Building Diversity in Chicago’s Commercial Real Estate Community

According to the Real Estate Associate Program, the commercial real estate industry’s professional ranks have less than one percent minority leadership at management levels – less than 1,000 people in an industry comprised of more than 125,000 professionals.

Given this reality, BOMA/Chicago has long been focused on building diversity within Chicago’s commercial real estate industry and beyond. As our diversity vision states, “We envision an industry that in spirit and in practice promotes diversity and is comprised of professionals that mirror the community that we serve.”

To celebrate and promote progress toward this vision, last week, more than 200 commercial real estate industry leaders and influencers gathered at our annual BOMA/Chicago Diversity Celebration.

BOMA/Chicago’s Diversity & Corporate Social Responsibility Committee at the Diversity Celebration

BOMA/Chicago’s Diversity & Corporate Social Responsibility Committee at the Diversity Celebration

Held this year at the Pritzker Military Library located in the Monroe Building, the Diversity Celebration is the biggest event recognizing and honoring diversity in Chicago’s CRE industry. The event is also held to bestow the annual Reginald L. Ollie Inclusion and Outreach Scholarship (also known as the Ollie Scholarship).

Named after Reggie Ollie – who devoted more than 10 years to BOMA/Chicago as chair of the Diversity Committee and still shows his support today – the Ollie Scholarship was created eight years ago to recognize and develop minority leaders in the CRE industry. The scholarship provides full course tuition to achieve the Real Property Administrator (RPA) designation, the industry gold standard.

This year, the Ollie Scholarship was proudly presented to Kristine Sorenson, real estate services administrator at 100 North Riverside Plaza for CBRE. Kristine has already achieved much success in her career and is poised to be a long-standing leader in Chicago’s CRE community.

Reggie Ollie presenting Kristine Sorenson with the 2013 Ollie Scholarship

Reggie Ollie presenting Kristine Sorenson with the 2013 Ollie Scholarship

The event included an impressive silent auction, a grand prize raffle, networking and a lot of socializing among BOMA/Chicago members, including both veteran and emerging industry leaders.

The goal was to raise $25,000 to fund future scholarships and diversity initiatives – however, the event far exceeded this by collecting a record-breaking $35,000! This marks another important step in building and promoting diversity through the industry on the local, national and global level.

Thank you to all who attended this year’s Diversity Celebration, it was a fantastic event for a worthy cause. A special thank you to all the sponsors who helped make the night a success, including our Platinum Sponsor: The Monore Building, our Gold Sponsors:  300 East Randolph, Air Comfort, Jones Lang LaSalle, MMPI and Tishman Speyer and our Silver Sponsors: ABM Industries, Arrow Messenger Service, Behringer Harvard, Boyer-Rosene Moving & Storage, Canine Detection & Inspection Services, CBRE, Environmental Systems Design, Golub Realty Services, Harvard Maintenance, Independent Recycling Services, The John Buck Company, Kimberly Clark Professional, Means Knaus Partners, The Monadnock Building, Phoenix Systems and Service, Piedmont Office Realty Trust, Premier Security Corporation, Strata Contractors, Syska Hennessy Group, Triangle Decorating Company.

About BOMA/Chicago

The voice of Chicago's office building industry since 1902.
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