Nina Janopaul, the longtime president and CEO of the Arlington Partnership for Affordable Housing (APAH), will retire June 30 after leading the organization for 14 years.
Carmen Romero, executive vice president, has been named to take over as the top executive July 1. She has led the nonprofit’s real estate team for nearly a decade.
“Carmen has a commitment to the APAH mission, a strong drive to achieve, and incredible talent for building a shared vision among stakeholders and partners,” said Janopaul. “She understands the details, but she gets the big picture. I know Carmen will bring great success to APAH, as she has already demonstrated in her award-winning leadership of the real estate team.”
Janopaul joined APAH in 2007, rounding out a full-time staff of three. Since then, the organization has grown to 38 full-time professionals. She also oversaw a rapid increase in its affordable housing properties, from 534 units to 1,800—and there are an additional 1,000 units in active development.
When Janopaul assumed leadership of APAH, the nonprofit was struggling with a negative net worth of $2.2 million. With two construction projects underway at the onset of the 2008 lending crisis, she spent her first two years as CEO working to protect APAH from insolvency, according to the organization.
Under her leadership, APAH bounced back from the Great Recession and has grown to a total asset value of more than $525 million today. APAH has also grown in scope and influence over the last 14 years. While the original geography was limited to Arlington, Virginia, APAH has become a regional organization and a top provider of affordable housing. The nonprofit ranked No. 46 on the AHF 50 list of developers last year.
“Nina has led APAH’s remarkable growth through talent, tenacity, and building an incredible team,” said APAH board chair Susan Ingraham Bell. “All of us on APAH’s board are honored to have partnered with Nina in building this organization to meet the growing need for affordable housing, to provide transformative services to our residents, and to be advocates for equity and opportunity.”
Before joining APAH, Janopaul was a principal at Capital Strategies Consulting. Prior to 2000, she was the national director of development for Hostelling International – USA, formerly American Youth Hostels.
She will have a busy work plan over the next several months. “Beyond guiding the transition, I am focusing my energy on few key priorities: finding a sustainable way to provide high-quality internet to all of our residents; scaling our practices to serve an organization that is far larger and more complex than when I started; and advancing APAH’s work on racial equity, diversity, and inclusion,” she said.
Janopaul will continue to serve on several housing boards.
“It has been my privilege, the highlight of my professional career, to serve as the APAH CEO,” she said. “What we do is real, affecting real people. As I drive around Arlington and beyond, I invariably pass an APAH building. These buildings will endure. I rejoice that the 4,500 residents we house today are experiencing greater comfort and opportunity by living in an APAH property. I am especially proud of how we were able to support our residents during this pandemic, during inequitable challenges of unemployment and health impacts. We are all shaped by where we live.”