The Arlington Partnership for Affordable Housing (APAH) is anticipating a smooth transition as longtime CEO Nina Janopaul heads toward retirement.
The organization announced March 30 that Janopaul would retire at the end of June after 14 years at the helm, and would be succeeded by the organization’s executive vice president, Carmen Romero.
“Nina has led APAH’s remarkable growth through talent, tenacity and building an incredible team,” said APAH board chair Susan 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.”
Janopaul was hired to lead APAH in 2007, at a time when the organization had a full-time staff of three, 534 apartment units and a negative net worth. Today, a full-time staff of nearly 40 oversees a portfolio of more than 1,800 units, with an additional 1,000 in the pipeline and a net asset value of more than $500 million.
In a statement, Janopaul said it has been the highlight of her professional career to serve as the organization’s chief executive.
“What we do is real, affecting real people,” she said. “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,” she said. “We are all shaped by where we live. It has been my honor to improve that experience for so many of our low-income neighbors.”
The incoming CEO, Romero, has led APAH’s real-estate team in for a decade, following positions with Clark Construction and Marriott International.
“She understands the details, but she gets the big picture,” Janopaul said.
“Carmen has a commitment to the APAH mission, a strong drive to achieve, and incredible talent for building a shared vision among stakeholders.”
Between now and her retirement on June 30, Janopaul said her priorities include finding a way to provide high-quality Internet to all residents; advancing work on diversity and inclusion; and “scaling our practices to serve an organization that is far larger and more complex than when I started.” In retirement, she plans to serve on several housing bodies and aims to find new opportunities to make a difference in the community.
APAH was founded in 1989 by three Arlington couples: Joe and Midge Wholey; Tom and Delores Leckey; Bill and Rhoda Nary; and Jack and Jean Sweeney. In recent years, the organization’s main fund-raiser has been its “Celebrate Home” soirée, which in 2020 was held online due to public-health conditions.
At the 2020 event, Romero joined Janopaul in discussing the variety of new initiatives under way, including construction of Terwilliger Place in conjunction with American Legion Post 139, an apartment complex in Virginia Square set for opening in 2022.
“It is exciting to make these projects happen, but what is truly rewarding is knowing that every APAH apartment provides a safe, stable, affordable home,” Romero said.