Synergy Spotlight: Meet Pat Byrnes, Development Advisor
The name Pat Byrnes is well-known throughout the Massachusetts affordable housing industry, and for good reason. Throughout her extremely tenured career, Pat has worked for many organizations throughout the Commonwealth, including the Springfield Redevelopment Authority, MassHousing, the Executive Office of Housing and Livable Communities (EOHLC), the Regional Housing Network of Massachusetts (RHN), and most recently, RCAP Solutions.
Born into a family who immigrated from Italy, Pat grew up in Springfield, Massachusetts. Although she has worked in other states on both the east and west coasts, Western Massachusetts has always been her home. Pat’s very first job was working in retail at a children’s clothing store while in high school. This sparked her love of retail, leading to an executive training opportunity with Filene’s, which, she explained, “set my career on fire.”
One of Pat’s earliest accomplishments was working as a property manager at a 160-unit affordable housing complex in Springfield. Pat was in her early 20’s when her work managing such a large complex got her noticed by industry leaders. She moved to Boston, which was “the big click” for her career in housing, she loved what it stood for and that, much like retail, many of the industry leaders were women.
Later, Pat was recruited by EOHLC and RHN to write the contract for the state’s Section 8 Homeownership Program. Upon completion of this project, Pat’s skills proved to be invaluable, and thus she was hired at RHN full-time. Pat worked there for 16 years, where she made strides assisting the nine Housing Consumer Education Centers (HCECs), hosting annual conferences, and working with legislators and advocates to ensure proper funding for affordable housing programs and developments across Massachusetts.
During her substantial time at RHN, Pat worked together with Maureen Fitzgerald, then-Executive Director of the organization, to ensure fair and equal treatment for the people we all collectively serve, as well as to uphold respect for the staff. These two female trailblazers brought the agency to where it is today – the forefront – and eventually positioned it for success under new leadership.
“For 16 years, I had the pleasure of working as a team with Pat Byrnes at the Regional Housing Network. Her efforts were woven into everything that the Network accomplished”, said Maureen, “Pat is one of the most mission-driven, smartest people I know in the housing industry. She is also one of the warmest, funniest, most generous people I know. RCAP Solutions is very lucky to have her on board!”
Pat reflected on her history at RHN, stating, “For me and for Maureen, it was a shared experience. Whatever one accomplished, was also the accomplishment of the other. We were kind of seamless.”
Pat has worked tirelessly with other industry leaders, including Nancy Rivera, Housing Advisor at RCAP Solutions, who said, “Pat and I have known each other for more than 40 years. During this time, I’ve had the pleasure of working and participating with Pat in a variety of projects and subcommittees. Her knowledge and expertise have been invaluable. She is such a wealth of information in the housing industry and is always willing to share. Pat is a very kind, caring, and loving person. She is very sympathetic and is willing to support causes by contributing her time or helping monetarily. Pat is not only my co-worker, but she has also been a true friend to me and many of us who know her.”
In late 2019, Pat joined RCAP Solutions as the Development Advisor and currently works extensively with the organization’s housing department and in support of grant-writing activities. She is always up for a challenge and ready to assist with any new project which lands in her inbox. Pat’s extensive experience, knowledge of the housing industry, and familiarity with the non-profit world has proven an integral resource for the many RCAP Solutions staff members who collaborate with her on a daily basis.
When asked what she is most passionate about, Pat said, “People having homes – people having keys to a door that nobody else has. That has been a driving force of mine for years.”
Pat is a member of the board of directors at Valley Community Development in Northampton. When she is not working to ensure people have safe homes, she is often working to ensure animals have safe homes – Pat is a volunteer at her local animal shelter. Pat is also an avid college basketball fan and currently enjoys rooting for the Providence Friars, an NCAA Division I team.
Brian Scales, President & CEO at RCAP Solutions remarked, “I have had the pleasure of knowing and working with Pat for a number of years. When she came to work at RCAP Solutions, she brought with her a wealth of knowledge and experience; she very quickly became a vital member of our team. I am extremely grateful for all of her input and can rely on her to accomplish anything put before her, including assisting in filling out March Madness brackets.”
Fun Facts About Pat:
- Hometown: Springfield, Massachusetts
- Favorite Book: Still Life by Louise Penny
- Favorite Movie: The Big Easy directed by Jim McBride
- Favorite Food: Anything Italian
- Favorite Musician: Tish Hinojosa (folk singer, songwriter, and guitarist)
- Historical Figure She’d Like to Meet: Josephine Baker (American-born French dancer, singer, actress, and civil rights activist)
- Place She’d Like to Travel to: Italy