Introduction Pat O'Connell, New Transitional Executive Director

Dear Friends of the National Public Housing Museum:

We would like to share some news. As you may know, our previous executive director Charles Leeks left the museum to pursue other opportunities. We're delighted that Charles remains supportive of the Museum and our efforts to share the stories and lessons of public housing. The board of directors is using this time of transition as an opportunity for creativity, reflection, and renewal.

    Pat O'Connell , New Transitional Executive Director of the NPHM


Pat O'Connell, New Transitional Executive Director of the NPHM

To that end, we have engaged the services of Pat O’Connell as our Transitional Executive Director. Pat has more than thirty years of experience in the Chicago nonprofit sector, working in areas such as community development, healthcare, social services, and the arts.

She has served as Executive Director of Claretian Associates, a housing and community development organization on Chicago’s southeast side, and the ACE Mentor Program, an organization providing educational and career mentoring for disadvantaged and minority youth in the Chicago Public School system. For the past 15 years, Pat has managed her own consulting practice, working with a variety of nonprofit organizations on capacity building initiatives.

Her particular expertise is working with organizations in transition and since 2007 has served as Interim Executive Director at five different organizations, helping them stabilize and optimize operations, facilitate cultural change and provide appropriate supports to orient the permanent executive director when hired. As one board president noted on an evaluation of Pat’s services, “Pat O’Connell facilitated a challenging administrative transition for us with sensitivity, grace, and finesse. Her leadership and generosity provided a level of expertise, encouragement and stewardship that we could not have provided by ourselves.”

With Pat’s leadership, NPHM will continue its exciting work with CHA to finalize the construction timetable for our permanent home. The inclusion of NPHM in the final masterplan by Solomon Cordwell Buenz and CHA demonstrates NPHM's future role as a neighborhood anchor. We will also continue to prepare the opening exhibits for the museum, and to build on our past programming including connecting resident experiences to conversations about policy and design and the future of housing as a Public Good. Pat will work to strengthen our systems to get us ready for our next steps. 

We are looking forward to sharing more news about all of these developments in the coming months. In the meantime, if you would like to contact Pat, you may reach her at

Thank you so much for your continued interest and support!


Sunny Fischer
Chair, NPHM