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ABNY YP Talks: Keys to Affordable Housing for NYC Young Professionals

September 12, 2023 @ 9:00 am - 10:30 am

Free Want a discount? Become a member!


Please join the ABNY Young Professionals, Tuesday, September 12 from 9:00-10:30 a.m. an ABNY YP Talks Keys to Housing Affordability for NYC Young Professionals. The event will feature a panel discussion with the focus on growing and improving access to affordable housing in New York City including exploring ways to retain and grow the city’s working and middle class.

Vice President & Chief of Staff, Matthew Washington of Phipps Houses will moderate the panel of affordable housing and economic development leaders including:

Brian Cunningham, NYS Assemblymember, District 43

Tracy Capune, Kaufman Astoria Studios

Barika Williams, Association for Neighborhood & Housing Development

Maya Kurien, Real Estate Board of New York

Speaker Bios

Matthew S. Washington is Vice President & Chief of Staff at Phipps Houses. In this role, he is responsible for overseeing internal and external communications, including all digital and print media across Phipps affiliated entities. He also supports efforts that strengthen stakeholder relationships on land use and programmatic objectives. Matthew also assists in the overall coordination and integration of activities between Phipps Houses and its affiliate, Phipps Neighborhoods. He has a wealth of experience in the government, real estate and nonprofit sectors.

Prior to joining Phipps, Matthew served as Deputy Manhattan Borough President in the office of Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer. In that role, he oversaw the distribution of over $130 million in funding to enhance parks, theaters, hospitals, museums, affordable housing developments, community centers and public schools. He was also a member of the boards of more than 15 organizations, including Business Improvement Districts, Park Conservancies, Economic Development agencies for New York City and New York State and Other. Notably, he served as a trustee to New York City Employees’ Retirement System which has over 350,000 members and is a fund of over $80 billion. Matthew was named to the 2018 New York City 40 Under 40 Rising Stars list published by City & State New York.

Matthew has a diverse professional background in real estate and non-profit organizational management. He was Deputy Director of External Affairs at The Durst Organization where he managed public affairs for new development in Queens, worked with the construction and marketing teams to complete and lease One World Trade Center and worked on other projects including managing New York Water Taxi. Matthew was previously the Executive Director of Friends of the High School for Environmental Studies where he built relationships with other organizations to help students gain experiential learning opportunities across 26 different states in the summer while students were on break. He was also Deputy Director of Friends of Hudson River Park where he was a part of the team that successfully advocated for the funding to build Hudson River Park on Manhattan’s West Side.

Brian Cunningham was raised in Flatbush by Jamaican immigrant parents and attended New York City public schools. Through his personal experiences, he’s seen firsthand the historic lack of resources our communities receive. This inspired him to dedicate his life to public service and to give back to the community that nurtured him.

Brian began his career as an advocate counselor for CAMBA, assisting at-potential young people in reaching their academic goals and overcoming barriers. He has served as a senior aide in numerous legislative offices from the New York State Senate to the New York City Council, where he spearheaded initiatives for affordable housing, women’s issues, at-risk youth, and small businesses.

Returning to the nonprofit sector, Brian worked with Nazareth Housing on housing affordability and received the opportunity of a lifetime to serve as an aide to President Obama’s My Brother’s Keeper Alliance, mentoring and providing resources to underserved youth across the nation. Before being elected to the New York State Assembly, Brian was the director of Neighbors in Action, a project of the Center for Court Innovation and the home of Save Our Streets Brooklyn.

Tracy Capune is Vice President of Kaufman Astoria Studios. A key member of KA’s team, Ms. Capune oversees the Studio’s expansion plans as well as initiatives to further economic growth in the neighborhood surrounding the Studio. Ms. Capune played an integral role in creating the Studio’s backlot, managed the development of the Stage K building and was a key team member in developing The Marx, a 33-unit condominium building. She recently led the successful drive to designate the area surrounding the Studio as the Kaufman Arts District. Ms. Capune is now overseeing the Studio’s latest expansion project, Stages O and N.

Prior to joining KAS, Ms. Capune spent eight years as a Managing Director at Stadtmauer Bailkin LLP. She is a graduate of The American University and earned a Masters in Urban Planning from New York University. Ms. Capune is a member of the Boards of Directors of the Queens Theatre, the Queens Economic Development Corporation, and the Kaufman Arts District.

Barika Williams is the Executive Director of the Association for Neighborhood & Housing Development Inc. (ANHD), a leading nonprofit focused on creating housing and economic justice for all New Yorkers. She is a leader and a national voice on how community development in marginalized neighborhoods can advance racial justice.

Previously, Ms. Williams held the position of Assistant Secretary for Housing under the Governor of New York State. In this role, she oversaw pivotal housing initiatives for the state, including the management of a $20 billion housing plan and expanding tenant protections throughout New York.

Her professional journey also took her along the path of Real Estate development. At the Urban Institute in Washington, DC, and later at NYU’s Metropolitan Center for Urban Education, she pioneered novel projects and published on topics including affordable housing practices, foreclosure prevention, disaster recovery, and the links between health, education, and housing.

Currently, Ms. Williams is a member of the US Treasury Advisory Committee on Racial Equity. She is also a member of various financial institutions’ advisory committees including Capital One and sits on the Board of Urban Design Forum. Barika earned a Master’s degree in City Planning from MIT and a Bachelor’s degree from Washington University in St. Louis.

In 2020, the American Planning Association of New York honored her with the Robert W. Ponte Award, recognizing her dedication to creating a more equitable built environment in NYC, that understands the interplay of systemic racism with location and community. Furthermore, in 2022, she was listed among the top 100 nonprofit executives in New York City & State, showcasing her leadership in the sector.

Maya Kurien is Vice President of Advocacy at REBNYIn this role she is responsible for leading REBNY’s complex coalition-based advocacy campaigns, including coordination between outside consultants and internal staff. Maya joined REBNY staff in September 2021 as Vice President of Policy and Planning.

Over the course of her career, she has served as Executive Director of Government Affairs for the New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development, Budget Analyst at the New York City Office of Management and Budget, as well as professional staff roles in the New York State Senate and New York City Council. Maya has a bachelor’s degree in Social Anthropology and master’s degree in Public Policy from University of London.

See images from the event here.

View the full discussion here.


September 12, 2023
9:00 am - 10:30 am
Free Want a discount? Become a member!
Event Category:


Martin E. Segal Theatre Center at CUNY Graduate Center
365 5th Ave
New York, NY 10016
View Venue Website


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