Who We Are

Who We Are

The US Africa Collaborative members come from many backgrounds, representing private and public sector institutions including the University of Maryland College Park, Nelson Mandela University, the University of KwaZulu Natal, the University of Fort Hare, Minnesota State University-Mankato, the University of Lagos, Morgan State University, Bowie State University, the University of the Free State, Howard University, and the University of South Africa. Further, housing professionals and human settlements practitioners from the National Association of Housing and Redevelopment Officials (USA), the National Association of Social Housing Organizations (SA), and the Institute for Human Settlement Practitioners (SA) comprise the practitioner side of this impressive body of pracademics from the US, Africa, and the UK. Finally, government officials from the US and South Africa provide technical support and guidance to this collective of professionals committed to building the human settlement industry of the future. The government officials include representatives from the Maryland Secretary of State's Maryland KZN Sister State Program, Department of Housing and Community Development, the US Development Finance Corporation (USAID), the South African National Department of Human Settlements, the KZN Department of Human Settlements (South Africa) and the eThekwini Municipality (South Africa).

Governing Board

The US Africa Collaborative, Inc. was incorporated in December 2021 in the State of Maryland. The organization is tax exempt under the US Internal Revenue Code Section 501 (C) 3 and is governed by an international Board of Directors and a set of By Laws which govern its actions. The members of the Board of Directors are as follows.

Our Members & Partners

Our members represent a wide network of professionals from a variety of sectors in the housing and human settlements industry. 

Our Esteemed Members of the Board of Directors 

Ms. Odette Anderson is the Director of Legal Services for the KwaZulu Natal Department of Human Settlements, located in the City of Durban. She joined the Department of Housing, now Human Settlements, as the youngest Director in its history and heads the Legal Services unit . She has also continued studying and completed qualifications in legislative drafting and advanced labor law at the Diploma level. Currently she supervisors a small team of legal professionals , and is tasked with drafting, editing, and submitting legislation applicable to the provision of housing, vetting, and drafting policy, providing legal advice, and managing litigation. She serves on several transformation committees, technical assessment committees and task teams on land, human settlements, and development. 

Dr. David Abrahams is an Associate Professor and Former Department Chair of Management, Marketing, Public Administration at Bowie State University, a Maryland HBCU. Dr. Abrahams' background is in Policy Analysis, Management, Information Systems and Public Administration with an emphasis on program planning, analysis, implementation, and evaluation. Area of interest is in research methodology, healthcare administration policies, Social Entrepreneurship. His last project before joining Bowie State University involved working with a drug delivery company, creating healthcare revenue application models and higher education partnership models. The project was to identify potential product markets and monetize the next generation Bio Film Strip drug delivery applications. One of his applications uses of this health delivery system was to improve the overall health and nutrition of infants, children, and pregnant women in the rural poor areas of India, Africa and Asia. 

Mr. Brendan Boyce Is a full time Lecturer at the University of Fort Hare located in South Africa’s Eastern Cape Province. Brendan teaches in the Human Settlements program and is passionate about community development. He has served in various roles in Higher Education Institutions, in addition, he has served a Director in National government’s professionalization of the human settlement sector initiative. Currently his research in interests in waste management, is linked to upcycling, and water conservation practices. Brendan is a member of the Board of Directors of the Institute of Human Settlement Practitioners South Africa and Heads: The Professional Development (CPD) and Career Guidance() subcommittee of the Board. 

Ms. Maria Day-Marshall, Esq., joined the Real Estate Development Program at the University of Maryland, College Park in July 2017, and currently serves as its Director and as Clinical Associate Professor.  In February 2018, she added the directorship of the Colvin Institute of Real Estate Development to her responsibilities. As the Director of the Program, Day-Marshall provides programmatic and disciplinary leadership in the areas of curriculum development; faculty recruitment, guidance and evaluation; student recruitment and advising; and course scheduling.  Previously, Day-Marshall served as a Lecturer for the Real Estate Development Program from 2008 until she joined it full-time as Director. Prior to joining the University as Director, Day-Marshall worked for the District of Columbia Housing Finance Agency beginning in November 2009 and served as the Interim Executive Director and General Counsel to the Agency. 

Mrs. Elizabeth Glenn is the Chair of the US Africa Collaborative. She retired from local government as the Deputy Director of the Baltimore County Department of Planning in 2016, overseeing housing and community development programs. She is a member of the Board of Governors of the National Association of Housing and Redevelopment Officials (NAHRO) and has been Chair of NAHRO’s Diversity Equity and Inclusion Advisory Committee since 2017.  In October 2021, NAHRO awarded Ms. Glenn their most prestigious award, Outstanding Professional of the Year 2021. She is also on the Board of Directors of Homes for America, the Maryland Affordable Housing Trust, and is the President of the Bethel Empowerment and Wellness Center in Baltimore City. She served on the Operating Board of MedStar Franklin Square for 9 years and was the Chair of their Community Health committee for 5 years. 

Irma Gorham is the Executive Director of the Paterson Housing Authority of New Jersey. She is the current Vice President of the International Research and Global Exchange Committee of the National Association of Housing and Redevelopment Officials (NAHRO). She also serves in that capacity for the Mid Atlantic Regional Council of NAHRO. She has participated in several international professional exchanges, including to South Africa and Australia, and she has participated in the United Nations Habitat 3 Conference in Quito Ecuador.

Ms. Anthea Houston is the CEO of Communicare, a social enterprise and the oldest provider of social rentals in South Africa. She is President of the National Association of Social Housing Organisations (NASHO), and a Board member of the US-Africa Collaborative. An advocate for housing rights and sustainable urban development, Anthea was previously Chief Executive Officer for Development Action Group (DAG), a leading South African non-profit organization focused on low-income housing and urban development. She has undertaken field studies in the East and Southern African regions whilst researching housing and housing microfinance in East and Southern Africa.  

Professor Coleman Jordan is a Lecturer at Morgan State University's, School of Architecture and Planning, Graduate Architecture Program. He is the Principal of studio griots (also studio caj.e), an interdisciplinary research design practice, and co-founder of a not-for-profit organization called corners. His projects focus on social justice and development in underrepresented communities in both domestic and international contexts. His research investigates the implications, past and present, of the spaces of the Black Atlantic, Decolonizing the Black aesthetic, and Architecture in the age of Pan-Africanism and its next generation. 

Professor Ernest Nene Khalema (PhD) is the Dean and Head of School of Built Environment & Development Studies (SoBEDS). Before joining UKZN, he was a Senior Research Specialist and was then promoted to Chief Research Scientist at the Human Sciences Research Council (2011-2015). Professor Khalema’s academic career began in Canada where he was an Assistant Professor of Social Work at the University of Calgary in Canada (2007-2011), a lecturer/senior lecturer in various Canadian universities and liberal arts colleges since 2001 (i.e. Athabasca University, University of Alberta, MacEwan University, and Concordia University College), just to name a few. Professor Khalema also served as Adjunct Professor of Public Health from 2012 to 2017 at the University of Alberta’s Centre for Health Promotion Studies (Canada), specializing in African migrant epidemiology, health equity for vulnerable populations, and chronic disease prevention.

Dr. Sijekula Mbanga is an Associate Professor and holds the South African Chair for Sustainable Human Settlements that is housed at Nelson Mandela University. This is the same university where his Doctoral degree in Public Administration was conferred with a Thesis focusing on integrated development planning and management.  He leads the academic program on Human Settlements Studies and is a member of the university research group on environmental stewardship and sustainable livelihoods. Prof Mbanga serves on the editorial board of the Urban Forum Journal hosted by the University of Cape Town and is a Reviewer and Guest Editor for several public management, education, housing, built environment and town and regional planning journals.  Prof Mbanga is a Board Chairman of the Institute of Human Settlements Practitioners South Africa, a professional association that is home to those who study, teach and practice in the field of housing and human settlements in South Africa. 

Ms. Regina Mitchell is the Executive Director of the York Housing Authority (“YHA”).  She has the broad expertise of over 25 years in the housing field, with sixteen years in various roles of executive management.

In May 2017, Regina became the President of the Middle Atlantic Regional Council (“MARC”) fulfilling the term of the outgoing president.  She was previously appointed, in October 2015, as Vice President of the Housing Committee of the National Association of Housing and Redevelopment Officials (“NAHRO”), while serving simultaneously on the Steering Committee of the Board of Governors.  Regina also served three years as the State President for the Maryland Chapter and former Chair of NAHRO’s Small Agency Task Force.


Professor Motebang Lawrence Ramashamole is the CEO of the Housing Authority of East London. He is the former President of the National Association of Social Housing Organisations in South Africa. He is a past recipient of the National Association of Housing and Redevelopment Officials' prestigious John D. Lange Award conferred by the International Research and Global Exchange Committee for excellence in international community development. He is Adjunct faculty to the University of Fort Hare in East London and he is a member of the Board of Directors of South Africa's Institute of Haman Settlements Practitioners.

Mr. Stacy Spann is the Head of Housing Access and Affordability for the Wells Fargo Foundation. Stacy brings more than 25 years of public and private sector experience. Most recently he was the President/CEO of Mid-City Financial, a mission-driven company rooted in the development of multifamily and mixed-use housing. Managing a portfolio valued at over $800,000, Stacy led the company’s strategy and financial reporting while growing its real estate development. Prior to Mid-City Financial, Stacy was executive director of the Housing Opportunities Commission where he was responsible for leading the development of more than 2,000 residential units and wrap around services for residents. Stacy also serves as Adjunct Faculty to University of Maryland’s Colvin Institute of Real Estate Development. 

Dr. Brian Wasserman (DIT),

is Professor in Construction Management at Minnesota State University, Mankato. His Doctor of Industrial Technology degree was earned from the University of Northern Iowa (UNI). Dr. Wasserman has taught a wide variety of courses in Construction Management. His research topics have included construction education, concrete materials, and Department of Transportation scheduling. Recently, his adventures have been in the field of Human Settlements with a focus on housing in South Africa. Dr. Wasserman spent his sabbatical in South Africa working with the University of Fort Hare and has participated in research and conferences with Nelson Mandela University and the US Africa Collaborative. 

Partners, Collaborators, and Friends