MDHA is governed by a seven-member Board of Commissioners appointed by the Mayor and confirmed by the Metropolitan Council of Nashville and Davidson County. The Board meets monthly to establish policy, approve budgets and give staff guidance in carrying out the Agency’s responsibilities within the framework of federal, state and local law.
Bill Purcell, Chair
Bill Purcell has spent more than 40 years in law, public service and higher education. During his eight-year tenure as Mayor of the Metropolitan Government of Nashville and Davidson County, Tennessee (1999-2007), the city saw unprecedented economic expansion, an increase in Metro school funding of more than 50%, and the development and preservation of more than 26,000 affordable housing units. During his term, Nashville was ranked as the number one city for corporate headquarters and twice ranked as the hottest city in America for expansion and relocation of business. Purcell was elected to five terms in the Tennessee House of Representatives (1986-96), serving as Majority Leader (1990-96).
An active participant in the work of the legal profession, Purcell has been honored by the Nashville Bar Association with the John C. Tune award for outstanding contributions to his community and faithful service to the bar. He earned his bachelor’s degree at Hamilton College and his law degree at Vanderbilt University School of Law, where he was honored as the 2004 Distinguished Alumnus. Purcell is now Counsel in the Nashville office of FrostBrownTodd LLC, and is an adjunct professor of Public Policy Studies at Vanderbilt University. He was the founding dean of the College of Public Service and Urban Affairs at Tennessee State University.
Purcell joined the Board and was elected Chair in December 2019.
Emily Thaden, Vice Chair for Housing
Emily Thaden serves as the vice president of national strategy for Grounded Solutions Network, a national nonprofit membership organization that cultivates equitable and inclusive communities by advancing housing with lasting affordability. In her role, she oversees national policy, research, special projects, and innovative financing initiatives. She is also the chair of the board of directors for Shelterforce, a nonprofit digital media organization covering community development and affordable housing.
Thaden was appointed to the Board in January 2017 and elected vice chair for housing in January 2019.
Aole Ansari, Vice Chair for Development
Aole Ansari brings more than 20 years of public and private sector experience to the MDHA Board. He served 11 years of active-duty as an enlisted man and officer in the U.S. Navy. During his service, he rose from electrician in Orlando, FL to lead engineer in Japan and finally as an Officer-In-Charge of a special boat unit in San Diego, CA.
Ansari’s private sector career has led him through investment banking at Citigroup and into the field of real estate finance and development. It was real estate that brought him to Nashville in 2004 where he led military housing/lodging, medical office and student housing business units for Lendlease, an international property company. His deep expertise in implementing and delivering public-private partnerships for affordable, workforce, student and market-rate housing serves MDHA well as it explores strategies to implement capital programs and grow its portfolio of affordable housing.
Ansari graduated from the United States Naval Academy with a B.S. Economics and earned his MBA from the Darden Graduate School of Business at the University of Virginia.
Ansari was appointed to the Board in December 2018 and elected vice chair for development in January 2019.
Antoinette Batts is a Nashville native. Since 2004, she has worked with Nashville’s youth, serving as a teen specialist at the Northwest Family YMCA in Nashville.
Batts was appointed to the Board in July 2013.
Kay Bowers has 28 years of experience working in affordable housing development, finance and property management. Bowers retired as executive director of New Level Community Development Corp. in 2020, but she has continued to work on housing policy and advocacy.
Bowers was appointed to the board in December of 2018.
Bishop Marcus Campbell
Bishop Marcus Campbell is the pastor of The Church at Mount Carmel and founder of a juvenile mentoring program called Gentlemen and Not Gangsters. For the last several years, Campbell has hosted countless events on MDHA properties in an effort to give back to our families. He also runs a free annual summer camp for Nashville’s youth, many of which live in MDHA housing.
Campbell was appointed to the Board in July 2019.
Dr. Paulette Coleman
Dr. Paulette Coleman is a social justice activist, certified mediator, and urban planner. From 2014 to 2019 she chaired the Affordable Housing Task Force of NOAH (Nashville Organized for Action and Hope) a multiracial, interdenominational, and faith-based coalition that works for solutions to Nashville’s growing affordable housing crisis. She has also served on various task forces and study groups examining Tax Increment Financing, transit oriented development and affordable housing.
Dr. Coleman graduated from Fordham University with a B.A. and Ph.D. from Fordham University and Massachusetts Institute of Technology, respectively.
Dr. Coleman was appointed to the Board in December 2019.