financial statement audits and other internal and external reporting engagements. Prior to joining Brilliant Corners, Cristobal spent more than 10 years in public accounting, working primarily with non-profit affordable housing real estate developers that emphasized tax credit projects. He has worked with most of the larger Bay Area affordable housing developers, including Eden Housing, BRIDGE, Mid-Pen, and EBALDC along with other developers throughout California including Newport Partners and CHIP. His particular areas of focus during that time were cost certifications and consolidations. Cristobal holds a Bachelor’s degree in Accounting from the University of Florida.
Housing Services Director, Inland EmpireNarmin joined Brilliant Corners in 2018. She oversees the management and growth of operations, programs and partnerships in the Inland Empire. Narmin comes to Brilliant Corners with 10 years of experience in non-profit management, social justice and community and organizational leadership. She most recently served as the Bay Area Program Director of Peer Health Exchange, a national non-profit organization dedicated to empowering young people with the knowledge, skills and resources to make healthy decisions. Narmin completed a dual Bachelor’s degree in Development Studies and Mass Communications from University of California, Berkeley and a Master’s of Social Work from University of Michigan.
William F. Pickel
Chief Executive OfficerBill joined Brilliant Corners in 2007. During his tenure, he has been fortunate to work with internal and external partners who shared and operationalized his belief in the power of supportive housing to change lives and improve communities. During his decade with the organization, Brilliant Corners has emerged as a leading supportive housing provider with a track record of piloting, replicating and scaling system-changing programs – particularly programs for people transitioning from homelessness or institutionalization. He has championed the agency’s re-branding, its alignment with the guiding principles of supportive housing, its geographic expansion outside the Bay Area, and expanding its mission to serving a range of vulnerable individuals who could benefit from supportive housing. Under his tenure, Brilliant Corners’ workforce has grown from 2 to over 300 full-time team members working in our San Francisco and Los Angeles hubs with expertise in supportive housing development, property management, housing services, and case management. Prior to joining Brilliant Corners, William served as Director of Housing Development for California Community Housing, where he had primary responsibility for all real estate development and financing, securing $250M in federal, state, local and private funding in support of 18 multi-family projects including HUD and Low-Income Housing Tax Credit housing. He holds an M.A. in Religious Studies from Boston University, a Bachelor’s degree in Literature from the State University of New Jersey, and an Advanced Affordable Housing Development Training Institute Certificate from the Local Initiative Support Corporation.
Chief Program OfficerDanielle joined Brilliant Corners in 2017. She oversees Brilliant Corners’ supportive housing programs and provides strategic oversight for Brilliant Corners’ Flexible Housing Subsidy Pool. She also plays a leadership role in inter-agency and public-private advocacy and coordination within Los Angeles County’s increasingly robust supportive housing systems. Previously, Danielle served as a Director for CSH, advising public agencies on systems changes to prevent and end homelessness with a focus on reentry issues. Prior to CSH, she served as a Senior Policy Analyst at HomeBase, providing technical assistance for the U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development (HUD). Danielle earned her J.D. from New York Law School, where she received awards for her commitment to civil rights and public service.
Past President Emeritus
Donny is President and CEO of Sunseri Construction, a general contracting company with operations in California and Nevada. Founded in the early 1970’s, Sunseri has a mission to serve organizations providing affordable multi-family and senior housing. This mission has been realized with the construction of over 8,000 units of housing for low-income seniors, families, homeless individuals and people needing assistance. Donny has been active in housing advocacy since the early 1980’s and is a member and contributor to numerous organizations, including East Bay Housing Organization, Housing California, Sacramento Housing Alliance and the Non Profit Housing Association of Northern California.
Bob is a practicing attorney with Goldfarb & Lipman, emphasizing transactional real estate involving the development and preservation of affordable housing Bob’s focus is on structuring complex transactions involving multiple layers of financing, especially those with some type of federal assistance, including, for example, tax credits, FHA mortgage assistance, and Section 8 rental subsidies. Prior to Goldfarb & Lipman, Bob was an attorney at HUD, participating in numerous loan closings, negotiating the sale of properties from HUD’s multifamily portfolio, and enforcing the federal Fair Housing Act. Bob has also worked as a newspaper reporter in Los Angeles and Australia before abandoning all creative thought processes and attending law school. For fun, he occasionally sports odd facial hair, to the deep embarrassment of his two daughters. When that ceases to provide enjoyment, Bob likes to run, read, and tend to the backyard garden.
Shamus is the Executive Director at the National Housing Law Practice, a non-profit national housing and legal advocacy center with a mission to advance housing justice for poor people. Prior to his work at NHLP, Shamus was Executive Director of Housing California. While there, Shamus led advocates statewide in advancing important initiatives that improved California’s policy frameworks for housing its most vulnerable communities, including the Affordable Housing and Sustainable Communities Program, the Veterans Housing and Homelessness Prevention Program, the CalWorks Housing Support Program, and Bringing Families Home. Prior to Housing California, Shamus served as Executive Director of the Sacramento Housing Alliance where he spearheaded policy initiatives that cleared the path for increased mixed income housing and transit-oriented development. He started his career running street outreach programs for homeless youth and adults.
Dave is Executive Director at Partnership to End Homelessness, a collaborative vehicle for coordinating and creating effective change and for improving and increasing housing and services for low-income and homeless people in Marin. Dave is an established housing advocate in Marin County and is dedicated to helping all members of our community in need of housing.
Advisory Member Emeritus
Bruce has over 40 years of experience in the field of disabled rights advocacy. A San Francisco native, he received his Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees from San Francisco State University. His clients include Hyatt Hotels, the San Francisco Paratransit Broker, and the San Francisco Municipal Railway. He has served on numerous boards of directors and brings a thorough knowledge of accessibility and civil rights.
Cynthia Nagendra is the Executive Director of the UCSF Benioff Homelessness and Housing Initiative. Prior to joining UCSF, Cynthia served as the director for the Center for Capacity Building at the National Alliance to End Homelessness. Her experience includes over 10 years of providing assistance to communities around the country in building system capacity to provide more effective responses to homelessness. Before working at the Alliance, Cynthia worked as a staff attorney for HomeBase, The Center for Common Concerns. She also worked in direct services for several years as a program manager for the St. Anthony Foundation Learning Center with homeless individuals and families in San Francisco. She has performed legal and policy work related to women’s rights, immigration and re-entry programming in New York City.
Debbie is the National Vice President of Supportive Housing at National Equity Fund, Inc. (NEF), a leading non-profit syndicator of low-income housing tax credits. She has overseen the acquisition and/or underwriting of more than $1 billion in tax credit equity for special-needs projects including more than 4,000 units of housing for homeless veterans in 15 states. Debbie founded and directs LISC-NEF’s Bring Them HOMES, a supportive housing initiative for homeless veterans. She serves on the boards of National Coalition for Homeless Veterans and Corporation for Supportive Housing (CSH). Debbie received the Corporate Silver Star Award from Volunteers of America Illinois, the Community Hero Award from New Directions, and was profiled by Affordable Housing Finance as one of ten women leading the affordable housing industry. She earned her Bachelor’s degree from Duke University and Master’s degrees in Business Administration and City and Regional Planning from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Nancy Conk served for nearly 20 years as an executive director and CEO of nonprofit affordable housing and community development organizations. She has expertise in affordable housing development, property and asset management, community engagement, and advocacy. Her development financing expertise, enhanced by experience in community development lending as a relationship manager for a major national bank, spans work with varied housing types. Along with executive management positions reporting to boards of directors, Nancy has served on boards of numerous local, regional, and statewide organizations. Her current practice includes board governance coaching and organizational development consulting from her base in Sacramento, California.
Chris Ko serves as the Director of Homeless Initiatives for the United Way of Greater Los Angeles, managing Home For Good, LA’s collective plan to end homelessness. In this role, he leads California’s largest community-based effort to end homelessness and developed the Coordinated Entry System, which went on to become a national model. The Coro Foundation named Chris a Public Affairs Leadership fellow through which he worked for the LA District Attorney, SEIU, KPCC, and LAUSD. Previously, he served on the boards of Coro Southern CA and the Supply Education Group.
Derric J. Johnson
Derric is the Founding Director of the Equity & Justice Institute at Crossroads School for Arts & Sciences in Santa Monica, CA. He has served in leadership roles at several non-profits, including the California Community Foundation, the MLK Community Health Foundation, the Alliance for Children’s Rights and the Community Oriented Correctional Health Services in Oakland. He recently served as Senior Deputy for Public Safety and Justice for the Office of Los Angeles County Board Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas. Derric was appointed by the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors to represent the Second District as a Commissioner for the Los Angeles County Human Relations Commission; he was recently elected Vice President. In addition, Derric is an Executive Council Member of the Children’s Defense Fund-CA, and serves on the Alumni Board of Pitzer College. Derric holds a Bachelor’s in Psychology and Sociology from Pitzer College. He earned his Master’s in Public Administration from Baruch College-City University of New York and his Master’s in Business Management from Azusa Pacific University.
Mildred (Millie) Brown has been a CSH SpeakUp Advocate for five years, speaking regularly on homelessness, trauma and mental health at organizations and community events. She advocates for more permanent supportive housing and funding due to her own lived experience with homelessness. Millie is a survivor of domestic violence and is an advocate for the Domestic Violence and Homeless Services Coalition. She is passionate about helping people struggling to find and maintain housing. Millie is excited to bring her experience to the Brilliant Corners board and connect with other people working to end homelessness. Millie lives in permanent supportive housing in Los Angeles.