Commercial Real Estate
Making an Impact Through Systemic Change
Geeta Rao, Northern California Senior Director at Enterprise Community Partners, is focused on amplifying community voices and changing systems.
At JPMorgan Chase, it’s important we seek out relationships with businesses and people who share our values. We’re excited to highlight the story of Geeta Rao and Enterprise Community Partners, who work tirelessly to strengthen the communities in which they live and work.
Rao, Enterprise’s Senior Director in Northern California, has spent more than 20 years finding solutions to the affordable housing crisis. In that time, she’s accomplished much in her career, including:
- Finding her purpose: After graduation, Rao faced some harsh realities. “I had to get a job. I had to pay rent. And I had to feed myself,” she says. Rao started at an architecture firm as an administrative assistant where she drafted blueprints. “I soon realized that I was drafting prisons,” Rao said. “It was soul crushing.”
- Amplifying community voices: Rao began volunteering—and eventually working—for Urban Ecology, an organization that works with low-income communities of color in the Bay Area on community design projects. One of her first wins occurred when she defeated a large corporation’s proposal to build a new facility on 13 acres of land.
- Changing systems: Throughout her career, Rao learned that her strengths lie in changing systems. “In the Bay Area, there are 101 cities and nine counties. And each of those cities is trying to solve the affordable housing crisis on its own,” she said. “It doesn’t make sense.” Rao helped create and now works with the Bay Area Housing Finance Authority to transform systems.