Q&A with Dontae Latson, CEO of Rocky Mountain Communities
Dontae Latson joined Rocky Mountain Communities (RMC) as the chief executive officer in July 2019. Dontae is a servant leader with more than 20 years of experience and 15 years as an executive leader in the human services arena.
Founded in 1992, RMC owns and operates 1,032 affordable apartments throughout Colorado, providing quality housing options for lower-income families and individuals. In addition, RMC provides programs and services to residents to help them be more successful.
Facts about Dontae:
- Dontae was raised in Seat Pleasant, MD by his late grandmother and family.
- Dontae is an avid supporter of human rights and has worked throughout his career to ensure that marginalized groups are heard and validated.
- In 2016, Dontae created a memorial scholarship in the name of his late grandmother to assist grandparent(s) raising grandchildren by offering financial assistance.
- Dontae and his wife, Tania have five children and are expecting one more child in January.
- Dontae enjoys spending time with his wife, large family, and friends, reading (mostly books on leadership), traveling and helping others.
What does Rocky Mountain Communities do?
Rocky Mountain Communities is a Colorado-based, non-profit organization that builds brighter futures by investing in resident-focused affordable housing and services, empowering individuals and families to thrive. We leverage resources and partnerships to invest in programs that support residents in our communities. For example, Rocky Mountain Communities offers after school activities and programs for families and fitness classes for older adults.
When did you become CEO of Rocky Mountain Communities?
I joined the organization in July 2019. Throughout my career, I have had several leadership experiences. Before relocating to Colorado, I served as CEO of YWCA McLean County (Bloomington, IL), as administrator of two hospitals and as an executive in local county government in North Carolina.
What are your goals as CEO?
My primary responsibility is to impart the organization with a visionary road map of innovative, transformative and sustainable progress through holistic, resident-focused affordable housing living. I also want to create a strong sense of community and belonging at all Rocky Mountain Communities’ properties, for both residents and employees.
Talk about your passion for collaboration and community.
I am a community connector, convener, executor and team player. I believe in active engagement in the community and I’ve served on over 20 different boards/councils during my career. I’m proud to have received numerous awards and recognitions for my leadership and community work. However, I attribute my success to engaging community members through a process of collective impact. My areas of expertise are developing leaders, visioning for non-profits and promoting well-being, and community collaboration. Since joining Rocky Mountain Communities, I’ve been working with several leaders and community organizations to create a stronger sense of community by levering resources that will help improve the quality of life for those served by Rocky Mountain Communities.
Who has been a mentor to you in your career?
I have been fortunate to have several mentors and strong advocates throughout my career to help me become a stronger leader. Early on in my career, I had several mentors in healthcare, local and state government. Now that I have joined the housing industry, there have been many individuals and organizations that have embraced me by sharing their knowledge and taking me under their wing to help me with the learning curve of the complex housing industry. Some of these leaders include Sonya Mau, retired businesswoman, Mickey Landy of NeighborWorks, Inc., Mark Marshall of Urban Land Conservancy, and Rodger Harar, housing consultant/executive coach.
What is Rocky Mountain Communities most recent project?
In summer 2019, Rocky Mountain Communities opened Arroyo Village, the only community of its kind in the country that incorporates a homeless shelter, supportive housing and affordable housing units in one building. Arroyo Village is a joint development by nonprofit organizations Rocky Mountain Communities and The Delores Project, which combined two existing sites to create the new community.
The complex features 130 units designed to help combat homelessness within the City of Denver while providing affordable housing in a community with ever increasing rents. Of the 130 units, 95 will provide one, two and three bedroom family housing; 35 apartments will be permanent supportive housing (PSH) for formerly homeless individuals; and The Delores Project will operate a new 60-bed shelter facility for women and transgendered individuals.