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Speaker Bios


Heather Mullins Crislip

President & CEO, HOME

Heather holds a BA in Economics and Political Science from the University of Mary Washington and a JD from the University of Connecticut School of Law. While living in New Haven, Connecticut, she directed the region’s welfare to work one-stop center and served as Assistant to the Mayor for Policy Analysis where she worked on workforce development and homeownership issues.

In New Haven, she also oversaw a large investigation to assess the region’s compliance with the Fair Housing Act, conducting analyses of impediments and making recommendations to improve the education, outreach, and enforcement of fair housing laws. After moving to Honolulu, Hawai’i, Heather served as the Chief of Staff to a Hawai’i state senator and the Chief of Staff and Executive Assistant to the Chancellor of the University of Hawai’i, where she oversaw all external relations and advocated for the University’s legislative agenda in the state legislature. Returning to Virginia in 2009, Heather oversaw the bipartisan policy projects for the Miller Center at the University of Virginia for former Governor Gerald Baliles. She also served as the Staff Director of the Goode National Transportation Policy Project, and did significant work on Higher Education, among other areas.


Currently she serves on the Board of Directors for Housing Virginia and as Rector at the University of Mary Washington. She has been admitted by examination to the State Bars of Connecticut, Hawai’i, and Virginia.

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Senta Gorrie

Associate Director of Eviction Prevention, Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD)

Senta Gorrie has worked in the field of affordable housing and homelessness for more than 15 years. Her roles in our sector include serving as the Executive Director of the Minnesota Coalition for the Homeless, where she led statewide policy, community organizing and strategic communication efforts. She has also served as Program Developer for the Amherst H. Wilder Foundation’s supportive housing division which serves approximately 30% of the homeless families in St. Paul, MN. Prior to joining DHCD, Senta worked at Minnesota’s largest Legal Aid office as their Director of Philanthropy. 


As a girl, Senta’s family accessed many of the programs she has spent her career strengthening and protecting. She is a graduate of Mills College in Oakland, California and recently relocated to Virginia with her two young daughters after becoming engaged.


In her free time, Senta loves spending time in the forest behind her house with her fiancé Matt and their three daughters. 


RKG Associates

Washington, DC

RKG Associates is an economic, planning, and real estate consultancy with offices in Washington, DC, Boston, Atlanta, Dallas, and Durham, NH.

Since its founding in 1981, RKG has built a track record of sound planning advice rooted in data, creativity, and realistic, implementable strategies.


RKG’s strength is in a diverse range of experiences that have helped hundreds of cities, towns and private firms make the most of spaces that matter to them.


Mark Nantz, MHA

President and Chief Executive Officer, Valley Health

Mark Nantz is president and chief executive officer of Valley Health System, a not-for-profit network of hospitals, services and providers based in Winchester, Virginia.

Prior to joining Valley Health, Nantz served in executive roles with Bon Secours Mercy Health, including most recently as Chief Administrative Officer and Atlantic Group President; before then, he was Executive Vice President and Chief Strategy Officer at Bon Secours. He has also held executive positions at Carolinas Healthcare System (now Atrium Health) and Carolinas Medical Center ‐ NorthEast, and leadership roles in the audit practice of a Big 5 accounting firm. He is a Certified Public Accountant and a Fellow in the American College of Healthcare Executives.

Nantz is a visionary executive with a record of improving patient satisfaction, quality metrics, and physician and employee engagement. During his 30-plus year tenure in health care, his professional accomplishments include building advanced clinical programs and successful physician and community partnerships, and instituting organizational effectiveness and strategic business plans at the local, regional, and system levels.

Nantz earned a Master of Health Administration from Pfieffer University, and a Bachelor of Science in Accounting from the University of North Carolina ‐ Charlotte. An engaged community leader, he has volunteered in leadership roles with numerous non‐profit and civic organizations, including chambers of commerce, the American Heart Association, the March of Dimes, and organizations supporting the fine arts. He and his wife, Courtenay, reside in Winchester.

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National Coalition for the Homeless

Karen Ennis and Robert Warren

The National Coalition for the Homeless is a national network of people who are currently experiencing or who have experienced homelessness, activists and advocates, community-based and faith-based service providers, and others committed to a single mission: To end and prevent homelessness while ensuring the immediate needs of those experiencing homelessness are met and their civil rights are respected and protected.

The “Faces of Homelessness” Speakers' Bureau is comprised of extraordinary people who are committed to sharing their personal and powerful experiences of homelessness with others. From homeless activists to riveting poets, all have found a unique way for their voices to be heard. 

Karen Ennis: Karen is a Native Washingtonian, the mother of 3 and a grandmother. She started in Catholic schools, graduated from DC Public and Interior Design school. In 2012 she graduated from Howard University with a BA degree in Interior Design, and is a member of the International Golden Key Honour Society. Karen is an Advocate for Sacred Authority, a group of women who have overcome drug addiction. Karen has been a member of NCH Speakers Bureau since 2013. "I have been through more struggles that most people can't deal with, but with God I have been able to overcome them”. Karen’s next goal for herself is to get her Masters in Interior Design. “A STORM CAME THROUGH MY LIFE, AND I HAVE SURVIVED”....

Robert Warren - Lifelong DC resident currently residing in Ward 8 in historic anacostia along with being a member other national coalition speakers bureau I am also the current director of the organization people for fairness coalition and I'll primary mission is to end people's houses instability through our advocacy outreach and Peer mentoring I'll main focus is to bring about universal housing Justice.

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Jonathan Knopf

Senior Research Associate, HOUSING FORWARD VIRGINIA

Jonathan directs HousingForward Virginia’s research and program efforts across the commonwealth. This work includes regional and local housing needs assessments, policy generation and implementation, and communications strategies. He specializes in telling stories about Virginia’s housing challenges through data and regularly presents at conferences and events throughout the state. Jonathan has a Masters in Urban and Regional Planning from Virginia Commonwealth University, where he also teaches an introductory urban planning course.


Erica Sims


Erica Sims has worked in the non-profit management, affordable housing development, and community organizing fields for over 18 years. Her focus has been social and economic justice through housing and economic development. Ms. Sims has held private sector, nonprofit, and government roles and has overseen the development of over 2,500 units of affordable housing and 50,000 square feet of commercial development space in new construction and renovation projects.


Prior to joining HDAdvisors in 2017, she was the Deputy Executive Director of Mutual Housing Association of New York, an non-profit affordable housing developer, owner, and manager with a portfolio over 1,500 units of affordable housing. She received a Bachelor's in Economics and a Bachelor's in Urban Planning from the University of Michigan and a Masters of Business Administration from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

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