Project REAP Taps the Power of Real Estate Networking

Project REAP is an education program dedicated to increasing diversity in commercial real estate. The acronym stands for Real Estate Associate Program, which incorporates mentorship and networking. Late last month, the organization held its inspiring Trade Night and Networking Reception in New York City for its students. 

(Kadaicia-Loi Dunkley (left) is a current REAP NYC student and a GWIM analyst with Bank of America, N.A.
Kaylin Whittingham is a current REAP NYC student and an attorney at her own law firm (Whittingham Law) that focuses on immigration law. Image: Carlos Escobar)

 

“What other educational program brings these extraordinary organizations together for an unparalleled opportunity to network, learn, and find your own niche in commercial real estate?” G. Lamont Blackstone, board chair of Project REAP, asked the crowd rhetorically during the evening, according to a statement.

Students also mingled with representatives from key industry trade associations. JPMorgan Chase & Co., one of REAP’s corporate sponsors, hosted the evening at one of its midtown offices.

((L – R) Ken McIntyre, Interim Executive Director, Project REAP; REAP founder, Mike Bush; Associate Program Director, REAP, Osayamen Bartholomew; G. Lamont Blackstone, REAP board chair.  Image: Carlos Escobar)

 

Organizations represented at the event included NYS Association for Affordable Housing, Commercial Real Estate Development Association, the Urban Land Institute, and the International Council of Shopping Centers.

 

The following quotes were taken from a statement.

 

REAP’s founder, Mike Bush, said that networking is critical to real estate success. He later added, “The industry needs talent…. REAP introduces talent to opportunity.”

 

Allan Suarez, COO of All Renovation Construction L.L.C. and CEO and co-founder, Newark Foundry, said of REAP, “It really helps introduce [us] to organizations … that can expand our horizons.”

 

Kadaicia-Loi Dunkley, GWIM analyst at Bank of America, N.A., said, “This helps me envision … my future in real estate.”

 

Alcide King, a seventh-year associate with Willkie Farr & Gallagher L.L.P., said, “Networking is part of the secret sauce.”

 

Desiree Thomas, financial professional with Archimedes Alpha, called it a “phenomenal” occasion to meet movers and shakers “instrumental to the progress of diversity in commercial real estate.”

 

Jocelyn Moore, senior VP public policy and government affairs with the NFL and a REAP student who commutes to classes from Washington, D.C., made a trenchant observation: “It’s not who you know, it’s what you do with who you know.”

For more about Project REAP, visit its website.