Women in the Affordable Housing Industry

Monday, November 6: 3:30pm – 5:30pm

Please join us for networking, cocktails and conversations. We will explore the very real challenges women face with authentic self-promotion. How can women authentically call attention to their value and successes and be comfortable doing it? By changing the narrative and beliefs about self-promotion, women can achieve success, break more barriers in the industry and feel valued and confident.

Session Materials:

There are no presentations available to view/download for this session.


Catherine Cawthon, Fifth Third CDC
Catherine A. Cawthon is President of Fifth Third Community Development Corporation (CDC) headquartered in Columbus, Ohio. The Fifth Third CDC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Fifth Third Bancorp, was created to invest in low- income housing, historic and new market tax credit projects that support community revitalization and the creation of affordable housing. The CDC invests primarily in projects within Fifth Third Bank's assessment areas, which are located in Ohio, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, Illinois, Georgia, Florida, Missouri, North Carolina, Tennessee, West Virginia and Pennsylvania. Since its inception, Fifth Third CDC has invested over $2 billion in more than 450 projects within their assessment areas. Ms. Cawthon is responsible for the complete investment process from underwriting and closing of the transaction through the asset management and disposition of the investments. Ms. Cawthon has served on various boards throughout Indiana and Ohio including United Way, Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) and the Ohio Community Development Finance Fund. Currently, Ms. Cawthon serves on the national board of governors of the Affordable Housing Investor Council, Ohio Housing Finance Agency, Ohio Housing Council, Council for Rural Housing in Ohio's Advisory Board and the Joint Columbus and Franklin County Housing Advisory Board. Ms. Cawthon graduated from Illinois State University and earned an MBA from Indiana Wesleyan University. She currently resides with her family in Powell Ohio.


Renee Scruggs, CohnReznick
Renee Scruggs, CPA, is a partner in CohnReznick's Bethesda office and serves as the Mid-Atlantic Regional Director of the firm's Affordable Housing Industry Practice. She has approximately 37 years of accounting experience, including 33 providing audit services to commercial clients primarily in the real estate industry. Renee became the first female partner in the firm in 1986. In addition to her role as Regional Director of the Practice, Renee is responsible for managing an accounting group that audits approximately 300 real estate partnerships that primarily own properties that deal with the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) or the federal and state historic tax credit programs. Her team also performs audits and prepares tax returns for approximately 400 funds, which collectively own partnership interests in over 6,000 real estate partnerships involved with the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit, the federal and state historic tax credit, or the Federal New Markets Tax Credit Program. Some of the funds she services are registered with the SEC and require filings of Forms 10Q and 10K. Renee is experienced in all aspects of the affordable housing industry and is frequently asked to consult on complex business and accounting issues. Prior to joining the Firm, Renee worked for an international accounting firm.

Jeanne Golliher, Cincinnati Development Fund (CDF)
Jeanne Golliher has served as President and CEO of the Cincinnati Development Fund (CDF) since July 1998, following 16 years in community lending and advocacy as Vice President of Community Development for KeyBank. CDF is a certified Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) which underwrites and services community development real estate loans that result in the creation or preservation of affordable housing, or revitalization of urban communities. CDF is also a certified Community Development Entity (CDE), a designation that allows the organization to receive and deploy Federal New Markets Tax Credits. CDF has originated loans totaling over $400 million, and currently manages a portfolio of $205 million in direct loans and assets under management. Its loan capital comes from loans and investments provided by banks, corporations, foundations, the Federal Home Loan Bank and the CDFI Fund, a division of the US Treasury. Ms. Golliher serves on the boards of Ohio Capital Corporation for Housing, Greater Cincinnati LISC, Homesteading and Urban Redevelopment Corporation, Woodward Trust, Economic Development Committee of Hamilton County Development Corporation. She a member of PNC Community Partners and PNC Bank's Community Development Advisory Boards, IFF Community Development Advisory Board and Park National Bank's SW Ohio Advisory Board. Ms. Golliher formerly served as Treasurer for Hamilton County Development Corporation, President of the Better Housing League, Member of the Economic Development Cabinet under past County Commission Presidents David Pepper and Todd Portune, and served as Commissioner to the Cincinnati Human Relations Commission.

Julie DeGraaf, McCormack Baron Salazar Inc
Julie DeGraaf has a wide-range of experience in diverse community redevelopment projects, ranging from large-scale HOPE VI, mixed-income, mixed-finance residential developments to impactful, mixed-use projects developed in partnership with community non-profits. Julie coordinates with finance, design, construction and legal team members, external partners, and community stakeholders, and works to leverage public, private and philanthropic resources to bring transformative projects to fruition. Julie is the project management lead for the mixed-income, multi-family phases being developed in partnership with the Columbus Metropolitan Housing Authority as part of the Poindexter Village/Near East Side Choice Neighborhoods Initiative transformation plan.

Robie Suggs, First Financial Bank
Robie Suggs is a seasoned community development and community relations professional with over 40 years of experience in the financial industry. Ms. Suggs varied career includes mortgage lending and underwriting, small business lending, and relationship management. Additionally, Robie received her certification as a Coach and Mentor from the University of Cincinnati. In her current role with First Financial, Robie develops, manages and oversees the bank's economic development strategy, volunteer management and obligation related to community development and CRA in all of First Financial Bank's markets, including Ohio, Indiana and Kentucky. She provides technical assistance in partnership with local government and on various boards and committees with non-profit partners and supports community development philanthropy for the bank. Robie has been recognized for her leadership and accomplishments winning numerous awards. Most recently she was honor to receive the United Way's 100 Heroes award for her volunteerism and dedication to the community and the LifeSpan, Inc. Humanitarian Award. Robie is a lifetime Cincinnati resident currently living north of the city, doing what she loves every day.

Room Number:

Union Station Ballroom C & Foyer