Meet the team of people behind Housing Navigator:
Jennifer Gilbert, HNMI Founder and Executive Director, (she/her) launched Housing Navigator Massachusetts in 2019 driven by a passion to reduce the divides in housing access and equity. Creating housing opportunities is the connecting thread in Jennifer’s career, from her first job at a Philadelphia homeless shelter to her 20 years in developing housing and community spaces.
From 2015-2020, she led the Kuehn Charitable Foundation, overseeing its strategic investments in housing production and the Kuehn Fellowship, which launched the careers of 24 future leaders in community development.
As an active advocate for more housing and simplifying complex systems, she is an educator on real estate development and financing. Jennifer holds a master’s degree in City Planning from MIT, a J.D. from Northeastern University, and an undergrad degree from the University of Pennsylvania.
Navigator Adoption Coordinator Emma Rial (she/her) values the community of her own extended family in Rhode Island and hopes her career will provide opportunities to emulate and build that kind of network in community support systems. Drawn to making a local impact, she was a caseworker at Amherst Community Connections working with families searching for affordable homes. Emma holds a BA in Sociology from Amherst College and traces part of her interest in housing to courses in American housing policy and social movements.
April Ognibene (she/her) leads HNMI’s back office systems and special projects as COO, bolstering HNMI’s institutional capacity and external support. Energized by HNMI’s unique place in the state’s affordable housing ecosystem and the opportunities to expand housing access through technology, April brings a ground-level + big-picture understanding of affordable housing. Her prior positions include Director of Finance and Policy at Beacon Communities and early career roles in operations and capacity-building at behavioral health and education nonprofits in Philadelphia. She holds a master’s degree in City Planning from MIT and an undergrad degree from the University of Pennsylvania.
Victoria “Tori” Decker (she/her) is HNMI’s first Community Manager leading engagement across our many user groups and stakeholders. Grounded in her long-time passion for advocacy around improving social determinants of health,Tori draws on both her time as a Senior Customer Support Specialist at HubSpot and a community organizer for the Pennsylvania Health Access Network in rural, underserved counties. Her undergrad work in biochemistry and anthropology at Lafayette College root her mindset in analysis and considering multiple perspectives. She keeps her creativity flowing through dance and as a multi-instrumental music-maker (piano, clarinet, saxophone, and occasionally oboe).
Grace Mitchell (she/her) brings 20+ years in software development documentation and project management to her role as Product Manager, including work at the City of Boston Mayor’s Office of Housing guiding technological improvements to housing stability and homelessness prevention programs. Grace is drawn to leveraging technology to address basic needs like housing and healthcare, with special emphasis on the needs of rural populations. A native of Oregon who has lived on both coasts and in-between, she holds a BA in American history from Reed College and a Masters in Public Policy from UT Austin’s LBJ School.
Abby Werner (she/her) leads partner success, advancing our existing partnerships with housing owners, managers, and agencies across the state. A passion for helping everyone feel supported, cared for, and respected grounds her work. An avid bike commuter and musician, Abby volunteers on the board of Bikes Not Bombs and performs at local open mic nights and Porchfests. She holds an MBA in social impact management from the Heller School at Brandeis University and spent six months as a Housing Navigator MA research assistant during her studies.
Our Board of Directors
Our Board of Directors draws leadership from the real estate, housing advocacy, and tech sectors.
Laureen Borgatti, COO, Wayfinders
Karin Brandt, CEO & Founder, coUrbanize
Joe Flatley, CEO, Massachusetts Housing Investment Corporation
Rachel Heller, Executive Director, CHAPA
Elisabeth Ortiz Jackson, CEO, Bridge Over Troubled Waters
Marty Jones, Principal, MLJ Insights
Danielle Kinkel, General Counsel, Massachusetts Housing Partnership
Dara Kovel, CEO, Beacon Communities
Rachel Madden, CFO, MassHousing
Brian Perry, Principal, Indigo Partners
Angelina Ramirez, Executive Director, Stavros
Taisha Sturdivant-Ulysse, Kirkland & Ellis