Rod Williams, Ph.D.
Founding Chief Executive Officer
Dr. Rod Williams is the executive director and founder of Opportunity Housing (OH), a nonprofit affordable housing and community development corporation located in Southeast Washington, DC. Opportunity Housing believes that quality affordable housing is an essential cornerstone that provides stability, opportunity and improved quality of life to individuals and families. He has developed more than 100 units of affordable housing for seniors and lower-income households.
Delivering properties of the highest quality and working within community partnerships are paramount in Dr. Williams' business philosophy. Over the decades, he has forged many public/private partnerships. Dr. Williams believes the two concepts, quality and community partnership, are inextricably linked.
Previously, Dr. Williams was involved in a wide variety of commercial and residential real estate transactions as a consultant for R&C Consulting, Inc. and is a licensed Realtor in the District (among other jurisdictions). Dr. Williams earned his doctorate in Public Policy with a specialization in community and economic development from the University of Arkansas. His dissertation research examined the implementation of affordable housing programs by community development corporations in the District of Columbia. He also studied community planning and development at the University of Southern Mississippi, as well as economic and community redevelopment at the University of Florida.
As a policy analyst and community development expert, Dr. Williams’ work focuses on policies that deal with housing finance, affordable housing, community development, and economic development. He began his career as a city planner for Joseph A. Lusteck & Associates, a professional real estate/planning consulting firm, where he successfully developed land use planning and housing studies for various cities in Mississippi. From there, his career led him to positions as a real estate broker, construction manager, and other development positions with private development firms. With a background as a commercial broker, Dr. Williams has represented fortune 500 companies and managed multi-million dollar deals. As a developer, he has a proven track record of financeable projects and unparalleled absorption rates and value increases. A native of McComb, MS, Dr. Williams has been a proud resident of the District of Columbia for many years.
With more than 20 years of direct experience in affordable housing and community development, Dr. Williams uniquely combines the roles of practitioner and theoretician, participant and policymaker. Prior to Opportunity Housing, he served as deputy director at Wheeler Creek Community Development Corporation, policy analyst at The Congressional Research Service (CRS), and as a real estate manager at Walmart Stores Inc., where he managed a multi-billion dollar real estate portfolio.
Charlayne Hayling- Williams, Ph.D.
Dr. Charlayne Hayling-Williams is a counseling psychologist trained in cultural competence, urban children youth and families, and complex social policy issues as they relate to poverty. She completed a Master's of Education in Counseling and Human Services, and Doctor of Philosophy in Counseling Psychology from Lehigh University. Committed to a life of service, advocacy, and large scale reform efforts, Dr. Hayling-Williams also completed a residency in the Yale University School of Medicine in Urban Education, Policy, and Prevention. At Yale, she was awarded the Zigler Fellowship in child development and social policy. She subsequently completed two highly competitive policy fellowships in Washington, DC.
The Society for Research in Child Development (SRCD) selected Dr. Hayling-Williams to work to bridge the gap between science and policy as an American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) congressional science fellow in the United States Senate. During that time, she worked on the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) committee to advance education reform efforts and sharpen her policy skills. In a rare occurrence, Dr. Hayling-Williams was awarded a concurrent SRCD/AAAS executive science fellowship. She was fortunate to serve at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services in the Maternal Child Health Bureau. Her work focused on the effective national implementation of the home-visiting provision of the Affordable Care Act.
With over 15 years of experience in the areas of mental health, child and family services, policy, and consulting, Dr. Hayling-Williams has spent the last five years in Washington, D.C. building her “results story.” She has worked closely with the systems that affect some of the most vulnerable families in the United States (including education, juvenile justice, public safety, healthcare, disability services, and workforce) as a senior policy advisor in the Executive Office of the Mayor, Director of Treatment with the Department of Youth Rehabilitation Services, and Director of Programs and Strategic Partnerships in the private human services sector. Dr. Hayling-Williams’ remarkably broad experiences uniquely place her in an ideal position to be a national voice for vulnerable children and families. She is poised to affect change in various capacities toward the goal of eradicating the deleterious effects of poverty and improving long-term outcomes.
Dr. Hayling-Williams received her bachelor’s degree in psychology and juvenile justice from Florida A&M University magna cum laude. Dr. Hayling-Williams is a proud Washingtonian, and a native of Baton Rouge, Louisiana.