Monica McCullough noted with a chuckle that she had logged several comings and goings with Providence Housing Development Corp. during her college years.
“I’ve probably had the most going-away parties of anyone,” she remarked.
However, her latest hitch with Providence carries a greater air of permanence: McCullough, 26, has been named the corporation’s new executive director, effective Dec. 5. She succeeds Maggie Bringewatt, who stepped down in August as Providence’s inaugural executive director after 11 years with the corporation.
McCullough has many roots with Providence, a diocesan-affiliated agency that helps build affordable housing for individuals and families throughout the diocese. She began working there as an intern in 2000 while pursuing her bachelor’s degree in economics at the University of Rochester. McCullough eventually worked up to part-time and full-time positions at Providence, serving as the nonprofit agency’s director of relocation counseling services in 2001 and 2002. During that time she also served on the diocesan Public Policy Committee.
From 2002-05 McCullough attended Syracuse University, where she obtained a master’s degree in public administration and then a doctorate in law. Most recently, she worked during 2004 and 2005 as a law clerk for the firm of Hodgson Russ LLP in Buffalo.
McCullough said she’s happy to be opening a new chapter with Providence.
“It was a big decision, a big change. I’m so excited to be back,” she said. “It’s very important — not just as a career decision, but as a personal decision about what’s important to me.”
Jack Balinsky, diocesan director of Catholic Charities and chairman of Providence’s board of trustees, said in a statement that McCullough “will bring incredible energy, passion and knowledge to this role. She has vision and she has experience.”
McCullough received notification in November 2005 that she had passed her New York state bar exam. She expects to be admitted to law practice in early 2006, and said that her legal know-how will enhance her directorship at Providence.
“My thinking, when I went to law school, was to get some insight into corporate not-for-profit law. It’s also just a good analytical background for how to be creative with new funding resources and new ways to develop affordable housing,” she said.
Providence Housing develops, finances and manages housing for more than 1,000 people, working closely with such special-needs situations as those involving low-income residents, senior citizens and people with disabilities. McCullough said her background with the agency will prove useful, as will the ongoing support of her predecessor: Bringewatt is still connected with Providence as a senior development consultant.
“Maggie is my mentor. She’s been a tremendous influence on my career so far — a wonderful role model,” McCullough said. “I’m really excited that she is still around; she’s a tremendous resource to have. She’s just amazing.”