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EPITOME OF EXCELLENCE: Profile of the Nigerian-American lady Shola Olatoye

shola olatoye
Shola Olatoye was appointed Chair & Chief Executive Officer of the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) on February 8, 2014, by Mayor Bill de Blasio. NYCHA is the largest public housing authority in the nation, providing decent and affordable housing for more than 620,000 New Yorkers with low and moderate incomes. As Chair & Chief Executive Officer, Ms. Olatoye will lead NYCHA’s efforts to improve residents’ quality of life and to help fulfill Mayor de Blasio’s plan to create or preserve 200,000 affordable housing units over the next 10 years. Ms. Olatoye will focus on bringing more employment opportunities to residents, retrofitting the public housing stock for a more sustainable future, and investing in residents and employees.


Ms. Olatoye has a wealth of experience in the public and private sectors, bringing with her a proven ability to manage collaborations and projects that revitalize neighborhoods, create affordable housing, and develop communities. Before her appointment as NYCHA Chair & Chief Executive Officer, Ms. Olatoye was Vice President and New York Market Leader for Enterprise Community Partners, a national nonprofit that has helped build or preserve more than 44,000 affordable homes for lower-income New Yorkers and has invested more than $2.5 billion in and around the city. Most notably, Ms. Olatoye led her team after Hurricane Sandy in working with numerous public, nonprofit, and private partners to develop Enterprise’s Sandy Recovery and Rebuilding Program, which serves more than 11,000 residents and has leveraged more than $30 million in federal recovery dollars. Her portfolio also included the East Harlem Center for Living and Learning, a 2013 project for which Enterprise provided more than $12 million in debt and equity to create a multi-family, mixed-use development with 88 new affordable apartments, a K-8 charter school, and office space dedicated to nonprofits. Ms. Olatoye also served as a Vice President and Senior Community Development Manager at HSBC Bank and a Director of HR&A Advisors, Inc., a real estate and economic development consulting firm.

Ms. Olatoye earned a bachelor’s degree with honors in history and African American studies from Wesleyan University and a master’s degree in public administration from New York University’s Wagner Graduate School of Public Service. She lives in Harlem with her husband and two sons. Most Americans always have a problem pronouncing her name which is from the Yoruba tribe of Nigeria. Another funny experience happened of recent and it really swept people off their feet.

It happened this month at a hearing of the City Council’s Committee on Public Housing.

The subject at hand: the partnership between the New York City Housing Authorityand a private developer to preserve more than 800 apartments. Answering questions: the housing agency’s chairwoman, Shola Olatoye.

“Good morning, Chair Shantola … Ola … Chair,” said Letitia James, the public advocate.

Good morning, Chair Alatoya,” Council woman Rosie Mendez said.

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