Karen DuBois-Walton Ph.D.
Executive Director
Housing Authority of The City of New Haven
New Haven, Conn.

As executive director of the Housing Authority of the City of New Haven, Karen DuBois-Walton Ph.D., works with some of the city’s poorest families, providing them basic housing and a host of skills-building and other supportive services. “I love the opportunities of seeing somebody graduate from a program and get a new job, build their savings account, improve their credit and eventually transition to the market rate of home owning,” says DuBois-Walton.

DuBois-Walton has a bachelor’s degree from Yale University, and master’s and bachelor’s degrees from Boston University. She has served as executive director of the New Haven housing authority since 2007, directly interfacing with its board, the city’s mayor, and other elected officials at the state level. For every family she houses, two sit on her waiting list. “The challenge is seeing families go through really desperate situations and not be able to immediately offer them something,” she says.

DuBois-Walton cites three external factors that were key to her professional success: the values she learned from her parents; challenges and opportunities “to stretch and grow” provided by mentors; and the support of her husband. Equally important were the values she brought from within herself. “I believe that I have achieved because of the combination of that which is intrinsically me, hard work, faith, and because others have created opportunities for me,” she says. “Knowing that, I feel a responsibility to do the same for others.”

That responsibility is borne out in the types of community service toward which she devotes her time and energy, namely civil rights, women’s rights, reproductive rights and community building. “With sufficient time and money I would ensure that every child’s basic needs were met, and that they were raised in environments that fostered their dreams and aspirations,” says DuBois-Walton. A mother of two, she relaxes with music and reading.