Leadership Profile: Sarah Geis
Monday, October 29, 2018
Posted by: Emily Nilsen
Sarah Geis is the Vice President and Senior Relationship Manager for KeyBank Community Development Lending in Denver. Sarah has more than 15 years of experience in affordable multifamily housing lending, including four years as the Director of Lending for the Mile High Community Loan Fund, and 10 years as Vice President of Community Development Lending at U.S. Bank. She has worked on a wide variety of financing structures for affordable housing developments, including Low Income Housing Tax Credits, Historic Tax Credits, Private Placement and public bond offerings, and Credit Enhancements. Sarah served as the President of the Board of Directors of Community Resources and Housing Development Corporation for nine years, and served as a member of CHFA’s Tax Credit Advisory Group. She has a Bachelor’s Degree in English Literature and a Master’s Degree in Business Administration. Sarah is a Colorado native, and enjoys travel, music, reading and sports. Sarah is also a current member of Housing Colorado's membership committee.
Each month Housing Colorado profiles a member volunteer who serves on a committee or another volunteer opportunity. This profile features members who have shown great commitment to the mission of Housing Colorado.
How did you end up in affordable housing?
Completely by accident.
What do you enjoy most about your job?
I enjoy knowing that the work I do makes a positive impact in the lives of people who have not been as fortunate as I have been.
What is the most challenging part of your job?
Each project I work on is unique. There is nothing “cookie cutter” about financing an affordable development. I am constantly challenged with finding new solutions, new ways of doing things.
How did you get involved with Housing Colorado?
I have been involved with Housing Colorado for over 15 years. When I first started out in affordable housing, it was the best way to get to know people in the industry.
How do you currently serve Housing Colorado and what do you enjoy most about volunteering?
I currently serve on the Membership Committee. I enjoy engaging with other affording housing professionals, and sharing my experiences and the benefits of being a member of Housing Colorado, both personally and professionally.
What are some exciting progressions or projects currently going on in your work?
It is exciting to learn about the impact Opportunity Zones and Income Averaging will have on how affordable housing projects are financed.
What project, program or undertaking are you most proud of and why?
I have financed hundreds of affordable housing projects over the years, so it is difficult to pick one thing I am most proud of. I am proud of the work I do. When I have friends or family visiting from out of town, I often point out them projects I have worked on throughout the State, and tell them about the families that were positively impacted by the development.
What is the best career advice you have ever been given?
When you stop enjoying what you do, it is time to move on.
Who has been an instrumental mentor through your career so far or who do you look up to?
My first manger when I began my career in affordable housing. I knew nothing about lending, nothing about affordable housing. She was patient and encouraging, and encouraged me to stick with it even when I thought I was in over my head.
What website(s) do you find useful in your work?
I routinely use the CHFA website, Novogradac, LinkedIn
If you were given the chance to go on a vacation to any place of your choosing, where would you go and what would you do?
My favorite place in the world is Hawaii. I love being near the ocean. I find peace and serenity when I am on a beach or on the water.
What’s your favorite restaurant in Colorado?
The Fort in Morrison
What book are you currently reading? Are you enjoying it?
“Hippie” by Paulo Coelho. He is one of my favorite authors. I often find answers I didn’t realize I was looking for when I read his books.