Our Staff & Board

Ja’Net Defell, President & CEO

Ja’Net Defell has more than 20 years of management consulting, urban planning and real estate development experience. Prior to leading Community Desk Chicago, Defell served as a real estate subject matter expert for a federal agency and a real estate consultant and developer at a Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) where she managed a portfolio of nonprofit community-based real estate projects. In addition to her direct real estate experience, Defell has worked with the philanthropic community in the City of Detroit to build capacity related to facilities management and planning as well as supported the development of city-wide initiatives to improve facility conditions in low-income and underserved communities.

Defell holds a Master of Urban Planning and Policy from the University of Illinois at Chicago and a Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) from the University of Michigan. She is a Fulcrum Fellow with the Center for Community Investment, Lincoln Institute of Land Policy, a certified Project Management Professional (PMP) and LEED Green Associate.