Meet The Team

Join Our Team

These are the themes that most resonate with MRK Partners’ staff. If you’re interested in working in a collaborative environment that emphasizes inclusivity, passion, adaptability and innovation, then please reach out to us. We’d love to get to know you! Click here



Sydne is the Founder and President of MRK Partners, Inc. Founded in 2015, MRK now has approximately 4,000 units and 21 properties in its portfolio. MRK strives to make a difference in the lives of its residents and the surrounding communities. MRK believes in socially responsible development and an ongoing commitment to community services and growth.

Prior to founding MRK, Sydne acted as the Director of Operations for Standard Property Company, Inc., a full-service, multi-family real estate investment and management firm. She was responsible for the day-to-day operations including multi-family real estate acquisitions, financing, agency relationships, and asset management. Additionally, Sydne spent time working at SJM Partners, Inc., a development firm involved in multiple classes of real estate ranging from apartments, to mobile home parks, to retail, and student housing. With approximately 1M square feet of commercial real estate oversight, she aided all facets of revenue growth and expense control.

In her words: In my opinion, innovation is the key to exceptional affordable housing. Every morning, I wake up and strive to innovate in our industry.



Cathy is Director of Operations for MRK Partners. She works closely with Sydne to establish MRK’s strategy and to manage the business. Cathy influences MRK’s entire business and is directly responsible for overseeing all acquisitions and refinances.

Prior to MRK Partners, Cathy spent 11 years in banking, managing loan and deposit portfolios with a large percentage related to Commercial Real Estate. Cathy received her Bachelors of Arts in Economics from University of California Los Angeles.



Hai Nguyen is responsible for spearheading the identification and acquisition of affordable multifamily assets, sourcing debt and tax credit equity.

Hai has over a decade in the affordable industry and over his career he has been responsible for more than $325 million in multifamily acquisitions. Prior to joining MRK Partners, Hai spent eight years with the Tax Credit Group now known as CBRE Affordable Housing as Team Lead - Senior Financial Analyst and valued over $12 billion of affordable multifamily real estate during his tenure.

Hai earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration with a focus in Finance and Accounting from Oregon State University.



Bryan Russell is the Asset Manager for MRK Partners. His responsibilities include: overseeing all financial performance and operations of the MRK portfolio, analyzing current financials and business plans for each property, working directly with the property management team to maximize quality of service, monitoring activity reports, operational trends, and compliance-related matters.

Prior to MRK Partners, Bryan spent four years in corporate sales and account management for Hertz Global Holdings where he was responsible for managing a multi-million dollar territory.

Bryan received his Bachelors of Science in Financial Management from Salve Regina University.



Ben is a Project Associate at MRK Partners. He provides assistance with projects from start to finish – from initial acquisitions analysis and determination of financing structures to construction and asset management.

Ben previously spent three years as a Financial Analyst at CBRE Affordable Housing.

He obtained his Masters in Real Estate Development & Urbanism from the University of Miami, where he completed a capstone project detailing the history, current policy approaches, and emerging trends in affordable housing in the United States.



Michelle is an Asset Manager for MRK Partners. Her responsibilities include: overseeing operations, financial performance and maintaining business plans for each property in her portfolio. Michelle works directly with the property management team to maximize quality of service, monitoring activity reports, operation trends and compliance related matters.

Michelle also has a background in art so she is able to assist in logo design, finish selections and interior design opportunities within the MRK portfolio as they arise.

Prior to MRK Partners, Michelle lived in San Diego where she received a Bachelors of Arts in Graphic Design at San Diego State University.



Tiffany serves as a Construction Operations Specialist and works closely with the Vice President of Construction to provide oversite of the construction budget and draw funding for all projects under construction. Tiffany interfaces with lender and equity partners to coordinate capital fundings, and facilitates the final close out of projects.

Prior to MRK Partners, Tiffany spent seven years working in wealth management. Tiffany holds a Bachelor of Science in Business Management from the University of San Francisco and a Master of Business Administration from Pepperdine Graziadio Business School.

In her words: I love that we are a group of hard working and passionate individuals, from different walks of life with a common goal to change the world.


Financial Analyst

Kevin is a financial analyst at MRK Partners. He provides direct support to the acquisitions manager, and plays a key role in underwriting and analyzing new opportunities.  

Prior to MRK, Kevin worked in middle market investment sales in New York City, where he was responsible for sourcing and selling commercial property in the tri-state area.  

Kevin received his Bachelors of Arts in Psychology from Duke University, and a Master’s of Science in Real Estate Finance from New York University.

Shola Giwa

Director of Asset Management

As lead asset manager for MRK Partners, Shola is responsible for overall portfolio management and performance including assuring MRK’s affordable housing assets meet the requirements for underwriting milestones and achieves expected return on investment and ensures compliance with financial, contractual, legal and regulatory requirements.

Shola has deep and extensive experience in affordable housing asset and property management. Prior to joining MRK, Shola managed a portfolio of 40 plus housing, mixed-use and commercial developments valued at over $500M. In 2014 Shola was recognized by her colleagues in Southern California as the SCANPH Bright Light for her work in asset management. Shola is especially proud that she was nominated by site staff. Shola firmly believes in the double bottom line, that success in affordable housing should be measured not just by financial metrics but by the number of years we assure thriving households and sustainable communities.

Shola received a bachelor’s degree from the University of Southern California in International Relations with a minor in Economics. Shola serves on nonprofit affordable housing boards and GALS LA, a charter school.

Chelsey Raissen


Chelsey is the Controller for MRK Partners. She oversees accounting and finance functions and is responsible for the design and implementation of financial operational strategies, policies, and processes.  

While working in a combination of Big 4 public accounting and private industry, prior to joining MRK Partners, Chelsey gained diverse experience in real estate, financial services, technology, and consumer products industries.   

Chelsey is a licensed CPA and earned her Master’s Degree in Accounting from the University of Southern California. She also holds a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration with a minor in Consumer Behavior from USC.



Jeni oversees all construction activities for MRK Partners. Jeni aspires to Socially Responsible Development while leading teams through construction and capex projects whether rehabilitation or new construction. Her primary responsibilities include constant improvement in communication and processes for tax credit executions which often require complex coordination between multiple public and private stakeholders.

Jeni possesses 20 years of multidisciplinary experience ranging from ground up retail centers to value- add office to Affordable Housing development and general contracting for various asset classes. She has managed projects and teams in major markets across the US including New York City, San Francisco, Chicago and LA.

Jeni holds a Masters of Architecture as well as an MBA, both from Arizona State University. She finds the most rewarding part of her work is unifying development, design and construction groups to enhance quality of life for residents while at once building value for investors.

In her words: One of the many engaging things about MRK is the energy with which the entire team approaches the work we do. Besides being a fun atmosphere, we’re channeling that energy into proactive processes in a quest to be continually better.



Marc assists other members of the MRK team on a variety of projects, including investor fundraising and relations, financial reporting, recruiting, and corporate strategy while also participating on the company’s investment committee.

Marc’s background is in finance and wealth management. He is currently a co-founder and Principal at AdvicePeriod, an independent firm based in Los Angeles, where he provides financial advice to a number of families. While working at AdvicePeriod, Marc has continued to spend more time with MRK as he has gained greater appreciation for MRK’s mission and team.

He earned a Bachelor of Arts cum laude in Economics from Amherst College and an MBA cum laude from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. He also holds the Chartered Financial Analyst designation and is a member of the CFA Society of Los Angeles.

Carlee Chiate

Director of Resident Services

Carlee serves as Director of Resident Services. In collaboration with the asset management team and property management staff, she works to find creative ways to meet the needs of more than 11,000 residents.

Carlee has devoted the past 19 years of her career being of service to communities in need through working in the field of social work. Prior to joining MRK, she served as a clinical social worker in a variety of settings. Carlee provided clinical psychiatric treatment to children, adolescents, families, and groups in community mental health clinics, homes and schools. She also designed and implemented programs and activities, identified appropriate community resources, and collaborated with other agencies to best support her clients. Additionally, Carlee contributed to strategic business development through fundraising and program design.

Carlee is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) in the state California. She received her Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Arizona, with a focus in Family Studies and her Masters degree in Social Work from the University of Southern California, with a concentration in Families and Children.

In her words: I remember my first day at MRK like it was yesterday. I started on a day where there was a quarterly meeting. I recall Sydne starting that meeting by requesting full participation from everyone. She emphasized what a smart and innovative team we had. When Cathy spoke, she opened up her discussion expressing the importance of collaboration and communication. I quickly picked up on the emphasis of inclusiveness and value they had on everyone’s voice and ideas being heard. Another staff member led a full blown discussion with many team members sharing their ideas and reflecting on a beautiful learning opportunity. There was laughter and clear authenticity as people took responsibility for their choices, decisions and actions. I was smiling and crying on the inside knowing that I just joined a dynamic, adaptable, supportive and family-oriented team.