The Tennessee Housing Conference is proud to welcome housing industry experts for our 2020 event.

2020 Speakers:


Don Alexander
A & H Development

A partner in A&H Development. A&H Development specializes if providing development assistance to small nonprofits and public housing authorities. A&H has helped in new constructing projects, acquisition, and acquisition/rehab, projects. Don Alexander served as Executive Director of the Crossville Housing Authority, from 1990 to 2017. Under his leadership the CHA grew from providing housing to 300 clients to more than 1200. This growth was realized using LIHTC, HOME, FHLB AHP, HUD 202, CITC, HUD 811, RD 515 programs and other development tools. While at Crossville Don developed a homeownership program using RD 523 and HCV as well as originating RD direct loans.

While at Crossville he started a childcare center that serves 180 children., and a nonprofit that administers homeless programs over an 18-county area. Don served as President of Tennessee Association of Housing & Redevelopment Authorities. Don served on the Advisory Committee of the Home Loan Bank of Cincinnati. Don helped found the Tennessee Affordable Housing Coalition and was elected to the Affordable Housing Hall of Fame. He serves on numerous non-profit boards in East’Tennessee. He graduated from the Kansas State University and has many years of supervisory experience.

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Damon Allen
Senior Vice President and Community Investment Officer
Federal Home Loan Bank of Cincinnati
Damon v. Allen is a Senior Vice President and the Community Investment Officer for the Federal Home Loan Bank of Cincinnati (the “FHLB”). His responsibilities include oversight and administration of the FHLB’s Housing and Community Investment Department. Damon joined the FHLB in 1999 as the manager of the Credit Financial Analysis division within the FHLB’s Credit Services department. After several years in the Credit Services Department he joined the Housing & Community Investment Department in 2008. Prior to joining the FHLB, Damon worked briefly for FedEx and served four years as a Captain in the U.S. Air Force.
Damon holds a B.B.A. in Accounting from Howard University (Washington, DC) and a M.B.A. in International Business and Finance from The University of Miami (Coral Gables, FL).
He currently resides in Covington, KY with his wife and three kids. He sits on the boards of Brighton Properties, Inc. (Covington, KY), NextStep, Inc. (Louisville, KY), and the Freestore Foodbank (Cincinnati, OH). Fun facts: He once jumped out of an airplane (yes he had a parachute) and he’s twice played in the World Series of Poker (but didn’t make a dime)!

Brooxie Carlton
Deputy Assistant Commissioner of Rural and Community Development
TN Department of Economic and Community Development

Brooxie Carlton serves as the Deputy Assistant Commissioner of Rural and Community Development for the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development. In this position, Carlton oversees federal grant funding from the Delta Regional Authority, the Appalachian Regional Commission and the Community Development Block Grant program. She works with the Tennessee Main Street, ThreeStar, and SelectTN programs. Previously, Carlton served as director of community programs and as program manager for the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grants (EECBG).

Carlton has been involved in the administration of more than 2,000 grants totaling more than $550MM including more than $450MM in federal funding. She assists with project development, application review and award, and grant administration and compliance for hundreds of projects each year. She serves as Governor Bill Lee’s alternate to the boards of the Appalachian Regional Commission and the Delta Regional Authority.

Born and raised in Dyersburg, Tenn., Carlton attended Birmingham-Southern College in Birmingham, Ala., majoring in psychology and sociology. She graduated Phi Beta Kappa and with honors. Carlton received her master’s degree in human, organizational and community development from Vanderbilt University.

Carlton resides in Nashville.

Brian Coffee
Manager, Affordable Housing 

Brian Coffee currently serves as a manager with the Regions Affordable Housing Department. Regions is active in the affordable housing industry as a lender, investor and syndicator. Mr. Coffee has been employed with Regions Bank, and its predecessor bank, AmSouth, since 1994. He previously worked with Dexia Bank in Seattle, Barnett Banks in Florida and the predecessor bank to BofA in Texas.  In total, Mr. Coffee has over 30 years of banking experience. Mr. Coffee has an undergraduate degree from Boston University, graduating Magna Cum Laude, and an MBA from the University of Texas.  He is currently Vice-President with the Affordable Housing Investors Council. He previously has written several articles for the Journal of Risk Management on real estate topics.

marshall crawford
Marshall E. Crawford, Jr. 
President & Chief Executive Officer
The Housing Fund
In 2017, Marshall joined The Housing Fund, a CDFI private nonprofit revolving loan fund located headquarter in Nashville, TN. Previously, he served as President of Housing and Multifamily Development for Community Ventures in Lexington, KY, where he helped developed affordable housing in West Louisville along Cedar Street during his tenure. Also, Marshall provided 13 years of service to NeighborWorks America as senior director in the Southern Region located in Atlanta, GA. He served in several capacities during his tenure, including as a relationship manager brokering resources, and serving as a trusted adviser for building and sustaining nonprofit organizations in Tennessee, Kentucky, and West Virginia. He facilitated and leveraged key relationships between NeighborWorks America and strategic partners, such as state housing finance agencies. After completing his military service at Fort Knox, he attended Western Kentucky University in Bowling Green, where he received a degree in finance. He completed a Master of Public Administration with a concentration in nonprofit management from the University of Nebraska at Omaha. In 2016, Marshall completed an Executive Leadership Certification at Georgetown University in Washington D.C.
Marshall has been recently recognized as one of Nashville’s Most Admired CEOs by his peers and the Nashville Business Journal and installed into the Tennessee Affordable Housing Coalition Hall of Fame for his efforts in affordable housing over the last 20 years. He was featured on the cover of the Nashville Post BOOM! Magazine 2018 for helping to establish Nashville’s first community land trust model as a solution to addressing a growing affordable housing issue in the city.


Stephen Dixon
CRA Officer and Senior Vice President
Bank of Tennessee
Stephen Dixon is the CRA Officer and a Senior Vice President for Bank of Tennessee. Dixon is a member of the Business Journal’s 40 Under Forty and ETSU College of Business & Technology Hall of Fame.  He oversees the banks community reinvestment activities, which includes promoting and enhancing the bank’s CRA efforts in the areas of lending, investments, services and education.  He also works with area agencies as well as the Federal Home Loan Bank of Cincinnati to promote home ownership and community development.
Dixon is a 1995 graduate of East Tennessee State University, a 2001 graduate of the Southeastern School of Commercial Lending held at Vanderbilt University, and a 2015 Graduate School of Banking at LSU graduate. He is a member and past president of the Johnson City & Washington County Boys & Girls Club, Chair of Eastern Eight Community Development Corporation, Chair of Centrant Community Capital, and Board member of United Way of Washington County, Public Building Authority (Johnson City), and the Crumley House.  He is also a member and trustee of Jubilee World Outreach Church and resides in Johnson City with his wife Jennifer, and their 3 sons.

Brandon HugheyBrandon Hughey
Partner, Tax Practice Group
Jones Walker
While he has advised clients in many aspects of federal and state taxation, Brandon’s practice currently focuses on partnership taxation and the representation of lenders and investors in connection with affordable housing transactions using tax credits under Section 42 and 47 of the Internal Revenue Code and housing and historic state tax credits, tax-exempt bonds, tax-exempt loans, MTEBs, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac debt, HOME loans, HUD, RAD, AHP grants or loans, USDA/RD loans, and other financing sources.
Brandon has also represented clients in matters before the Internal Revenue Service and the Alabama Department of Revenue. He has represented clients in tax and real estate cases in the US District Court, Alabama state courts and the Alabama Supreme Court. He has also advised businesses on tax and corporate business formation, acquisitions, mergers and dispositions.
Prior to joining Jones Walker, Brandon was a partner at the Birmingham, Alabama, law firm Liles & Rushin, a boutique law firm focused on representing lenders and investors in affordable housing transactions around the country. Before joining Liles & Rushin, Brandon practiced at the Mobile, Alabama law firm Armbrecht Jackson focusing on taxation, real estate, oil and gas, business organizations, estate planning, and trust and estate administration. He also served as an adjunct professor at the University of Mobile in 2012, teaching Advanced Federal Taxation.

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Christy McMakin
Employment and Career Specialist Coach
Fresh Start Foundation Financial Opportunity Center

Christy McMakin is the Employment and Career Specialist Coach for the Fresh Start Foundation Financial Opportunity Center located in Kingsport Tennessee. In August 2018, Christy joined the Life BRIDGE Program of Kingsport as their Life Coach. Life BRIDGE is a comprehensive coaching program that assists individuals to develop the needed life skills to become self-sufficient through training, education, supportive service, and providing appropriate resources. She has over 20 years’ experience in working with communities, providing services to individuals and families struggling with homelessness, hunger, unemployment and underemployment. Her passion is to inspire every individual to discover their potential, connect them to available resources and services as they set goals to overcome their barriers, move into a career path, become financially stable and support them along their journey as they work to achieve their goals.

Christy earned a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Business Administration from Milligan College and an Associate’s of Science degree in Social Work from Northeast State Community College. She is the proud mother of 4 children and ‘Momsy’ to two precious grandchildren. She is an avid outdoorsmen, hiker, rock climber, adventurer, and breast cancer survivor.

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Cynthia Peraza
Director of Single Family Special Programs
TN Housing Development Agency

Cynthia Peraza is the Director of Single Family Special Programs.  She has been with Tennessee Housing Development Agency (THDA) since 2011.  Cynthia has played an instrumental role in the creation and development of programs that help prevent foreclosures, stabilize communities, and preserve homeownership.  Some of the programs she has developed include THDA’s Blight Elimination Program, Appalachian Renovation Loan Program, Tennessee Renovation Loan Program, Attorney General’s Foreclosure Prevention Counseling Program, and numerous mortgage assistance programs administered under the Hardest Hit Fund’s Keep My Tennessee Home Program.  Cynthia is active in the Tennessee Government Leadership programs offered through the state.  She graduated from LEAD Tennessee in 2014, Tennessee Government Management Institute in June 2017, and the Tennessee Government Executive Institute in 2018.  Most recently, Cynthia completed NCSHA’s Leading in an Era of Complexity Executive Management Program at the University of Notre Dame in 2019.  

Cynthia has more than 20 years of mortgage related experience, marketing with an emphasis on customer experience, and relationship management.  She holds an active Mortgage Loan Originator license and is NCHEC Certified under Foreclosure Intervention and Default Counseling. Cynthia is originally from San Diego, California but is happy to call Tennessee home today.  She lives outside of Nashville, Tennessee with her daughter, son, and two dogs.

Marietta Rodriguez
Marietta Rodriguez
President and CEO
As president and chief executive officer of NeighborWorks, Rodriguez works with senior executives and nationally renowned experts to leverage the power of public-private partnerships. She has a proven record of leadership and accomplishment, creating and executing strategic initiatives that address some of the toughest challenges facing low-income families: homeownership, foreclosure prevention, community building, and engagement.
Rodriguez is responsible for leading NeighborWorks America’s programmatic support to its 245 member organizations and nonprofit partners. Whether capacity building, technical assistance, grant management or relationship management, she has met or exceeded metrics for success while developing and mentoring her staff at all levels.
A strong communicator and subject matter expert, Rodriguez was named an expert witness by the Federal Trade Commission in three areas of specialty: mortgage finance, credit repair and loan modification. Rodriguez is an established national spokesperson whose media credentials include CNN Money, Fox Business, CBS Evening News, ABC Nightly News, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, National Mortgage News, Market Watch- National Public Radio, American Banker and Stanford Social Innovation Review.


Dwayne Spencer
President and CEO
Habitat for Humanity of Greater Memphis

Dwayne Spencer has worked in nonprofit management for 25 years and led Memphis Habitat since 2001. He has guided the agency through a period of significant growth and change, while maintaining and improving organizational practices, policies and strategies, which have effectively contributed to ongoing organizational effectiveness and client impact. Spencer has extensive experience working with a wide range of community constituencies to create strategic partnerships and impactful collaborations.

Since joining Memphis Habitat in 2001, he has grown the organization from a 9-member staff to more than 45 employees and from a $1 million budget to more than $12 million. In the last several years, Memphis Habitat’s programs have expanded from serving 15-20 families a year to approximately 250-plus annually through the launch of Aging in Place, a program that serves seniors via mobility modifications and critical repairs. Today, Memphis Habitat ranks in the “top 10” out of more than 1,200 Habitat affiliates in North America—based on families served.

Spencer holds a master’s in public administration from The University of Memphis.