The Magnolia States Women’s Affordable Housing Network (WAHN – LA/MS) is a nonprofit organization committed to connecting, empowering, and developing women leaders in affordable housing through networking, mentorship, advocacy, and community engagement.
To create a community of women from all sectors of the industry with networking and professional development opportunities that foster the advancement and leadership of women in affordable housing.
Magnolia Premier Association Management Services
Meghan Elder is the owner and director of Magnolia Premier Association Management Services. She leverages 15 years of industry experience to help her clients achieve their goals through strategic planning, operations, membership development, and event planning. Since 2009, Elder has held progressively responsible professional positions in convention and association management. Initially, she polished her skills and built relationships by booking annual association meetings and events for hotels and conference centers, which led to a specialization in housing when she became the Executive Director for the Mississippi Multifamily Council and Event Planner for the Home Builders Association of Mississippi in 2014. Since then, Elder has and continues to play an integral role in the operation of her primary clients, which include the Mississippi Association of Affordable Housing Providers (MAAHP), the Louisiana Association of Affordable Housing Providers (LAAHP), and the Mississippi Apartment Association (MAA). Most notably, she’s worked on a statewide level to assist with passing legislation for MAA and advocated for national issues on behalf of the National Apartment Association.
With the Magnolia Premier Association Management Services launch in 2023, Elder hopes to expand her portfolio of clients and her service offerings. As co-chair of the Magnolia Chapter of WAHN, she’s excited to connect with women in the affordable housing industry.
Meghan has been a member of the Mississippi Society of Association Executive (MSAE) since 2013 and a member of the National Apartment Association (NAA) since 2016.
Chief Marketing Officer
Christianne Brunini is a mission-driven communications leader with demonstrated experience in health, housing, and hospitality. Brunini's sense of hospitality informs her ability to create brand experiences that educate, connect, and delight.
As Chief Marketing Officer for Knight Development, she is responsible for all aspects of marketing and public relations. Brunini is passionate about brand-building and business development, driving an aggressive and successful award and events program to help generate Knight Development's recognition in the affordable housing industry.
In 2022, she steered the organization through a seamless rebrand and launched the inaugural Knight Insight Summit to help housing authorities navigate every phase of conversion more effectively.
Brunini holds a Bachelor's Degree in English from the University of California, Santa Barbara and an Associate's Degree in Culinary Arts from the Le Cordon Blue (California Culinary Academy), San Francisco. When she is not whipping up a social post or a crown roast, you will find her shooting clay or bass fishing with her husband. All three of her bonus children are or will be Ole Miss grads.
Vice President, Gulf Coast Market and Senior Advisor, Upward Mobility
Enterprise Community Partners
Michelle is based in New Orleans, where Enterprise has invested over $400 million in loans, grants and equity towards the production of 12,000 affordable homes in the years following Hurricane Katrina. She leads Enterprise’s work in the Gulf region to create and support effective systems and tools for high quality affordable housing production, to attract private-sector capital and to strengthen the affordable housing industry. She led Enterprise’s partnership in the award-winning transformation of the former Lafitte public housing complex in New Orleans’ Treme neighborhood into a healthy mixed-income community. She also advises other areas affected by disaster on effective disaster recovery policy and program design.
Prior to working in the Gulf Coast, Michelle was deputy director for Enterprise’s New York office, where she led neighborhood initiatives and public policy efforts. In that role, Michelle managed organizational development, resident services-related technical assistance and grant making programs, and directed advocacy and outreach to local, state and federal officials on housing and community development issues.
EVP of Policy & Communications
Mississippi Home Corporation
Jenny Layton is the Executive Vice President of Policy & Communications at the Mississippi Home Corporation (MHC). As a member of the executive leadership team, she is responsible for providing overall leadership and direction of marketing, all internal and external communications, and the planning and execution of the corporate marketing strategy and brand reputation. She ensures that MHC’s messages are crafted to ensure the public stays informed regarding MHC’s various programs and initiatives.
Jenny works closely with the Executive Director and other senior management members to develop long-term strategic goals for developing new programs by providing the necessary information and analysis for effective planning and evaluation of MHC’s housing programs.
Jenny received her B.A. in Communications from Mississippi State University with an emphasis on Public Relations. She has been with MHC for 27 years.
Managing Member Longwell Riess, L.L.C.
Kelly Longwell represents clients on general tax and corporate matters, taxation of individuals and entities, federal and state tax credits and partnership taxation. She is also a licensed title insurance agent in the State of Louisiana and frequently represents development clients in real estate syndications and development, acquisitions/sales, leasing, 1031 tax-deferred exchanges, commercial loans, secured transactions, and incentive-based loans and equity investments.
Kelly is consistently recognized as one of the country’s top affordable housing and community development attorneys. She advises clients on low-income housing tax credits, historic tax credits, new market tax credits, tax exempt bond financing, tax increment financing, façade donations, community development block grants, HUD insured loans and various other public finance sources. Her diverse client mix includes developers, investors, lenders, nonprofit entities, government entities, and community development entities. Working on a wide spectrum of projects, Kelly has particular expertise in structuring real estate developments to maximize tax benefits and investment. Her projects include housing developments, hotels, mixed-use developments, office buildings, health care facilities, commercial retail developments, education facilities, entertainment venues, and community facilities.
Director of Strategic Initiatives
As the Director of Strategic Initiatives, Ashley will utilize her 20 years of finance, business leadership and affordable housing program experience to implement policies, strategies and practices which maximize synergy and collaboration between property management, compliance, finance, and development to advance the company’s short- and long-term goals.
Ashley joined the HRI team from Knight Development which specializes in RAD and Public Housing Asset Repositioning. Serving as the Director of Development Finance then Chief Financial Officer she maintained steady and strategic oversight of a stabilized and pipeline portfolio of more than 3,500 affordable units, a combined $500 Million plus in Total Development Cost. Prior to her role with Knight Development, Ashley worked for a regional public accounting firm as the Affordable Housing Manager providing HOME & Tax Credit consulting services to the firm’s development clients.
Ashley holds a B.S. in Accounting from Louisiana State University’s E.J. Ourso College of Business with an emphasis on Internal Audit, is an active member of the Louisiana Association of Affordable Housing Providers (LAAHP) currently serving on the Board of Directors.