One of ULI’s highest priorities is to increase the diversity of the Institute’s membership, staff, and the industry in general. A key program advancing this priority is the Women’s Leadership Initiative (WLI), which is committed to the advancement of women throughout their careers as leaders in the real estate industry, including professional development support for young females as leaders in ULI and their professions.
Since 2012, WLI has expanded steadily throughout the district council and national council networks, with a presence in 53 district and national councils in 10 countries. In fiscal year 2019, WLI chapters within district councils and national councils hosted 180 events, including a new program from WLI Michigan, “Build Up Breakfast Clubs,” which bring together small groups of women from throughout the state to build lasting relationships, engage meaningfully with women working in their field, and build strong networks within their regions. Participants in local Build Up Breakfast Clubs have demonstrated greater engagement with the Institute overall, and the program has brought in new ULI Michigan members.
Several WLI activities launched in fiscal year 2019 by district councils were made possible with grants awarded through the WLI Hines Innovation Grant program, which funds district council initiatives to raise the profile of and offer professional growth opportunities for female real estate professionals. Grant winners were ULI “Midwest,” consisting of WLI chapters in eight district councils (Kentucky, St. Louis, Indiana, Cincinnati, Kansas City, Nashville, Memphis, and Iowa) that are collaborating to establish a Midwestern Regional Development Summit for women; ULI Chicago, which is creating a multifaceted, scalable approach to enhance its ongoing work to promote women in real estate; ULI Cincinnati, which started a program involving WLI members working with housing organizations to address the lack of affordable housing in the metro area; ULI Tampa Bay, whose program involves WLI members helping connect low-income female workers to economic opportunity; and ULI Toronto, which launched “View from the Top,” a new webinar series created by WLI Toronto that features an interactive platform for participants to exchange ideas with ULI members across North America.
WLI also continued its partnership with Prologis to offer the prestigious and highly selective WLI Prologis Achievement Award, a scholarship program for female real estate professionals. The award program, created in 2015, recognizes female members’ contributions to ULI and their commitment to real estate and land use issues. Award recipients receive a complimentary registration to ULI’s Fall Meeting, as well as up to $2,000 in travel expenses. At the meeting, award recipients are hosted by senior WLI members at Product Council meetings as well as all WLI-related events. In 2018, 10 ULI members received the WLI Prologis Award:
– Valerie Becker, ULI Indiana, vice president, commercial real estate, the National Bank of Indianapolis;
– Annie Clark Cambria, ULI Louisiana, chief operating officer of education facilities development, Louisiana Recovery School District;
– Taylor Cooper, ULI Minnesota, development manager and development division operation leader, THOR;
– Amanda Janzen, ULI Minnesota, project manager, Schafer Richardson;
– Elizabeth Morrison, ULI Washington, senior vice president of capital markets, JBG SMITH;
– Navi Sandhu, ULI Chicago, assistant vice president, Fifield Companies;
– Kimberly Stephenson, ULI Kentucky, vice president of development, Marian;
– Meghan Webster, ULI Chicago, global education, civic + culture practice area leader, Gensler;
– Alison Wicks, ULI Northwest—Portland, senior project coordinator, Prosper Portland; and
– Sarah Zahn, ULI Northwest—Portland, director of development, ZRZ Realty.