Our interview series continues today with project manager Ashela O'Connor, who began her career with NMA in our Chicago office and later transitioned to the San Diego office, where she currently enjoys much warmer winters.
How did you get your start in the affordable housing industry?
My first job in the industry was serving as the executive assistant to NMA's VP of program management, Dorian Jenkins.
I received my bachelor of arts degree in psychology at Purdue University (BOILER UP!) and a master of arts in sociology at DePaul University. I'm currently working on my juris doctor at California Western School of Law.
What’s one topic you’re most passionate about in the affordable housing industry?
What's your favorite part about your job?
Variety—there's always something new to tackle.
Describe your typical work day?
The only thing typical about my work day is that it's never typical! There are always different projects to work on and new agencies to assist.
Tell us about a successful project that you had a part in.
In a recent file review project, NMA purged approximately 6,800 files, overseeing the process to ensure that each participant file included required information and documents. We also established file management procedures for the client PHA, including bar coding, developing written procedures and performance specifications, and conducting training of PHA staff on the new file management procedures.
Are you affiliated with any outside organizations?
I volunteer with Jambalangels of San Diego, an organization that prepares jambalaya once a week for local charities, cancer patients, HIV patients, and the homeless in San Diego.
Hobbies outside of work?
What are hobbies? Between work, law school, and planning a wedding, I've forgotten all about hobbies!
NMA project manager Ashela O'Connor has extensive research experience in a variety of fields, including in-depth project development and analysis, and applies that knowledge to her oversight of NMA's high-priority projects. Responsible for all aspects of each project through completion, Ashela has been instrumental in the development of NMA's policies and procedures in the housing choice voucher program.