Ayako Utsumi, 2017 Health Leader
Title: Founding Consultant
Organization: Valon Consulting
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Ayako is one of the few, perhaps the only, ULI members with a Public Health management background who is also a full-time, low income housing developer. She is a small business, minority and woman entrepreneur seeking to devise creative and low-cost ways to better integrate public health principles into small scale and naturally occurring low income housing.
Ayako’s love of biology combined with an interest in systems and management led her to pursue a career in healthcare administration. Some 17 years in healthcare business development in inner city hospitals, Federally Qualified Health Clinics (FQHC), venture capital-backed national medical groups, management consulting in health systems and national insurance companies, led her to strike out on her own as a management consultant. She had a desire to be closer to the end-user (people!), pursue dreams of entrepreneurship and better integrate public health ideals with real estate development. In late 2008 during the Great Recession, she embraced a window of opportunity to pursue her vision for developing safe, healthy, affordable, and accessible housing as the foundation to creating vibrant communities. As founder and owner of her own consulting firm, Ayako provides non-profit clients with business development and project management services to build affordable homes.
Why are you motivated to participate in the Health Leaders Network? How will your participation enhance your current and future work?
My motivation to participate in the Health Leaders program is to help me set aside time to dive deeper into the Toolkit strategies and study successful projects with multidisciplinary colleagues of like mind specifically to benefit small, scattered site projects of existing and naturally occurring affordable housing. Moreover, since the next Fall meeting will be in Los Angeles, where I reside, attendance will be much more affordable for me as a small business owner.
My participation in the prestigious program will enhance my current work to help curate a practical list of very affordable and achievable healthy living goals tailored for small projects in outlying areas away from the urban core. When we apply for new sources of funding to build/rehabilitate affordable housing, we struggle with compiling a network of service providers and funding sources to meet the rigorous energy, transportation and amenity standards that larger projects can afford. In the future, I hope to be able to scale and replicate the practical list/template for other like neighborhoods.