Director of Georgia Initiatives 

Odetta MacLeish-White is Director of Georgia Initiatives for the Center for Community Progress (Community Progress), America’s nonprofit leader for turning “Vacant Spaces into Vibrant Places.”

Odetta’s career in affordable housing and community development was ignited by her time working for a developer in Gainesville, Florida – an experience that taught her that it was possible to make beautiful housing accessible and affordable to everyone.

Over her twenty-year career, Odetta has worked in affordable housing development, policy, and financing. Most recently, she served as the Managing Director of the TransFormation Alliance, a partnership of nonprofits, government agencies, and businesses working to strengthen communities through transit in metro Atlanta.

Her career has evolved to include empowering residents and community members to influence development and funding processes that impact their neighborhoods.

Odetta’s thought leadership on racial equity and shaping better health, climate, and economic outcomes have been featured in local, national, and international publications.

Odetta is an alumna of Duke University School of Law where she received her Juris Doctorate and LLM in International Law. She earned her bachelor’s degree in English and American Literature and Language from Harvard-Radcliffe University. In 2018, she was a Salzburg Global Seminar Fellow in the “Building Healthy, Equitable Communities: The Role of Inclusive Urban Development and Investment” cohort. That experience culminated in the co-authorship of a statement on power and privilege in community development published by the Salzburg Global Seminar and the British Journal of Medicine.

Today, Odetta leverages her broad community development experience and a justice-centered framework to help meet the needs of residents, localities, and industry leaders who are partnering to fight property vacancy and deterioration in Georgia.

In addition to her work at Community Progress, MacLeish-White serves as Co-Chair of the Prioritizing Communities Work Group for the House ATL Initiative, and on the City of Atlanta’s Clean Energy Advisory Board. She also served on the board for the League of Women Voters of the United States Board of Directors from 2004-2008, and on the board of Georgia Advancing Communities Together (Georgia ACT) from 2013-2015.

Follow Odetta online at @OdettaMacLeishW on Twitter or LinkedIn. To connect with Odetta or learn more about Georgia Initiatives at Community Progress, email