Meet the Affordable Housing Team
Our dedicated team is working hard to increase access to affordable housing for minority and low- and moderate-income populations. By working collectively, the CONVERGENCE team and its participating partners will create greater homeownership and affordable rental opportunities for more Americans.
Steve O'Connor, Senior Vice President for Affordable Housing Initiatives
Steve leads MBA's efforts to find new solutions to affordability challenges for homeownership and rental housing. He is the architect of MBA’s place-based CONVERGENCE initiatives, cross-sector, collective impact coalitions focused on increasing minority homeownership in Memphis, Columbus, and Philadelphia. CONVERGENCE works to design innovative approaches and best practices that can be utilized in communities nationwide.Steve works closely with consumer, civil rights, and affordable housing stakeholders across the US. He serves on several industry boards, including the National Housing Conference (as Chairman), the National Association of Hispanic Real Estate Professionals, Freddie Mac's Affordable Housing Advisory Council, the Homeownership Council of America, and Rocket Mortgage’s Consumer Affairs Forum.
Steve joined MBA in 1996. Previously, he worked in government affairs for the National Association of Realtors and Freddie Mac. He also worked for Skyline Financial Services Corporation. Steve holds a Bachelor's degree in political science from Marquette University and a Master's degree in political science from American University. Contact Steve.
Wendy Penn, Associate Vice President for Affordable Housing Initiatives
Wendy Penn is Associate Vice President of Affordable Housing Initiatives at the Mortgage Bankers Association. In her role, she provides strategic leadership and management of MBA’s efforts to facilitate new solutions to rental and housing affordability challenges.
Wendy leads the execution of MBA’s CONVERGENCE place-based initiatives, oversees the work of two MBA member advisory councils on affordable housing, staffs MBA’s Consumer Affairs Advisory Council, and manages a variety of special projects.
Prior to joining MBA, Wendy spent 15 years with the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR), where she managed their Housing Opportunity Program. Her work focused on creating resources and providing technical assistance to state and local REALTOR® associations to help them create affordable housing initiatives. Before NAR, Wendy worked at the National Retail Federation as Director, Member Services.
Wendy holds an MS degree in Management from the University of Maryland Global Campus, a BS in Communications from James Madison University, and a Certificate in Critical Thinking from eCornell. Contact Wendy.
Katelynn Harris Walker, Associate Director for Affordable Housing Initiatives
Katelynn staffs and manages MBA's Affordable Rental Housing Advisory Council and leads MBA’s Affordable Rental Housing Strategy with MBA’s 2023 Chairman, Matt Rocco. Katelynn serves on the Multifamily Impact Council Advisory Board and the Housing Supply Accelerator and participates in the Emerging Leaders of Affordable Housing, Rising Housing Leaders of Northern Virginia, Women in Housing and Finance, and the DMV Women in Affordable Housing. Prior to joining MBA, Katelynn was the Policy Director for the National Association of County Community and Economic Development (NACCED) and the National Association for Local Housing Finance Agencies (NALHFA), where she managed all governmental affairs activities and advocacy efforts for both organizations.
Before NALHFA and NACCED, Katelynn was the Legislative and Policy Coordinator for the National Council of State Housing Agencies (NCSHA), where she focused on multifamily tax issues. Katelynn began her affordable housing career as a policy and research intern at the National Community Reinvestment Coalition (NCRC). Katelynn holds a Bachelor's degree in Political Science and a Master of Arts degree in American Government and received professional certificates in nonprofit management from Appalachian State University and in Systems Design Thinking at eCornell. Contact Katelynn.
Megan McGrath, Executive Assistant for Affordable Housing InitiativesMegan supports the Affordable Housing Initiatives team as Steve O’Connor’s Executive Assistant. Prior to joining the team at MBA, Megan supported IBLCE, an international nonprofit medical credentialing organization. As Executive Coordinator, she supported the Board of Directors and managed several national and international scholarships awarded to health professionals with the goal of improving health equity for nursing families.
Before IBLCE, Megan began her career in administration and support at Greater Washington Publishing, coordinating and processing their three publications: the New Homes Guide, Apartment Showcase, and Guide to Retirement Living. Megan holds a BA degree in Psychology from George Mason University Honors College in Fairfax, Virginia. Contact Megan.