Virtual Counselor Network’s Architect Selected to Attend NeighborWorks® America Achieving Excellence Program at Harvard University Kennedy School of Government

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Prestigious Program Offers Leaders High-Level Coaching & Tools to Advance Organization’s Performance and Capacity

Virtual Counseling


The Achieving Excellence Program equips leaders to increase the community impact of the work they do.

NeighborWorks America and Housing Opportunities Collaborative (HOC) are proud to announce that Appaswamy “Vino” Pajanor, HOC’s President and Executive Director and the chief architect behind the development of the Virtual Counselor Network (VCN) is one of 50 leaders nationally selected for the NeighborWorks® Achieving Excellence Program, conducted in collaboration with Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government (Achieving Excellence Program).

The Achieving Excellence Program is an 18-month educational program for senior leaders in organizations working to benefit their communities. At the beginning of the program, each participant selects a specific and significant challenge facing their organization for which solutions will not only dramatically change how their organizations do business, but also enable them to make lasting change in their communities. By the end of the course, each organization can expect to have achieved measurable successes to address that challenge.

“It is an honor and a privilege to be selected for this proven program, which provides opportunities to work collaboratively with top notch leaders in the Nation and at the same time learn from them,” says Vino Pajanor. “I hope to bring back from the Achieving Excellence Program valuable knowledge, experiences, and strategies to grow the HOC model which enables deeper collective impact in communities through programs like the VCN.”

The only comprehensive, intensive training of its kind, Achieving Excellence includes three formal sessions at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government, as well as executive coaching, intensive peer learning and guidance from author and consultant Douglas K. Smith. The first session at Harvard University will take place in October 2014, with additional sessions planned for February and October 2015 with a final session and graduation in February 2016. Between academic sessions, participants will be actively working on the challenge critical to their organization’s success and will be working closely with their executive coach and peer group.

“The Achieving Excellence Program equips leaders to increase the community impact of the work they do,” explained Chuck Wehrwein, acting President and Chief Executive Officer of NeighborWorks America. “It goes way beyond the typical training course to focus intensively on systemic, long-term change.”

Achieving Excellence has graduated almost 300 executive directors, CEOs and other senior leaders since the program began in 2002, with astounding results from each class. Independent evaluations have shown tremendous results for organizations that have participated in this program. In just one recent class alone, achievements by Achieving Excellence graduates included the following:

  • Total clients served increased by 146%.
  • Average total assets increased by 23%; average increase attributed to their participation in Achieving Excellence was $6,860,507 per organization with $96,047,109 cumulatively.
  • More than $12.3 million new income generated by 23 organizations, more than $5.5 million of which was generated through operations (fees for service, etc.)
  • Number of successful homeowners created increased by 15%.
  • Approximately 2,500 new affordable rental units developed, managed or acquired by 18 organizations
  • 89,100 square feet new commercial space created by 7 organizations.

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About the Housing Opportunities Collaborative
Housing Opportunities Collaborative is a 501(c)(3) tax exempt non-profit organization, established in 2005 by a coalition of HUD approved housing counseling and fair housing agencies, other housing related nonprofit organizations, business organizations, and government agencies that support all aspects of housing rights and responsibilities. It was created to serve as an information clearinghouse by consolidating housing and related information, making it easily accessible to the public and partners. HOC also acts as a neutral convener for its partners by conducting outreach events to educate and provide housing counseling and related services to the public. HOC conducts capacity building training for its partners, and identifies and encourages best practices, in order to standardize counseling among partner agencies.

About NeighborWorks® America
NeighborWorks® America has created opportunities for people to improve their lives and strengthen their communities by providing access to homeownership and to safe and affordable rental housing. In the last five years, NeighborWorks organizations have generated more than $19.5 billion in reinvestment in these communities. NeighborWorks America is the nation’s leading trainer of community development, financial capability and affordable housing professionals.

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Appaswamy Pajanor
Housing Opportunities Collaborative
+1 6192832200 Ext: 109
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since: 11/2010
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