For the past nine and a half years, Dena Xifaras has been able to put her love of numbers and passion for real estate to work at Boston-based nonprofit Preservation of Affordable Housing (POAH).
While working as a financial project manager for Accenture, she got into flipping houses with her husband and earned her real estate broker’s license. It was then she decided she wanted to combine her project management and finance skills with real estate as a career.
The 37-year-old got a glimpse of affordable housing in college as an intern at Housing Investments, a consulting firm that POAH founder and president Amy Anthony had launched, and reached out to Anthony, who made a compelling case for her to stop project management in a for-profit setting.
Xifaras started at POAH as a development project manager in 2005 and two years ago became vice president for asset management.
She’s brought new analytical and technological approaches to the nonprofit’s real estate portfolio, which comprises approximately 8,500 units and $1 billion in asset value.
“When I moved to asset management, we were growing too fast and it was not sustainable to be reactive,” she says. “I want to be proactive in understanding our assets and taking advantage of opportunities.”
She reached out to peers to see what asset management tools were working best and put on her former technology hat to create a new database system to help the company better understand its assets and transform the nonprofit’s daily work practices.
In her spare time, Xifaras puts her math skills to use as the treasurer of the Old Rochester Regional Athletic Hall of Fame, a Mattapoisett-based nonprofit, and coaches youth soccer. She and her husband have a 1-year-old son and a 4-year-old daughter.