National and international program offers commercial real estate (CRE) education, mentorship, and partnerships for diverse professionals (Courtesy photo)

The first-ever ULI/REAP (Urban Land Institute/Real Estate Associate Program) Virtual Fall Academy 2020 has launched with over 150 candidates enrolled in the live and on-demand program that runs through graduation on Friday, December 11, 2020.

The online academy is a collaboration between REAP, the nation’s leading and most successful initiative connecting professionals of color to commercial real estate (CRE) for over two decades, and ULI, a longtime REAP supporter and the oldest and largest network of cross-disciplinary real estate and land use experts in the world.

At the October 12 opening reception, Osayamen Asemota-Bartholomew, REAP chief program officer, welcomed the candidates who represent a mix of students accepted for the spring semester, postponed due to the pandemic, and new participants.

Noting that “REAP has been bridging the gap between talent and opportunity for 22 years” and has hosted successful programs in nine markets including NYC, Chicago, D.C., LA, Atlanta, Dallas and other leading cities, Bartholomew said that the Virtual Academy includes a far greater geographic distribution. Fall candidates live and work in several of the above-named urban centers and in Massachusetts, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Arizona and parts of Canada, Japan, and India.

She thanked ULI, an Executive Diamond sponsor, for its long-standing support and commitment and for helping to forge the new strategic partnership. The eight-week ULI/REAP Virtual Fall Academy offers a suite of on-demand courses, live webinars, and industry panel discussions, taught weekly by senior-level CRE experts and industry leaders.

Gwyneth Coté, president, Americas, ULI, also welcomed the incoming class saying, “We are committed to accelerating minority representation in the real estate industry. Our partnership with REAP on the Virtual Academy plays a key role in supporting this aim by providing high quality commercial real estate training to professionals from a diverse range of backgrounds. We hope that all of the participants will use their one-year complimentary ULI membership to meet people and access information that can help them advance their careers.”

Coté and other ULI team members outlined various ULI divisions of interest to REAP fellows such as the Women’s Leadership Initiative, the Young Leaders Group, NEXT (for 35-45-year-olds), and the Building Healthy Places Initiative.

ULI Executive VP Cindy Chance, in charge of Education Programs and Product Councils, explained that the Urban Plan program “brings good development practices into a community context.” Opening remarks were followed by a series of breakout rooms led by REAP alumni.

Odest T. Riley Jr, REAP-LA ‘15, CEO of WLM Financial, an Inglewood, California, brokerage and lending firm, told the candidates that he’d gained numerous connections nationwide through REAP. Advising all that CRE is “relationship-driven,” Riley urged participants to strategize wisely and cultivate relationships that “really resonate.”

Desiree Thomas, REAP-NYC ’17, founder, DPJ World LLC, told those in her breakout session that “REAP gave me the segue” to work in affordable housing. Thomas is currently co-chair of REAP-NYC.

National and international program offers commercial real estate (CRE) education, mentorship, and partnerships for diverse professionals (Courtesy photo)

ULI/REAP Academy classes will cover such topics as real estate development, site selection and land acquisition, finance and investment, emerging trends and Cap rates and provide an in-depth introduction to CRE terms, concepts, and processes seen from the perspective of industry insiders. The Academy lays the foundation to begin or transition a career into CRE or to expand knowledge in preparation for a potential career move.

In addition to the on-demand courses provided by ULI, REAP is hosting live webinars and virtual Happy Hour networking sessions featuring such speakers and sponsors as Lisa Gomez of L&M development; Buwa Binitie of Dantes Partners; Quick Mack/Walmart; Lisa Kerns and Dan Shallit of Starbucks; David Poline of Poline Associates; and Elaine Boyle of Flagship Healthcare Properties.

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