Executive Director Allona Lane Cross
As the Executive Director, Allona oversees the GCEO, which is a state agency charged with the mission to protect individuals from discrimination in employment and housing by enforcing the Georgia Fair Employment Practices Act and the Georgia Fair Housing Law. Since 2019, Allona has led the agency towards favorable growth throughout the state, she has developed statewide initiatives to promote inclusive communities and workplaces, developed innovative solutions to enhance the agency's services, amended the Georgia Fair Housing Act to make it substantially equivalent to the federal Fair Housing Act, and renewed the agency’s interim certification and longstanding partnership with the U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development (HUD) bringing an abundance of federal resources to the state.
Prior to becoming the Executive Director, Allona was named Deputy Director of the agency where she served as second in command. As Deputy Director, she assisted the Executive Director in the administration & coordination of the agency in the areas of operations, administration, financial management, information technology, compliance, and investigations. Prior to becoming the Deputy Director, Allona served the State of Georgia for over a decade in varied leadership roles at GCEO. Those roles included Director of Fair Housing, Senior Compliance Officer, Communications Officer, and Mediator for the agency.
Allona has worked in the fair housing and affordable housing fields for over a decade. Prior to joining the GCEO, she served as a Housing Specialist for the Birmingham Housing Authority in Birmingham, Alabama. Her passion for equal opportunity, fair housing, and inclusion is fueled from a long family history of real estate entrepreneurship. Allona helps manage her family’s real estate & development company which has been established for over 60 years and has cemented itself as a historical entity in Mississippi within the local community.
Allona is well-versed in regulation interpretation and is a subject matter expert in the fields of fair housing compliance and investigations. She loves working in the public sector and shares a remarkable vision for the future of “Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing.” She regularly conducts seminars covering a variety of fair housing topics to educate constituents on fair housing laws and provides technical training to regulated industry personnel at the local, state, and national levels.
In 2021, Allona was awarded the Metro Fair Housing Freedom Award for her consummate leadership in advancing the Georgia Commission on Equal Opportunity’s (GCEO) mission and vision. Allona was also nominated and selected as a 2022 Moxie Award Finalist by the Gwinnett Chamber of Commerce.
Allona is a native of West Point, Mississippi. She earned a bachelor’s degree in paralegal studies from the University of Mississippi, and a master’s degree in public administration from the University of Alabama at Birmingham. Allona is a member of the University of Mississippi’s Alumni Association, the American Society for Public Administration, the Upsilon Omega Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated, the Junior League of Gwinnett and North Fulton., and a lifetime member of the Golden Key International Honour Society and the Pi Alpha Alpha Honor Society. Allona was selected for Leadership Gwinnett’s Class of 2022, the organization’s 36th annual class. She also serves on various boards and councils, which include the Salvation Army of Gwinnett’s Advisory Council, Advisory Board Member for the Gwinnett County Public Schools’ Community-Based Mentoring Program, the Board
Chair for College Equipped, Inc., a program committee member for Wellroot Family Services, and a member of the Architectural Review Committee for the Wheatfield Reserves community.
She is an active figure in the Grayson, Georgia community where she volunteers within various organizations and resides with her Husband, Regis, twin sons, Collin & Carter, and daughter, Peyton.