Rockford Housing Authority is celebrating Women’s History Month by highlighting all the women that make RHA operate.  With about 34 women employed at RHA, and with a woman Board President, we know how vital women and their perspectives are to our organization.  The women on our team bring different skills, ideas, and experiences, that allow RHA to create a more diverse and interactive culture. To all the women at RHA, we recognize and appreciate all the contributions that you have made.

Karen Hoffman has been serving as RHA’s Chairman for the Board of Commissioners since 2013. Karen’s goal is for the RHA residents to become homeowners in the years to come.  Throughout her life, Karen has dedicated her time to serving and advocating for the community. During her time as a Public Aid employee, Karen developed programs and services that helped clients go from receiving Aid to self-sufficient. Karen also serves as the president of the American Association of University Women, an organization that fights for gender equity and economic security for women. AAUW gives women the resources and skillset they deserve to advocate for themselves regarding equal pay, benefits, and leadership roles. A quote that has stayed with Karen is “Never confuse economic attainment with intelligence.”

Laura Snyder has been serving as Rockford Housing Authority’s first woman CEO since September 2018. Of the 70 years that RHA has been operational, Laura has been with the organization for 21 years. As the CEO, Laura is responsible for RHA’s operational and financial success. With her many years of experience in Public Housing, Laura is certified as a Housing Choice Voucher Specialist, Public Housing Manager, and Tax Credit Specialist. As the former Director of Housing Operations, Laura led her teams to develop and implement initiatives to improve program integrity within Section 8 and Public Housing. Laura hopes that by being the first women CEO at RHA, it will continue to pave the future for women’s representation within the workforce.

Rockford Housing Authority’s Director of Human Services is Odessa Walker. She has 7 years of experience working in public housing. She worked as a Resident Social Services Coordinator for 2 years, a Family Self-Sufficiency Coordinator for 3 years, and a Director of Education and Training for 2 years. Odessa was in charge of ensuring the progress of all resident services by delivering classroom educational training, as well as introducing programs that addressed job readiness, financial literacy, self-empowerment, goal setting, and home-ownership planning. Odessa is committed to paving the way for the families she works with to succeed, achieve success on all levels, and become self-sufficient.

Jessica Wilson serves as a Board Commissioner for Rockford Housing Authority. A born and raised Rockford native, Jessica attended Rock Valley College to study Criminal Justice and graduated in 2015 with an associate degree in Applied Science. After earning a Nursing Assistant Certificate, Jessica has worked as a CNA for 10 years within the community. Jessica accepted a position with FurstStaffing Employment Agency in July of 2017. Her job title was The Drug Test Administrator, and she worked as an Onboarding Specialist

Sandra Sigala also serves as a Board Commissioner for Rockford Housing Authority. Sandra has lived in Rockford her whole life and attended Rock Valley College studying Art, Child Care, and Child Development. Sandra serves as the Recording Secretary for Local 607’s Executive Board. She is also a delegate for Rockford United Labor and the secretary for the Rockford Labor Day Committee. Sandra is a Trustee for the LCLAA (Labor Council of Latin American Advancement) state chapter.

Rockford Housing Authority is proud of their diverse team especially with so many women in leadership roles. Out of all those different experiences and backgrounds, there is still one goal, and that is to build and strengthen the Rockford Community. Since it is Women’s History Month, RHA will continue giving spotlight to our women staff members.