“If you know what to ask for, it helps.”
Anne Mannix’s leadership focuses on building “alliances and making relationships with people.” Anne identifies herself as a “housing activist” in her own way, and evidence of her leadership can be seen throughout the neighborhoods of the Michiana area.
Anne began her career as social worker. She stepped away after realizing that she was “a pawn in the system” and felt she was unable to contribute to significant change. She returned to school to study planning and development. As the only woman in her program, Anne said “it wasn’t possible for me not to do it” and that she “had to learn to do it all.” While the men in her program could take it easy, Anne was regularly working and learning.
After completing her program of study, Anne worked as the Development Manager for South Bend Heritage Foundation. While Anne enjoyed this work, she desired more autonomy in and control over her life. Anne used her initiative to become an entrepreneur and opened her own business. Since opening Neighborhood Development Associates in 1999, Anne has helped create affordable housing developments and community projects throughout the Michiana area. Evidence of her hard work can be seen at West Washington Place, Robertson’s Apartments, Heritage Homes South East, and the Mutual Homes Co-Op.
One of Anne’s guiding questions is “how do you work with people so they can listen?” She combines this commitment to constant reflection with creating alliances and finding good people to work with. Anne is currently putting these philosophies into practice by working with City Council Member Regina Williams Preston to build 100 affordably priced homes in 500 days.
Anne feels that class and the growing lack of affordable housing are some of the biggest issues facing the South Bend area today. Keeping this in mind, Anne keeps moving forward. She tries to remember that “little things happen, but you don’t let it get you down.”
Information compiled from oral history collected by the Michiana Women Leaders Project
Anne was a 2017 CMWL honoree.