Doris Koo has always been people-focused, from her school days as a sociology student at the University of Wisconsin-Madison to her service at the Seattle Housing Authority to her work as executive vice president, strategic programs at Enterprise Community Partners. Now that focus has catapulted her to the top level at Enterprise, where she became president and CEO effective Jan. 1, 2007. Koo holds a bachelor's from Wisconsin and a master's in social service administration from the University of Chicago.
Q: What appealed to you about this job?
A: My personal mission and Enterprise's mission have always been in sync: to revitalize and to build strong, sustainable communities that provide opportunity and help for those most in need. It's a real honor to serve as the president and CEO of Enterprise, which has a long track record of business success, the end-to-end financial and technical resources, a highly motivated, dedicated and professional staff, and a nationwide partner network that works daily to fulfill this mission.
Q: What do you hope to accomplish in your new role?
A: I want to position Enterprise for ongoing success by forging new connections between the community development field and education, public health, and environmental stakeholders; continue to spearhead the innovative solutions this organization is known for such as making environmentally sustainable development the mainstream in the affordable housing industry; position Enterprise as the catalyst and intermediary to help rebuild the Gulf Coast with stronger communities and better opportunities for low-income families; provide supportive housing opportunities; and, of course, fight to preserve affordable housing across the country.
Q: What was your first job in the multifamily industry?
A: Fighting for affordable housing for Asian Americans in New York City in the ‘70s. For 13 years, first as chair of the board of directors and subsequently as founding executive director of Asian Americans For Equality, I worked with many talented and dedicated individuals to transform the community-based civil rights organization to what is today—the largest owner and developer of low-income housing in New York City's Chinatown and Lower Eastside.
Q: What do you enjoy about working in the multifamily industry?
A: My greatest joy comes from working with the people on the ground and building consensus among developers and investors, community organizations, and the local elected officials who fight day-in and day-out to make their communities a better place to live for current and future generations.