For Andrea Traudt Inouye, it was clear at an early age how much home is a key part of life but how insecure it is for a lot of people.

Andrea Traudt Inouye, senior vice president of real estate, Full Circle Communities
Courtesy Full Circle Communities Andrea Traudt Inouye, senior vice president of real estate, Full Circle Communities

“With my parents both working in the nonprofit world, being connected to the community and paying attention to neighbors was a regular part of my life,” says Inouye. “The key values in our house were empathy, community, and hospitality.”

The 36-year-old has built her career around the creation of affordable housing for families and individuals, following the nonprofit path on both the development and advocacy fronts.

After getting her master’s degree in urban planning and policy, she joined the staff of Chicago nonprofit Bickerdike Redevelopment Corp. as a homeownership development coordinator and later became housing development director, overseeing the acquisition, rehab, and construction of 300 units of rental and homeownership housing.

Inouye then moved to the nonprofit policy world as the executive director of the Illinois Housing Council (IHC), where she focused on developing legislative initiatives to maximize affordable housing throughout the state. While there, she also was president and founding member of the Council of Independent State Housing Associations, an organization bringing state voices together on a national level.

After five years at IHC, Inouye decided she wanted to get back into development. At the end of July, she started her new role as senior vice president of real estate development at another Chicago nonprofit, Full Circle Communities, where she had served on the board for eight years.

“When I decided I wanted to jump back into the development side, it seemed like a good fit, since I was already connected to the mission,” she says.

The affordable housing firm, which owns over 650 units in three states, continues to expand its housing opportunities. As senior vice president, Inouye will help manage the growth of Full Circle’s pipeline.

For Inouye, the affordable housing industry has been rewarding. Intellectually, she says she enjoys putting together the complex puzzle, and emotionally she relishes the impact the homes have on their residents.

Inouye and her husband, Jason, live in Chicago with their young daughter.