Meet Teresa Gillotti, CEDAM’s Real Estate Program Specialist

To further the expertise and capacity of our Real Estate Program, CEDAM welcomes Teresa Gillotti to the team as our part-time real estate program specialist! Teresa is well experienced in the community economic development field from working with city and local governments. We are excited to have her with CEDAM and get to know her better.

Jennifer Lareau-Gee, Communications Specialist: Can you give me a brief overview of what you were doing before joining CEDAM and how that led you here?

Teresa Gillotti, Real Estate Program Specialist: I most recently worked in local government, for the city of Ypsilanti and then at Washtenaw County, eventually leading the office of Community Economic Development there. So I had the privilege of working in a lot of different ways around planning, community development, economic development, and housing, particularly affordable housing. I think, specifically, in the last five or six years, I really dug deeper into how to remove barriers and support local units of government, nonprofit housing developers, and others to achieve community goals around adding affordable housing. So, I really got into it and really enjoyed it. And when I heard that CEDAM was going to build out a real estate team to sort of build this capacity with their members statewide, it was a really exciting opportunity to see the field in a larger context  (small towns, rural areas, maybe other communities that didn’t have a background in developing affordable housing) outside of my particular community. It’s great to now have that broader perspective.l

Jennifer: What are you looking forward to most in this role at CEDAM, but also in the community economic development field in general? Because it seems like you’re really invested.

Teresa: I am. I mean, what I love about what CEDAM does is we’re about trying to build capacity, also the pipeline, and getting young leaders engaged. I feel like public service and community economic development, in particular, have had a rough 5-10 years and it’s been hard for people to want to stay around. So a lot of help and a lot of support in building capacity I think is one of the best things you could do for kind of the work we do broadly. So I think that’s really cool.

I’m excited for the boot camps. Literally, I’ve been wanting to go since I was working in local government but I couldn’t figure out how to take a week off to do it, so I’m excited to help plan those. I’ve also really been enjoying meeting a lot of the folks across the state through the Regional Housing Plans and sort of seeing what they’re doing. I’m constantly impressed; everyone’s doing it differently and a lot of people are really creative and coming up with awesome solutions. I love hearing it and I want to figure out how we can share it and make it happen more places and keep people connected. I think that’s exciting and fun.

Jennifer: What excites you most about community development as a field?

Teresa: I think it’s great to talk with different folks around the state. Sometimes, I feel like getting housing done is this complicated puzzle but everyone’s got a different set of pieces because every community wants different things. People are using land banks, they’re working with their local hospitals and school districts to find land that would be appropriate for new construction and attainable housing, and they’re using all new kinds of financing tools, and MSHDA got some new funding sources that are really helping out. So, it’s nice to see how people are doing it in different ways that fit their community. 

Jennifer: Is there anything you want out of this role?

Teresa: I like that as you get older you accumulate stuff. Right now, I feel like I finally know a few things. I don’t know everything, there is still plenty to learn, but I love learning more. I want to be that resource so it’s not just I’m holding it in. Like, if someone comes to me with something I can actually help them with, that feels great. When you’re able to make those connections and get people over a hump or around one so they can keep going, I like that. I like to be able to be that resource, to be that kind of co-problem solver if that’s what people are looking for. That person that can help out. I want to get better at that and I want to do it more and share widely.

Lightning round: get to know you questions!

What’s the last book you read?

Olga Dies Dreaming by Xochitl Gonzalez

What’s a current or recent TV/movie you enjoyed?

Hollywood Reporter Writer & Directors Series on YouTube, Percy Jackson series, Slow Horses on Apple

If you could travel anywhere in the world right now, where would you go?

Everywhere. I always wanted to go to India and Chile. But I want to go many places.

What was the last concert you attended? 

John Mulaney, in Toledo,

Do you have any hobbies right now? 

Kayaking on local rivers, biking, long walks listening to books