APRIL 17, 2021
Register early and save!
Diversity in Commercial Real Estate (DCRE)™ is bringing you some of the top industry leaders, developers and professionals for our Virtual Summit on April 17, 2021!
This summit is focused on real estate development, financing, real estate investing, how to break into commercial real estate and more! DCRE is where diverse entrepreneurs and professionals come together to learn about commercial real estate!
*Attendees will have access to the replay for 60 days!
SPONSOR | SPEAK
DCRE SUMMIT TOPICS
FINANCING FOR YOUR DEALS
REAL ESTATE DEVELOPMENT
REAL ESTATE FINANCE
REAL ESTATE AND TECHNOLOGY
WOMEN IN REAL ESTATE
BREAKING INTO COMMERCIAL REAL ESTATE
DCRE VIRTUAL SUMMIT SCHEDULE
Diversity in Commercial Real Estate Virtual Summit
WELCOME AND OPENING REMARKS (10:00AM -10:05AM)
PANEL 1: IMPACT INVESTING IN REAL ESTATE (10:10AM -11:00AM)
Jeff Monge, Managing Partner, Monge Capital
Venroy July, Partner, Dickinson Wright PLLC
Blair Smith, Adjunct Professor of Real Estate, Columbia University (Graduate School of Business)
PANEL 2: DEVELOPMENT AND CONSTRUCTION (11:10AM - 12:00PM)
Ericka Keller, CEO, Managing Member, Brisa Builders Corp
Allan Suarez, COO / Principal, All Renovation Construction LLC & Founder, Newark Foundry Workspaces
Alexis McSween, Founder & CEO, Bottom Line Construction & Development, LLC
Desiree Thomas, Owner, Operator DPJ World LLC (moderator)
FIRESIDE CHAT 1: MALCOLM JOHNSON (12:10PM- 1:00PM)
Malcolm Johnson, Founder, CEO, Langdon Park Capital
Sonya Rocvil, Principal and Founder, Bedrock Real Estate Investors (moderator)
FIRESIDE CHAT 2: VICTOR MACFARLANE (1:10PM - 2:00PM)
Victor MacFarlane, Chairman, CEO, MacFarlane Partners
Robert Jefferson, Director, Housing Development, IMPACCT Brooklyn (moderator)
CLOSING REMARKS (2:00PM - 2:10PM)
Adeola Adejobi, Founder, Diversity in Commercial Real Estate and Avant-Garde Network
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Interested in sponsoring students to attend? Fill out the form HEREStudents that would like to request a ticket should fill out the form HEREThank you for joining us in our mission to create more diversity in the commercial real estate industry!
This ticket level is for employers that are paying for their tickets on behalf of their employees, or attendees who will be reimbursed for their ticket by their company.
DCRE loves to support college and grad students interested in CRE! You must register using your .edu email address for this ticket option.
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Victor MacFarlane is Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of MacFarlane Partners, a real estate investment management and development firm he
founded in 1987 that acquires, develops and manages properties on behalf
of institutional investors and its own account. He has primary
responsibility for the firm’s investment management and development
activities, chairs its investment committee and serves on its senior
Victor has more than 40 years of real estate experience, and has worked
extensively in property development, acquisitions, asset management and portfolio management on behalf of some of the world’s largest pension plans and institutions. Under his leadership, MacFarlane Partners pioneered the urban investment concept among institutional real estate managers in the 1990s and today is an industry leader in urban/smart-growth development. Through its urban real estate program, the firm has invested in $13 billion in properties totaling eight million square feet of commercial space and 15,000 multifamily housing units in major markets nationwide.
Victor began his real estate career with Aetna Life & Casualty Company, where he helped acquire and manage more than $1 billion in real estate assets. He later developed and managed, for his own account, an award-winning apartment community in Denver.
In 1996, he sold the $2 billion core separate-account investment management business of MacFarlane Partners to GE Capital and then served for three years as chief executive officer of GE Capital Investment Advisors. He also spearheaded initiatives in Asia, Mexico and Eastern Europe for GE Capital Real Estate, an affiliate with $20 billion in real estate assets worldwide.
At the end of his contractual commitment in 1999, he resigned from GE Capital and began rebuilding MacFarlane Partners as an investment manager focusing on urban properties and other high-yielding investments that, at its peak, managed $20 billion in real estate assets. The firm in recent years has refocused itself as a real estate operating and development company, while maintaining its urban investment management business.
Victor is a past recipient of a Distinguished Business Leadership Award from the USC School of Architecture; a Lifetime Achievement Award and the 2008 Executive of the Year Award from the Greater Los Angeles African American Chamber of Commerce; the National Inner City Economic Leadership Award from the Initiative for a Competitive Inner City; the Trailblazer Achievement Award from the Global Diversity Summit, and a Distinguished Alumni Award from the Joseph M. Katz Graduate School of Business at the University of Pittsburgh. He also holds an honorary doctor of law degree from the University of the District of Columbia.
Victor serves on the boards of directors of Site Centers Corp. and the Real Estate Executive Council; the advisory board of the Robert Toigo Foundation; and the board of advisors for the UCLA School of Law. He also is a member and former director of the Pension Real Estate Association; a member and former trustee of the Urban Land Institute; and a member of the Association of Foreign Investors in Real Estate, the International Council of Shopping Centers, and the World Presidents Organization.
Victor holds a juris doctor degree from the University of California, Los Angeles; a master’s degree in business administration from the University of Pittsburgh; and a bachelor’s degree in university studies from the University of New Mexico.
Ericka Keller truly has a heart for community development and revitalization. Attending school on full academic scholarships and graduating Magna Cum Laude, Ericka earned her Bachelors of Arts, Master of Science and Professional Certification degrees from New York University, Brooklyn College, and the College of St. Rose, respectively. Ericka commenced her career as a junior high school teacher and served 10 years as NYC Department of Education Principal before taking over the family business of construction and development in 2012.
Ericka built upon Brisa Builders Corporation’s history as a HUD 202 General Contractor building senior housing for faith-based sponsors and in 2016 opened her own company Brisa Builders Development LLC, an organization focused on the development of affordable housing with faith-based organizations and church partners. Since the company’s inception, they currently have 436 units of affordable housing under construction and another 958 units in the pipeline, all with faith-based partners. The company was also the selected developer for the NYC Department of Housing Preservation and Development’s Brownsville RFP- Site B in 2018. Ericka has received several awards and citations during the course of both of her careers including, the 2009 Queens Rotary Club “Unsung Hero Award” 2010 NYS Senate “Constituent of the Month Citation ”, 2012 National Association of Professional Women (NAPW) “Woman of the Year Award” the 2015 Mayor Hall -Village of Hempstead “Woman of the Year Award ”, and several recognitions and awards from non- profit and for profit affordable housing colleagues.
Malcolm Johnson is the Founder and CEO of Langdon Park Capital, a real estate investment management company that sources opportunities and creates value through local expertise, strategic relationships with development partners and corporate tenants and a deep understanding of the communities in which its real estate investments are located. Mr. Johnson directs the overall strategy and operations of Langdon Park Capital.
Mr. Johnson has 16 years of experience in the commercial real estate industry. Previously, he was an Executive Director in JPMorgan’s Commercial Real Estate group, where he led the firm’s efforts on a new platform that deployed equity into affordable and workforce housing projects in markets across the country. Mr. Johnson joined JPMorgan in 2012 as the senior coverage banker in the firm’s Real Estate Banking group in Los Angeles, where he underwrote and arranged $3 billion in debt financing for institutional real estate developers and investment firms. From 2006-2012, Mr. Johnson was a vice president in the Commercial Real Estate Banking group at Bank of America Merrill Lynch. Prior to his banking career, Johnson played professional football with the Cincinnati Bengals, New York Jets and Pittsburgh Steelers from 1999-2003.
Mr. Johnson has been a guest lecturer for the Tepper School of Business at Carnegie Mellon University, UCLA Anderson School of Business, University of Southern California Marshall School of Business, the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, the National Football League and numerous schools and non-profit organizations in South Los Angeles and his native Washington, DC.
Mr. Johnson serves on the Sustaining Board for the UCLA Ziman Center for Real Estate, Advisory Board for the Fitzgerald Institute for Real Estate at the University of Notre Dame, Board of Trustees for the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County and the Corporate Advisory Board for The Brotherhood Crusade, a non-profit organization supporting low-income South Los Angeles residents.
Mr. Johnson received his Masters in Business Administration from the Tepper School of Business at Carnegie Mellon University and his Bachelors of Business Administration from the University of Notre Dame Mendoza College of Business.
As Principal and COO of Harlem based All Renovation Construction LLC (AR CONSTRUCTION) Allan serves to initiate new business relationships with prime general contractors, city economic developers, end users and financial institutions to collectively merge business interests into successful construction projects or real estate developments. Allan is the Founder of the Newark Foundry Workspaces - a company dedicated to real estate development in Newark New Jersey whose philosophy seeks the revitalization of unique properties through authentic and differentiated projects. Allan holds a Bachelor of Arts in Communications from Boston University and graduated from the Turner School of Construction Management. In 2020 Allan graduated from the Columbia University Community Business Program (CCBP) - an executive education program for small business owners aligned with the core curriculum of the MBA program at Columbia Business School.
Alexis McSween is the Founder and CEO of Bottom Line Construction & Development, LLC (BLCD). A 100% woman- and minority-owned construction and development company, BLCD embodies the ingenuity, grit and grace that characterizes Alexis’ life.
Alexis brings over eighteen years of practical and professional experience—twelve of which are in real estate development and construction, including public works—to cultivating community. She combines human centric-community development, entrepreneurial problem solving and hard core real estate development and construction management. In doing so, BLCD is able to fulfill market demand, minimize financial risk, leverage transferrable models and maximize municipal incentives while making a broader and lasting impact.
At age 24, she acted on her passion in real estate after she sought funding (a SonyMae loan), purchased and renovated her first multi-family unit in Queens, NY. She also owned the end-to-end life cycle development and construction of a $7 million 7-unit boutique condominium development named “Baldwin Park” in honor of Harlem poet and author James Baldwin. While earning her Master’s, she worked as a project manager for a WBE* construction and management firm located in Harlem on public projects to tune of ~$4 million.
A key element of her approach to cultivating community is identifying talent potential from the communities Alexis works with and connecting them more broadly to her networks. From design, architecture and engineering to trades to management and leadership, Alexis is recognized for developing talent who are also aligned to the core values of respect, collaboration, accountability and professionalism. This approach not only enhances the quality and value of the work BCLD does, it contributes to the community’s social and economic vitality and resilience. In her words, “grit.”
Alexis also practiced nursing full-time for 13 years—she remains an RN to this day, sometimes donning her RN hat when needed—and was also a first responder having been an EMT with New York City Fire Department. She made her foray into real estate while she served as a nurse in various communities in the Greater New York area. An eclectic professional background no doubt, but when she speaks about her commitment to cultivating community, the common threads of service, quality and hard work shine throughout.
Alexis has a Master of Science in Real Estate Development, minoring in Construction Management from New York University’s Shack Real Estate Institute. She also holds a Bachelor’s degree in Organizational Management and is affiliated with several professional organizations.
Today, Alexis is leading a $6.3 million Tier 1 construction management project in Harlem—The Victoria, a 28-story mixed use complex. She is also pursuing strategic real estate development and construction opportunities that share her community ethos.
Jeff Monge is the Managing Partner of Monge Capital, a Latino-owned firm focused on providing advisory services and capital solutions for complex large-scale business and real estate projects that provide investor market returns and community social impacts. Jeff is also a co-founder of Open Access, an initiative created by advocates in the NMTC industry to increase diverse representation in community development finance.
Under Monge Capital, Jeff has closed over $1.5 billion of complex structured finance transactions creating thousands of construction and permanent jobs as well as an array of services for unserved communities nationally. Monge Capital leverages its economic development and private equity experience with a strong knowledge of urban development and real estate finance to maximize results for clients. Monge Capital has extensive expertise in direct equity investing and the usage of a variety of City, State, and Federal financing programs including a niche focus on New Markets Tax Credit, Historic Tax Credit, Opportunity Zones, and flexible financing options. In 2018, Monge Capital participated in closing one of the first Opportunity Zone transactions in the country. While principally Monge Capital speaks to the needs of their clients including developers, operating businesses, nonprofits, and municipalities, Monge Capital participates in direct investing as well.
Prior to founding MCG, Jeff was Senior Vice President & Principal for Urban America, L.P., a $520 million real estate investment fund focused on acquiring and developing commercial real estate in underserved urban markets. During his 10-year tenure, he was the primary investment originator which led to a portfolio of over $2 billion. Additionally, Jeff spearheaded the creation and management of a Community Development Entity (CDE) to apply for Federal New Market Tax Credits (NMTC). As a result, Jeff was able to secure approximately $200 million in NMTC allocation (winning 4 out of 5 rounds) creating a portfolio of over 3450M in leveraged real estate transactions utilizing an array of public and private financing. At the time, the CDE was within the top 10 percentile of allocation under management in the nation.
Blair C. Smith is the Founder and CEO of Promethean AB Strategies LLC, a strategic consultancy focused on helping diverse Asset Managers and investors achieve their goals. He has 15+ years experience in the capital markets arena, leading the creation of strategies, plans and budgets that span industries, marketplace, and customers.
Blair is the former Chief Investment Officer for the Upper Manhattan Empowerment Zone Development Corporation. His responsibilities included providing leadership in structuring, negotiating and closing of loans and investments, and oversight of credit policies. In addition, Blair identified market opportunities and developed new finance strategies in furtherance of UMEZ’s mission.
Prior to founding Promethean AB Strategies, Blair was responsible for co-managing a $5.2 billion Emerging Manager investment portfolio, within the State of New York Common Retirement Fund. The program has both traditional and alternative asset class strategies including: real estate, private equity, public equity, hedge funds and opportunistic. He actively evaluated and conducted research for new investment vehicles/platforms that can strategically implement the long-term goals of the portfolio and provide risk adjusted returns.
Blair also collaborated with consultants, advisors, investment teams and legal counsel in preparing and evaluating RFP/RFI’s for manager searches. He participated in selecting and interviewing managers/advisors and in negotiating limited partnership agreements. He was responsible for establishing and maintaining up-to-date policies and procedures and developing asset allocation strategies for the program to ensure consistency and efficiency in the operations.
In addition, Blair served for over 10 years as a client relationship manager with the Connecticut and New York City Wealth Management teams at top tier banks.
Blair received his B.S. in Journalism from Morgan State University where he was a 2 year ROTC scholar and his M.B.A. in Finance from Columbia University. He is a member of the Real Estate Executive Council and is a 2019 Council of Urban Professionals (CUP) Finance Catalyst recipient. Blair was featured in Pension and Investments magazine discussing ESG. Over the last 10 years, he has been an adjunct lecturer with the School of Continuing Studies at Baruch College, and NYU and recently an adjunct professor at Columbia University Graduate School of Business. He has lectured in Principles of Finance, Global Marketing, Impact Investing in Real Estate and Executive Leadership. He is on the Board of the Arthur Ashe Institute for Urban Health, the Baltimore Afro-American Newspapers and Afro Charities.
Blair lives with his wife and two children in Scarsdale, NY.
Sonya Rocvil is the Principal and Founder of Bedrock Real Estate Investors, a privately-owned real estate company, specializing in the acquisitions and asset management of multifamily apartments in the United States. With over 15 years of experience within the financial services industry, she has syndicated multifamily deals totaling 374 units and valued at $18.6m. She has also been an equity partner for multifamily investments totaling 438 units and valued at $28.7m.
Sonya has been a speaker on Podcasts and Live Webinars including: The Level Up REI Podcast, The Real Estate Syndication Show, Real Estate Investor Goddesses Podcast, the Bisnow Multifamily Tri-state Digital Summit, the Commercial Observer 4th Annual Women in Real Estate Forum, Pretty Girls Love Real Estate, the Women of Color and Capital Summit and the Diversity in Commercial Real Estate Summit.
Sonya began her career as an auditor and later transitioned to finance at a Fortune 500 Company. Her depth of knowledge in business analytics and strategic implementations that drive growth, has made her successful in acquiring and operating multifamily properties.
Sonya is an Adjunct Instructor for the NYU School of Professional Studies and serves as Treasurer of the Council of Urban Real Estate. She is also an active member of her local merchant association. Sonya holds a Master of Business Administration from Baruch College, Zicklin School of Business and a Bachelor of Science in Accounting from Rutgers University. She is also a graduate of Project REAP (Real Estate Associate Program). Sonya is a Certified Public Accountant and Licensed Real Estate Agent in the State of New York.
Albert Odjidja serves as Executive Vice President at McKissack and has 30 years of experience in the construction industry. Since joining McKissack in 2006, he has led more than $1 billion in construction, including healthcare, education and institutional projects. Albert began his career at McKissack serving as Senior Project Manager for the new $185 million, 194,000 SF School of Science, Health and Technology Building at Medgar Evers College for the Dormitory Authority of the State of New York, which won the 2012 Brooklyn Building Award by Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce. He also served as Senior Project Manager for NYC Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC)/NYC Health+Hospitals (H+H)) Henry J. Carter Specialty Skilled Nursing Facility, a new six-story building which was part of the overall $285 million project.
Currently, Albert serves as Project Executive for several McKissack projects, including the $150 million NYCEDC CM Retainer contract and the $800 million NYCEDC/H+H Coney Island Hospital Campus Renovation project.
Albert earned a bachelor’s degree in architecture and urban planning from the University of Maryland.
Robert Merrill Jefferson is a son, father, husband, entrepreneur, real estate developer, reality television actor, author, community advocate and business leader that was born in New York, New York. Currently, Robert is the Director - Housing Development for IMPACCT Brooklyn, where he leads the company’s efforts to develop and preserve affordable housing. Previously, Robert founded Merrill Jefferson Enterprises LLC, a private real estate investment company that syndicated Multi-Family investments across many US markets. Robert has held corporate finance roles at several fortune 500 companies including Procter & Gamble, Walt Disney and American Express.
Robert is a graduate of Hampton University (BA-Accounting) and UNC Chapel Hill (MBA-Real Estate Development). For the past 10 years, Robert has served on the Board of Directors of Brick by Brick, a non-profit that supports underserved communities in Uganda. Robert is a member of the CALIBR leadership development organization and is a member of the Council of Urban Real Estate.
Desiree Thomas, is currently the Owner and Operator of DPJ World LLC. She is recognized in the industry as an astute finance professional with experience in real estate investing, corporate and investment banking, and business development. Prior to launching DPJ World LLC, she was Vice President, Operations with Wilder Balter Partners focused on affordable housing development. She previously served as Deputy Director with New York City Housing Preservation and Development where she was responsible for executing Mayor de Blasio's affordable housing plan.
She owns and manages a portfolio of residential and mixed-use properties in New York. Formerly, she was a member of the Business Development and Investor Relations team at Archimedes Alpha LLC and served as Senior Vice President of the Financial Institutions Group at J.P. Morgan. In addition, Desiree owned and operated two Little Caesars franchises where she was responsible for site selection and operations.
In addition to her professional career, Desiree serves on the board of Unique People Services and the Bronx YMCA. She holds an MBA from The Wharton School where she was a Robert Toigo Fellow. She is also a graduate of the General Management Program at Harvard Business School and is a 2017 graduate of Project REAP. She was also selected as a participant in the 2021 Inaugural Open Access Fellowship Program where she is working with TruFund Financial Services with a focus on New Market Tax Credit Financing.
Venroy July is a partner in the corporate practice group of Dickinson Wright PLLC. Based in the Baltimore office, Mr. July’s practice includes a wide range of corporate and finance matters, with a particular focus on mergers and acquisitions, and general corporate counseling. He has written extensively on the power and potential of Opportunity Zones, as well as other capital raising mechanisms. He has been named to the Best Lawyer list, and as a Who’s Who in Law by the Baltimore Business Journal. In addition to his legal career, Mr. July is a real estate investor in the city of Baltimore, and utilizes many of the capital raising mechanisms that he writes about to facilitate his real estate investment. He received his Bachelor of Arts degrees in Political Science and Economics from the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, where he was a Morehead Scholar, and his J.D. from the Duke University School of Law. He has been recognized for his other efforts within the community by being named to the Baltimore Business Journal’s 40 Under 40 class of 2014, the Black Business Review’s 40 Under 40 Class of 2017, a Warnock Fellow for the Class of 2017, and with the Leadership in the Law Award by the Daily Record, as well as other awards.