Cathie Anderson

CEO who helped build Mutual Housing California stepping down

Mutual Housing California announced Thursday that CEO Rachel Iskow will be stepping down from the nonprofit that, under her nearly 23 years of leadership, grew into a powerful advocate for affordable housing for low-income residents.

Iskow told me: “I plan to let myself take a few months off to relax at home and spend more quality time with my ninth-grader and get back into exercising, which I have let go of for at least a decade! Maybe tai chi? Good for folks pushing 60, like me! After some R&R, I will see where my energy and passion lead me.”

She ticked off some things that make her especially proud. Along with city officials, the nonprofit campaigned for passage in 2008 of a mandatory rental housing inspection ordinance, a measure that assured safer, healthier housing for tens of thousands around Sacramento. In 2002, the agency also developed the first solar energy-producing multifamily property in Sacramento County, and in 2015, it developed the nation’s first Zero Net Energy-certified rental housing property.

Iskow said she will remain CEO until the end of the year. The board will launch a national search for her successor in March.

Mutual Housing board President Mindy Romero said about Iskow: “When Rachel took the helm of Mutual Housing California, the organization had two employees and served 300 residents. Today, Mutual Housing’s exceptional team includes more than 60 employees. The organization provides housing and resident leadership opportunities for more than 3,200 individuals, families, seniors, formerly homeless, and the disabled.”

Iskow used her position to ensure that all stakeholders had a seat at the table on key policy decisions, Romero said, and her legacy will live on with programs that promote education opportunities for residents and innovative residential projects that blend tenant leadership and environmental sustainability.

Pedal to the metal: Startup entrepreneurs have just a few days left – until Feb. 20 – to apply for Impact Venture Capital’s accelerator program, which will provide intensive coaching on developing business plans and elevator pitches.

The Entrepreneurs Showcase Accelerator also will give entrepreneurs a chance to pitch their business concepts to potential investors, customers and mentors.

“That’s our big annual educational, startup boot camp,” said Aaron Anderson, acting executive director of the Entrepreneurs Showcase. “We’ve hosted that every year for seven years now. It’s an eight-week boot camp. … We usually accept between 10 and 15 startups.”

The goal is to get the companies to where they would be attractive to investors by the end of the program. Classes will be held Tuesday nights at Impact’s headquarters, 801 K St., in Sacramento.

Dan Wadhwani, an Impact Venture partner and a professor of entrepreneurship at University of the Pacific, launched the accelerator in 2010 and he’s set to moderate again this year. Over the years, the Impact accelerator has helped to polish companies such as Gold River’s Pondera Solutions, HomeZada in El Dorado Hills and Sacramento-based Gatekeeper Innovation.

“We believe Sacramento can be a real hub for certain types of technologies. I like to call them the global challenges technologies,” Anderson said. “Whether you’re talking about agriculture technology or health care technology or maybe clean energy or even civic and government technologies, Sacramento has some really cool advantages. One of those is the research coming out of UC Davis. It’s the world’s best vet school, a Top 20 med school.”

Cathie Anderson: 916-321-1193, @CathieA_SacBee