2021 SPEAKERS

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BABATUNDE P. ODUBEKUN

Commissioner, Newark Housing Authority

Babatunde P. Odubekun currently serves as a Commissioner on the Newark Housing Authority, the largest public housing authority in the State of New Jersey, and the eleventh largest in the United States.

In addition to his board service, Babatunde is associated with the Newark based law firm Genova Burns LLC, where he is a member of the firm's Corporate Law & Business Transactions, Intellectual Property, Commercial Real Estate & Redevelopment, Cannabis and Corporate Political Activity practice groups.

Babatunde holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics from Rutgers University, and a Juris Doctor from Rutgers Law School, where he served as editor-in-chief of the Rutgers Computer and Technology Law Journal.Babatunde also serves as Trustee and Corporate Secretary of the Newark Print Shop, a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting the fine art of printmaking.

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BABATUNDE P. ODUBEKUN

Commissioner, Newark Housing Authority

Babatunde P. Odubekun currently serves as a Commissioner on the Newark Housing Authority, the largest public housing authority in the State of New Jersey, and the eleventh largest in the United States.

In addition to his board service, Babatunde is associated with the Newark based law firm Genova Burns LLC, where he is a member of the firm's Corporate Law & Business Transactions, Intellectual Property, Commercial Real Estate & Redevelopment, Cannabis and Corporate Political Activity practice groups.

Babatunde holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics from Rutgers University, and a Juris Doctor from Rutgers Law School, where he served as editor-in-chief of the Rutgers Computer and Technology Law Journal.Babatunde also serves as Trustee and Corporate Secretary of the Newark Print Shop, a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting the fine art of printmaking.

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BABATUNDE P. ODUBEKUN

Commissioner, Newark Housing Authority

Babatunde P. Odubekun currently serves as a Commissioner on the Newark Housing Authority, the largest public housing authority in the State of New Jersey, and the eleventh largest in the United States.

In addition to his board service, Babatunde is associated with the Newark based law firm Genova Burns LLC, where he is a member of the firm's Corporate Law & Business Transactions, Intellectual Property, Commercial Real Estate & Redevelopment, Cannabis and Corporate Political Activity practice groups.

Babatunde holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics from Rutgers University, and a Juris Doctor from Rutgers Law School, where he served as editor-in-chief of the Rutgers Computer and Technology Law Journal.Babatunde also serves as Trustee and Corporate Secretary of the Newark Print Shop, a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting the fine art of printmaking.

Babatunde Odubekun.jpg

BABATUNDE P. ODUBEKUN

Commissioner, Newark Housing Authority

Babatunde P. Odubekun currently serves as a Commissioner on the Newark Housing Authority, the largest public housing authority in the State of New Jersey, and the eleventh largest in the United States.

In addition to his board service, Babatunde is associated with the Newark based law firm Genova Burns LLC, where he is a member of the firm's Corporate Law & Business Transactions, Intellectual Property, Commercial Real Estate & Redevelopment, Cannabis and Corporate Political Activity practice groups.

Babatunde holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics from Rutgers University, and a Juris Doctor from Rutgers Law School, where he served as editor-in-chief of the Rutgers Computer and Technology Law Journal.Babatunde also serves as Trustee and Corporate Secretary of the Newark Print Shop, a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting the fine art of printmaking.

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JAMES SIMMONS III

Managing Partner & CEO, Asland Capital Partners

James Simmons III is CEO and Managing Partner at Asland Capital Partners where he serves as the head of the investment committee. James has over two decades of experience in real estate investment throughout the United States as well as New York City including specifically in Upper Manhattan where he is both a resident and pillar of the community. At Asland, he runs the day to day operations where he focuses on sourcing and structuring transactions through his deep relationships across the public and private sectors. Prior to joining Ares Management in 2013 as a Partner, Mr. Simmons was a Partner at AREA Property Partners and Apollo Real Estate Advisors.Prior to joining Apollo, he led the Upper Manhattan Empowerment Zone as President and CEO and had tenures at Salomon Smith Barney, Bankers Trust and General Electric.

 

Mr. Simmons holds a B.S. from Princeton University in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, an M.S. from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University in Systems Engineering, and an MBA from the Northwestern University J.L. Kellogg Graduate School of Management in Finance and Marketing.

Mr. Simmons serves as a director on the following boards - Princeton University National Annual Giving Committee – Vice Chair; Real Estate Executive Council – Vice Chair; Helen Keller International; Princeton Alumni Real Estate Network; Kellogg Finance Network and The Centennial Campaign for The Dalton School. 

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GEORGE SCOTT 

Senior Real Estate Investment Officer, New York Common Fund

George Scott is a Senior Real Estate Investment Officer at the New York Common Fund. He is primarily responsible for sourcing, structuring, negotiating and monitoring equity investments on behalf of New York Common with both domestic and global fund managers, joint venture partners, operators and sponsors across various property types. Prior to joining New York Common, George was the Director of Capital Markets at Urban Investment Partners, a small real estate investment management firm based in Washington, DC. Before joining Urban Investment Partners.

 

George was a Senior Manager in Ernst & Young’s Transactional Real Estate practice, specializing in underwriting, real estate structuring, due diligence, and execution on both the buy and sell side. He began his career after undergraduate as an analyst in the real estate investment banking group at Morgan Stanley and continued this focus after business school when he joined Security Capital Group which was a firm focused on applying the private equity investment model to investing in real estate companies across various property types. 

George earned his Bachelors from Morehouse College and his Masters of Business Administration from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University.

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BEN SEIGEL

Opportunity Zones Coordinator, Baltimore Development Corporation

Ben Seigel is the City of Baltimore’s Opportunity Zones Coordinator. Seigel is responsible for positioning the City to attract investment into Baltimore’s 42 Opportunity Zones and maximize impact for local residents and businesses. Seigel’s duties include matching investors with projects, aligning Opportunity Zone projects with city and state strategies and resources, and working with local communities and neighborhoods to maximize public benefits.
                                                                                                    
Previously, Seigel served as the inaugural executive director of the Johns Hopkins University 21st Century Cities Initiative, an applied research and partnership building program that brings together interdisciplinary researchers with city partners to strengthen policies focused on improving distressed communities. Prior to Hopkins, he served in the Obama administration as a senior advisor in the office of Labor Secretary Tom Perez and as the director of the Labor Department’s Center for Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships.  Seigel also served as the initial team lead for the Obama Administration’s Baltimore Federal Task Force, formed in May 2015, where he guided senior-level staff across more than a dozen agencies and the White House, to bring enhanced federal and technical assistance to Baltimore. He currently serves as a board member of the Center for Urban Families and the Job Opportunities Task Force in Baltimore.

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JAMES CUNNINGHAM

Managing Broker, Air Realty Brokerage and Wellington Real Estate Professionals

James Cunningham is the Managing Broker of Air Realty Brokerage (Commercial) and Wellington Real Estate Professionals (Residential) real estate brokerages formed in an effort to serve the needs of small to medium size business owners and clients in the Atlanta area. James has worked in commercial and residential real estate for the past 12 years, serving as a consultant to clients seeking expertise in multifamily acquisition/disposition, land brokerage, office tenant representation and residential acquisition/disposition.

 

James is a graduate of Morehouse College where he received a B.A. in Psychology 06’ and Georgia State University where he received his masters degree in real estate 15’. He’s actively involved with the Atlanta Commercial Board of Realtors where he’s served as partnership committee chair for the diversity mentorship program and received accolades as Member of the Month September 2016 and July of 2017. Mr. Cunningham was also recognized by the Atlanta Business Chronicle as Atlanta real estate’s potential future leaders in May 2016. His passion for serving his community is shown through his involvement with the Emerging 100 of Atlanta where he mentors young men from Best Academy in Atlanta. 

 
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CASEY KLEIN

Principal, Crescent Heights

Mr. Klein is a principal of Crescent Height where he helps lead its development and capital markets activities across the US. He also co-heads CH's oversees acquisition activities. Mr. Klein is a graduate of The George Washington University with a Bachelor of Business Administration in Finance and Real Estate. He is an active member and conference speaker for the National Multifamily Housing Council and other industry organizations. He has been responsible for over $5 Billion in development across the  US and UK.  Mr. Klein is also actively involved in numerous philanthropic activities. He is a member of the Mount Sinai Hospital Psychiatry board, Samaritans NYC and of the Milken Institute Young Leaders Circle. He and his wife, Loren reside in NYC with their children, Raya and Harris.

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ANTHONY COOK

Professor of Law, Georgetown University Law Center

A magna cum laude graduate of Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School of International and Public Policy, Professor Cook graduated from the Yale Law School and practiced venture capital and corporate law. He has completed two post-graduate fellowships, the first in Ethics and the Professions at the Kennedy School of Government and the second in Religion and Public Values at the Harvard Divinity School. He teaches interrelated courses on race and class stratification, with a particular emphasis on progressive politics, voting rights, elections, and the legal structure of the political process. He has pioneered a groundbreaking course – Race, Inequality and Progressive Politics: Voting Rights in America – that brings professional, graduate, and undergraduate students from various disciplines into the same classroom to grapple with issues facing U.S. democracy.

At the local level, he works as a community practitioner, building bridges between the university and underserved populations, offering practicums on entrepreneurship and social innovation, global cities & urbanization, and community development. These courses provide students with a unique opportunity to partner with underserved communities in finding solutions to the complex problems they face. 

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STANLEY OKOYE

Real Estate Transaction Manager, JPMorgan Chase & Co

Stanley Okoye is currently a Real Estate Transaction Manager with JPMorgan Chase & Co. In his current role he heads up Chase Bank's New Market Expansion Efforts with regards to building out the Banks ATM Real Estate Footprint in The Greater Philadelphia Region. Previously Stanley was a Project Manager at the NYC Department of Housing Preservation and Development. In his role, Stanley oversaw the preservation of Low Income Housing Tax Credit (“LIHTC”) properties that were reaching the end of the initial 15-year tax credit compliance period.

 

Before working with HPD, Stanley served as a Real Estate Acquisitions and Development Associate at Ascent Development LLC. In that capacity, he had a wide range of responsibilities including market research and underwriting to fundraising and investor relations. Stanley also previously worked as a Business Advisory Program Senior Consultant at Ernst & Young. Stanley has a Master’s of Science in Real Estate Development from the New York University Schack Institute of Real Estate and a BS in Finance from Penn State University.  

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SHAWN KIMBLE

Director, Barings Real Estate Debt Capital Markets 

Shawn Kimble is responsible for all debt capital markets activities for Barings’ real estate investments in the U.S., including asset financings, fund leverage, syndications, interest rate derivatives and FX hedging.

 

Since joining the firm in 2017, Mr. Kimble has executed more than $4 billion of financings. Prior to joining Barings, Mr. Kimble was a Vice President in the Real Estate Capital Markets group at Wells Fargo in New York.

 

During his tenure with Wells Fargo, Mr. Kimble was involved in the origination, structuring and closing of more than $20 billion of financings across multiple property types and various loan
structures.

 

Mr. Kimble earned a BS degree from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte and an MBA from the
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

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HILLMAN LAM

Director, Jewel Capital

Hillman Lam is a Director in Business Development & Corporate Strategy at Jewel Capital a capital financing advisory firm.  Clients include commercial real estate developers, owners, and operators for residential, retail, office, industrial, and hotel financed with debt and equity.  In addition, he’s a Vice President at Lam’s American an affiliate of the Lam NYC EB-5 Regional Center and the Lam Group.  His 10+ years of commercial real estate experience include acquisitions, development, asset management, capital financing, sales and leasing.

He lectured at Columbia University’s GSAPP, New York University’s (NYU) Schack Institute of Real Estate and Baruch College’s William Newman Department of Real Estate.  Taught commercial real estate finance, market analysis & feasibility study, Excel and Argus financial modeling courses.

His former roles include capital advisory at Eastern Consolidated, acquisitions & development for Time Equities, Inc. (TEI), appraiser at Hudson View Appraisals, market research at Holland Horizon, and retail leasing at Robert K. Futterman & Associates (RKF). He is regularly involved with industry associations such as NAIOP, CURE, CAREA, and so forth.  

 
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VENROY JULY

Partner, Miles and Stockbridge P.C 

Venroy July differentiates his practice through his recognition of the interplay of business and legal considerations in the current economic climate, thereby positioning himself to effectively work with clients to develop the appropriate strategies to accomplish their business goals.

 

Venroy’s diverse practice and experience have seen him advise clients operating in the government contracting, transportation, cybersecurity, banking, and technology industries on an array of matters including equity and asset sales and purchases, debt offerings, and licensing transactions. While his practice focuses on larger transactions, he also regularly helps clients with other business needs, including various forms of loan transactions, compliance with U.S. securities laws and general commercial matters.

 
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AMANDA BENJAMIN-SMITH

Associate General Counsel, BEB Capital

Amanda Benjamin-Smith joined BEB Capital in June 2014.  As Associate General Counsel, Amanda’s practice primarily focuses on complex commercial litigation arising from commercial real estate transactions, mass torts, environmental claims, and general commercial insurance liability

Ms. Benjamin-Smith graduated with honors from Dartmouth College in 2003, receiving the Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellowship. She earned her Juris Doctor from the Washington University School of Law, receiving the Scholar in Law scholarship award. She also served as chairwoman of programming for the Black Law Students Association.

 
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NORBERTO VELAZQUEZ

COO, JGV Inc.

Norberto Velazquez is the Principal and Chief Operating Officer of JGV Inc, with a bachelor’s degree in Government and History from St. John’s University. Norberto is a well-established real estate professional, with over two decades of experience in all facets of real estate. Norberto's wealth of experience includes, but is not limited to, acquisition, property management, and redevelopment of residential, multi-family, commercial and mixed-use properties throughout New York City and abroad. He manages a portfolio valued in excess of one-hundred million dollars. In 2015, Norberto graduated from New York City Housing Development and Preservation, M/WBE Building Capacity program.

 

In his spare time, Norberto volunteers. In that capacity, Norberto is the Vice-President of the Executive Board of Samaritans of New York. Norberto is also the Chair of the Development Committee of the Hispanic Real Estate and Construction Chamber.

 
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GARDNER RIVERA

Founder, Paper City Real Estate Group

Gardner Rivera, MSRED – Gardner Rivera is a Goal-driven CRE professional with +12 years of real estate experience. He holds a Master of Science Degree in Real Estate Development (MSRED) from Columbia University. Mr. Rivera possesses a

commitment to values and principles, as well as a thorough understanding of market-rate development projects, including overall deal structuring, land planning, entitlement process, finance, design and construction management. Gardner has innovative business development skills and strategic project pipeline generation. He also enjoys thinking and working in an entrepreneurial environment and thrives on situations that require creative solutions and strategic execution.

He is the founder of Paper City Real Estate Group, a full-service real estate team located in Fort Lee, NJ under the Keller Williams Realty / KW Commercial brokerage umbrella. Paper City Real Estate Group is diligently working to expand nationally and bring its unique “high touch, high integrity” customer service model

to other KW Market Centers. During his career, he has sold millions of dollars of commercial real estate in New York & New Jersey and is currently working on ground-up developments in Jersey City and other urban centers.

 

Norberto Velazquez is the Principal and Chief Operating Officer of JGV Inc, with a bachelor’s degree in Government and History from St. John’s University. Norberto is a well-established real estate professional, with over two decades of experience in all facets of real estate. Norberto's wealth of experience includes, but is not limited to, acquisition, property management, and redevelopment of residential, multi-family, commercial and mixed-use properties throughout New York City and abroad. He manages a portfolio valued in excess of one-hundred million dollars. In 2015, Norberto graduated from New York City Housing Development and Preservation, M/WBE Building Capacity program.

 

In his spare time, Norberto volunteers. In that capacity, Norberto is the Vice-President of the Executive Board of Samaritans of New York. Norberto is also the Chair of the Development Committee of the Hispanic Real Estate and Construction Chamber.

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STELLA EDOSOMWAN

Senior Associate, Arnold and Porter LLP

Stella Edosomwan is a Senior Associate at Arnold & Porter LLP. Her practice is concentrated on commercial real estate transactions and she primarily represents financial institutions, non-bank lenders and private equity funds in the origination and restructuring of commercial real estate mortgage and mezzanine loans. In addition, Stella regularly represents real estate development firms and REITs in the acquisition, sale, development, and financing of a broad range of property types, including hospitality, office, multi-family, industrial and mixed-use projects.

Stella also represents nonprofits on a pro-bono basis with respect to property development, leasing, tax issues, and various other real estate matters. Outside of her work as an attorney, Stella is a residential real estate investor and is also passionate about investing in early-stage companies. She is a member of Pipeline Angels and was part of the 2017 NYC cohort of the Real Estate Associate Program (Project REAP). Stella received her BA from the University of Pennsylvania and her JD from Washington University in St. Louis.

 

Stella Edosomwan is a Senior Associate at Arnold & Porter LLP. Her practice is concentrated on commercial real estate transactions and she primarily represents financial institutions, non-bank lenders and private equity funds in the origination and restructuring of commercial real estate mortgage and mezzanine loans. In addition, Stella regularly represents real estate development firms and REITs in the acquisition, sale, development, and financing of a broad range of property types, including hospitality, office, multi-family, industrial and mixed-use projects.

Stella also represents nonprofits on a pro-bono basis with respect to property development, leasing, tax issues, and various other real estate matters. Outside of her work as an attorney, Stella is a residential real estate investor and is also passionate about investing in early-stage companies. She is a member of Pipeline Angels and was part of the 2017 NYC cohort of the Real Estate Associate Program (Project REAP). Stella received her BA from the University of Pennsylvania and her JD from Washington University in St. Louis.

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MARISSA JOHN

Real Estate Attorney 

Marissa John is an associate in Baker & Hostetler’s Real Estate Group and concentrates her practice on commercial real estate transactions including financing, leasing, land development, planned communities, acquisitions and dispositions. In her practice she represents private and public clients throughout the country in connection with the acquisition, finance, leasing, sale and operation of various types of commercial real estate collateral such as retail, industrial, office, multi-family, hospitality and mixed use. Marissa also regularly counsels professional sports leagues, teams, ownership groups and related governing bodies in various matters associated with the acquisition, development and operation of sports facilities. 

Before joining Baker & Hostetler, Marissa gained experience interning with the former governor of New York, David A. Paterson. She also worked as a certified mediator for the Fulton County Landlord/Tenant Mediation Program. Marissa received her B.S. from the University of Central Florida and her J.D. from Emory University School of Law. Marissa is actively involved with the Diversity Pipeline Initiatives Committee and the Minorities in the Legal Profession Committee of the New York City Bar Association and is a proud member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Incorporated.

 
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DONNELL SELBY

Acquisition and Development, SpringRock Property Group

Donnell Selby has several years of experience working in commercial real estate. His overall real estate background includes commercial leasing, property management, fund management, risk management, market research and analysis. At the firm, he plays a pivotal role overseeing the daily operations of mixed- used and co-op assets in its portfolio.  In addition, Donnell is responsible for the management and allocation of all funds under management.  

 

Donnell is a New York State licensed broker and holds a RAM designation from the National Associated Builders and Owner Inc. Donnell graduated from Hampton University, with honors, holding a degree in Political Science. 

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DONNELL SELBY

Acquisition and Development, SpringRock Property Group

Donnell Selby has several years of experience working in commercial real estate. His overall real estate background includes commercial leasing, property management, fund management, risk management, market research and analysis. At the firm, he plays a pivotal role overseeing the daily operations of mixed- used and co-op assets in its portfolio.  In addition, Donnell is responsible for the management and allocation of all funds under management.  

 

Donnell is a New York State licensed broker and holds a RAM designation from the National Associated Builders and Owner Inc. Donnell graduated from Hampton University, with honors, holding a degree in Political Science. 

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MICHAEL K. STATON

Michael K. Staton is a Vice President and Mortgage Officer at CPC Mortgage Company LLC, a subsidiary of The Community Preservation Corporation (CPC) that focuses on the company’s Freddie Mac, Fannie Mae, and FHA lending.   

Prior to joining CPC, Staton was Vice President of Commercial Real Estate Financing at TD Bank where his primary responsibilities were financing multifamily housing developments, office buildings, retail centers and industrial space.  As Vice President of Originations at WNC & Associates, his focus was on managing relationships with clients and investing in Low Income Housing Tax Credit properties, as a Limited Partner, to create and preserve multifamily, affordable housing and to maximize the rate of return to Investors for property acquisitions.  

Staton also spent over 20 years at the New Jersey Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency where he served in several key roles, including Director of Multifamily Programs and Lending, Director of Credit, Assistant Director of Financial Management along with other essential positions.  

Staton holds a Bachelor's Degree in Finance from Hampton University and a Master's Degree from Rider University.         
 

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RAQUEL VAZQUEZ

Director of Housing Development, Joy Construction Company

Raquel Vazquez is Director of Housing Development at Joy Construction Company. With 10 years of community development experience, ranging from affordable housing, economic development, legislative affairs, loan originations and portfolio management, Raquel is uniquely equipped to solve a broad range of challenging issues with innovative policies and programs.

 

Prior to her current role, Raquel served as Portfolio Manager at Santander Bank’s Community Development Finance division, where she oversaw over a $.5 billion national portfolio of affordable housing and economic development investments. For several years, Raquel worked at the New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD), where she managed the finance, planning, and development aspects of low-income and mixed-income new construction affordable housing projects across New York City. Prior to HPD, she served as a Morgan Stanley/ Association of Neighborhood & Housing Development (ANHD) Fellow and worked on preservation strategies for HUD-financed subsidized housing portfolios.

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LAUREL DJOUKENG

Laurel Djoukeng was born and raised in Washington, D.C. He earned a BSc in Accounting from Hampton University in 2008. Laurel is a Management Leadership for Tomorrow Fellow (MLT), and he is currently pursuing his MBA at Duke University – The Fuqua School of Business.

 

Djoukeng began his career in 2008 as an Associate for Con Edison’s Growth Opportunities for Leadership Development (GOLD) Program. His profession in Finance started in 2010 as an Investment Analyst for PGIM Real Estate, a global private equity firm with $69 billion in assets under management. In 2012, he transitioned to the Carlton Group, an international investment banking firm with more than $125 billion in transactions.

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ADE ADENIRAN

Ade Adeniran launched his real estate career 12 years ago, Brooklyn native Ade Adeniran was obsessed with the field. He would devour The New York Times real estate section each week, and when he finally did make the career change, he set out to put that passion and hard-earned know-how to good use. "I wanted to interact with people and use my knowledge of marketing and negotiating to help people find their perfect homes," Ade explains. "I love hearing people’s stories and navigating the New York real estate landscape to find them the ideal match."

Prior to real estate, Ade worked in corporate accounting at an internet firm for more than a decade, a role which honed his razor-sharp financial acumen and listening skills. He's also a long-time entrepreneur who's launched a number of successful businesses, earning a standout reputation as a consummate people person with a closer’s drive. Kind, eager and a notably creative problem solver with a vast network of resources, Ade puts his wide-ranging skill set to work for clients seeking to make their next home in his beloved Brooklyn borough.

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ADE ADENIRAN

Ade Adeniran launched his real estate career 12 years ago, Brooklyn native Ade Adeniran was obsessed with the field. He would devour The New York Times real estate section each week, and when he finally did make the career change, he set out to put that passion and hard-earned know-how to good use. "I wanted to interact with people and use my knowledge of marketing and negotiating to help people find their perfect homes," Ade explains. "I love hearing people’s stories and navigating the New York real estate landscape to find them the ideal match."

Prior to real estate, Ade worked in corporate accounting at an internet firm for more than a decade, a role which honed his razor-sharp financial acumen and listening skills. He's also a long-time entrepreneur who's launched a number of successful businesses, earning a standout reputation as a consummate people person with a closer’s drive. Kind, eager and a notably creative problem solver with a vast network of resources, Ade puts his wide-ranging skill set to work for clients seeking to make their next home in his beloved Brooklyn borough.

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MYRON ADOTEYE

Managing Partner, Eye Street Capital

Myron Adoteye is the Managing Partner of Eye Street Capital, an exempt reporting advisory firm focused on multifamily and residential real estate development in Washington, D.C. Prior to that, he co-founded Eye Street Investments, a firm focused on equities markets, residential real estate investment, and venture capital. He also worked for REIS (now acquired by Moody’s), consulting banks, REITS, and developers and institutional investors across the country on property and market intelligence in all sectors of commercial real estate.  He is certified in REIS 2.0 Subscriber Edition Data Analysis and acquired his Life, Accident & Health, Series 7 & 66 licenses. He also serves as a guest venture capital judge and business mentor for the Georgetown University Law School Entrepreneurship Practicum. Myron received his MBA in Management & Entrepreneurship, as well as his BS in Marketing & Communications at Fordham University.

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JEREMY WATSON

Jeremy Watson is Manager at JetBlue Airways, where he leads infrastructure investment and real estate development for JFK International Airport. He has over eight years of experience in engineering design, urban planning, and private equity. Jeremy holds a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering from the University of Florida, Master of Urban & Regional Planning from Virginia Tech, and Master of Business Administration from Harvard Business School. He is a registered Professional Engineer and member of the American Institute of Certified Planners. Jeremy resides in Jersey City, NJ with his wife Shemeka.

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DESIREE THOMAS

Deputy Director,

Housing Preservation and Development

Ms. Thomas is a Deputy Director at NYC Housing Preservation and Development where she oversees affordable housing development, project management and financing of
preservation projects. In her role, she is also responsible for setting policies to preserve current and future affordability of housing in New York City. She also invests and manages a portfolio of residential and mixed-use properties.

 

Previously, she was a member of the Business Development and Investor Relations team at Archimedes Alpha LLC, a hedge fund focused on opportunistic investing across a number of asset classes. She was also Senior Vice President in the Financial Institutions Group at J.P. Morgan where she was responsible for expanding the bank’s footprint in the Southeast and Atlantic Coast Regions.

 

In addition to her professional career, Ms. Thomas sits on the Board of Unique People Services where she serves as Treasurer and a member of the Strategic Planning Committee. Formerly, she held the role of Chair of the Real Estate Committee. She also serves on the Board of the Bronx YMCA.

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VICTOR AMOO

Investment professional, Basis Investment Group

Victor Amoo is an investment professional with Basis Investment Group serving as a loan officer responsible for originating and underwriting debt investments primarily consisting of senior and subordinated mortgage loans. Mr. Amoo also serves as the loan officer for the Emerging Developer Loan Fund, a public-private partnership between Basis and the New York City Economic Development Corporation. Apart from Basis, Mr. Amoo serves as the Co-chair of the Commercial Real Estate Finance Council (CREFC) Young Professionals, is a 2018 Mortgage Bankers Association Future Leader and has earned the Accredited Mortgage Professional designation.

Prior to joining Basis, he was a private equity investment professional with Island Capital, and its affiliate C-III Capital Partners focused on principal investments, mergers & acquisitions, and commercial mortgage lending. Mr. Amoo began his career at Banc of America Securities in the structured finance group.

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IZU EMEAGWALI

Vice President and Assistant General Counsel,

J.P Morgan Chase

Izu is a member of the legal data use and strategy team for the Corporate and Investment Bank. She was previously a senior associate at Cleary Gottlieb focusing on intellectual property matters as well as commercial litigation and enforcement cases. Izu also advised on tech-focused M&A deals and drafted agreements to help clients protect their intellectual property. At Cleary, Izu has led pro bono teams in advocating for issues impacting women in Africa.

Izu is a Junior Board Member of the Council for Economic Education and will serve on the Board of Trustees for Westover School, an all-girl college preparatory boarding school and her alma mater in Connecticut.

 

Izu has a passion for real estate investing through the homeownership process. She has started a support group for women who own or want to own and/or invest in real estate in Brooklyn.

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EDWARD FAUSTIN

Co-Founder and Head of Strategy and Operations, Area Probe 

Mr. Faustin received his undergraduate degree from the University of Notre Dame and graduate degrees in City Planning and Urban Spatial Analytics from the University of Pennsylvania. Edward has 13 years of professional experience in real estate finance, economic development, and strategic advisory services that will help curate the direction of the company. Edward is focused on developing AreaProbe’s core business lines, along with managing relationships with third-party advisory firms, lenders, government entities, private equity firms, tax credit syndicators, and emerging real estate developers.

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AARON HOLLOWAY

Real Estate Finance Attorney, Perkins Coie 

Aaron Holloway regularly advises clients on a wide range of corporate and real estate matters, including joint venture transactions, acquisitions, dispositions, real estate financings, and commercial leasing.

Aaron’s clients include joint ventures, real estate investors, commercial developers, purchasers, sellers, landlords, tenants and borrowers on a broad range of complex corporate real estate transactions.

Aaron is a 2011 graduate of Howard University, where he served as an editor of the Howard Law Journal. During his studies, Aaron served as a judicial intern to Judge Reggie Walton of the U.S. District Court for the District.

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EDWARD FAUSTIN

Co-Founder and Head of Strategy and Operations, Area Probe 

Edward is Co-Founder, Head of Strategy and Operations for AreaProbe. AreaProbe is a research and advisory firm focused on housing and commercial real estate development in urban communities. AreaProbe provides market research analytics, access to capital to fund projects, and customized advisory services and software solutions. Edward is focused on developing AreaProbe’s core business lines, along with managing relationships with third-party advisory firms, lenders, government entities, private equity firms, tax credit syndicators, and emerging real estate developers.

Edward has over 14 years of professional experience in real estate finance, economic development, and strategic advisory services.  Edward was recently responsible for debt and equity fund investments and portfolio surveillance in the Strategic Investments Group for the New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC).  He also served as an underwriter and asset manager for PNC Real Estate, member of the originations and fund management group at Centerline Capital Group and as part of the  research and valuation teams at Cushman and Wakefield.

Edward received a Masters in City Planning and a Masters in Spatial Analytics from the University of Pennsylvania and earned his bachelor’s degree from the University of Notre Dame in where he majored in Management and Economics.

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LORI LEWIS

Principal,Renov8 BK

Lori Lewis is an attorney, broker and investor. She currently serves as General Counsel and Development Director at Covenant House New Jersey. In her role as counsel, she provides general advice on all legal matters facing the agency.  As Development Director, she raises $2.5M - $3M annually to support homeless youth. Prior to joining Covenant House, Lori was an Associate at Herrick Feinstein, where she focused her practice on advising condominium associations. Immediately following law school, she clerked for the New Jersey Appellate Division for Judge Sapp-Peterson.

 

Lori graduated from Cornell Law School in 2010. While at Cornell, she was an Editor of the Cornell Law Review and Vice President of the Black Law Students Association. She is currently serving a three-year term on the Cornell Law School Alumni Board of Directors and is the chair of the Cornell Black Lawyers Alumni Network Mentoring Committee. In 2018, she joined the Hoboken Shelter Board of Directors and serves on the Hudson County Homeless Trust Fund Board. 

 

Lori is passionate about affordable housing and homeownership and became a licensed real estate broker in 2013 in order to help her community build wealth by investing in real property. Lori and her husband buy and rehab homes in Brooklyn, the Bronx and New Jersey. 

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PIERRE STREAT

Principal, TowerLevy Realty

Pierre Streat leads Acquisitions, Construction and Property Management at TowerLevy Realty. He co-founded TowerLevy in 2018 with more than a decade of investment experience on Wall Street and in Real Estate.While still in an extensive career at Lehman Brothers, Barclays Capital and most recently JP Morgan, Pierre began investing independently in real estate in Philadelphia in 2016, achieving 8 stabilized rental units.

Pierre focused on acquiring distressed single and small multi-family properties, repositioning them, renting them and creating value for continued expansion.Today, TowerLevy owns 20 rental properties in Philadelphia and is consistently purchasing and stabilizing 1-3 additional properties per month. Pierre is laser focused on helping the firm continue to achieve its acquisition, construction and property management goals while also having a positive impact on the communities where he invests.

Originally from the island of Barbados, Pierre Streat emigrated to the US and graduated Cum Laude with a degree in Finance from Adelphi University.

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MAURICE Q. ROBINSON

Managing Mediator, MQR Enterpises LLC 

Maurice Q. Robinson is the founder and principal managing mediator of MQR, Enterprises, LLC. MQR Enterprises specializes in conflict management and conflict coaching services including mediation and other neutral consulting services. We also provide specialized team development in diversity, equity, and inclusion, specifically in the areas of Equal Employment Compliance and Fair Housing Compliance.

 

Maurice also serves as EEO Officer and Executive Agency Counsel for the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) Department of Equal Opportunity.  In those capacities, he supervises the Office of Employment and Fair Housing Investigations and the Services for People with Disabilities Unit.

As the Diversity Director of the Seton Hall School of Law Conflict Management Program, Associate Director of the Investor Advocacy Project, and Supervising Attorney for the school’s nationally renowned Southern District of New York Employment Discrimination Mediation Practicum, Maurice marries his passion for increasing Civil Gideon, diversity and inclusion in ADR, and working to eradicate discrimination. Maurice has been a frequent presenter at the Georgetown University Law Center Negotiation Seminar. Mr. Robinson is a former fellow with the American Arbitration Association A. Leon Higginbotham Program and the Real Estate Associate Program (REAP)

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NYRON CHIN SANG

Managing Member, Gold Key Group LLC 

As President and CEO of Gold Key Group, Nyron is a successful real estate professional responsible for over $50 million in real estate transactions.  He started Gold Key Group as a real estate brokerage in 2005 and has evolved the company to a full-service real estate company that also invests into multifamily properties in urban communities including but not limited to Fort Lauderdale, Brooklyn, The Bronx, Westchester, and Albany. He currently operates a boutique real estate brokerage in New York City and Fort Lauderdale and has partnered in several retail businesses, while he continues to grow his real estate portfolio.

 

Nyron is an active member of the following real estate organizations: Long Island REIA, Greater Westchester REIA, The New York State REIA, African American Real Estate Professionals of New York (AAREPNY), REAP Alumina REAP (Real Estate Associate Program), and CCIM.

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DANIEL CHATTERS

Vice President, JPMorgan Asset & Wealth Management

Daniel Chatters, a New Orleans native, holds an MBA from Florida A&M University and is a licensed Certified Public Accountant. He currently serves as a Vice President in Asset & Wealth Management at JPMorgan where he serves as a Business Initiative Lead for regulatory and client onboarding initiatives. Prior to joining JPMorgan, he worked as a consultant at large firms such as Accenture and Protiviti, as well as independently. As a consultant, he led a number of successful engagements that included strategic initiatives, compliance, finance transformation, operations, process reengineering, and technology. Daniel also has a passion for commercial real estate where he works to expand opportunities for minorities within the field and connect dealmakers in order to create

investment opportunities.

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OFO EZEUGWU 

Co-Founder and CEO, WhoseYourLandlord

Ofo Ezeugwu is Co-Founder and CEO of WhoseYourLandlord, a platform empowering and informing the rental community through landlord reviews, community-focused content, and by providing access to quality listings. He graduated from Temple University, where he was the VP of the student body and also the youngest alumni convocation speaker in the school's history. He was recently recognized as the Young Professional of the Year by the African American Chamber of Commerce (2018), he's a Techstars' Risingstar, one of BET's #30Under30, a Black Enterprise: Modern Man and his work has been featured in Forbes, TechCrunch, Newsweek, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Blavity, The New York Post, and more. Ofo is also a professional actor and model who's walked in NYFW (4x), been featured on the Today Show (7x), and worked with Nike, ESPN (2x), and Alfani.

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MBABAZI KASARA

Director, MUFG Securities

Mbabazi Kasara has over a decade of experience advising companies, banks, and private equity funds on equity derivative and cross-border finance transactions. Currently a director in the legal department at MUFG, the world’s fifth largest bank by total assets, Mbabazi started her legal career at Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton shortly after graduating from Harvard Law School. Mbabazi spends her time outside of work exploring opportunities to invest in real estate and small businesses and traveling whenever and wherever she can.

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BLAIR M. DUNCAN

President and CEO of the Upper Manhattan Empowerment Zone Development Corporation (UMEZ)

Mr. Duncan is the President and CEO of the Upper Manhattan Empowerment Zone Development Corporation (UMEZ), a federal initiative to revitalize urban communities.  Duncan began at UMEZ in 2003 as General Counsel. He subsequently increased his levels of responsibility managing the operations of the organization and structuring transformative commercial and mixed-used developments in Upper Manhattan. Duncan plays a key role in providing capital access to neighborhood small businesses and designing grants for cultural institutions in the area. 


With extensive experience as a legal, finance, and nonprofit executive, Mr. Duncan draws upon his financial insights and community commitment, from previous roles as General Counsel to North General Hospital and on various not-for-profit boards, to develop financially healthy neighborhoods. Prior to joining UMEZ, he was Vice President and Senior Counsel at Merrill Lynch. Earlier in his career, he practiced as an attorney with two national law firms. Prior to practicing law, Mr. Duncan was a Vice President at a global bank.


UMEZ investments have leveraged over $1.1 billion of private capital investments and this commitment has created nearly 10,000 jobs. The organization since its inception has invested $244 million in the Upper Manhattan, including loans and tax-exempt bonds for real estate development initiatives and grants focused on arts, culture and workforce development. In 2017, UMEZ became a Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI).


Duncan serves on the board of directors of the Regional Plan Association and is a member of the Corporate Advisory Council of the Citizens’ Committee for Children of New York.  In prior years, he served on several boards of directors and committees including the Harlem YMCA, the Helene Fuld College of Nursing, and Lawyers Alliance for New York. He is an active member of the executive committee of the Wharton Club of New York. He received a BS in mathematics from the University of Michigan, an MBA in finance from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania and a JD from the University of Pennsylvania Law School.

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ZOY BALASKAS

Senior Vice President and Underwriting Counsel, Fidelity National Title Insurance Company

Zoy Balaskas seves as Senior Vice President and Underwriting Counsel at Fidelity National Title Insurance Company.

In her role, Zoy is an underwriting expert pertaining to title insurance policies and curing defects in connection with the acquisition, leasing and financing of New York commercial and residential real property.

Prior to joining Fidelity, Zoy was Senior Underwriting Counsel at First American Title Insurance Company – National Commercial Services, where she worked for over a decade.

Prior to entering the title industry in 2005, Zoy worked in-house as a closing attorney for a mortgage lender, managing the company’s settlement division. She has also worked for the Private Bank of a large lending institution, and as an associate in a number of firms.

Zoy graduated from New York University School of Law, earning a J.D. in 1998, and an L.L.M. in 2003. She received her B.A. in Philosophy and Political Science from Queens College, City University of New York.

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SETH BYNUM

Project Manager, Genesis Companies, LLC

Seth works at Genesis in the firm’s real estate development group where he uses his knowledge and experience in New York City affordable housing finance to project manage and develop affordable housing in both New York City and New Jersey.  Prior to joining Genesis, Seth worked as a project manager in the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit Preservation (Year 15) Program at the New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development. While there, he worked with developers of all shapes and sizes to refinance and rehabilitate Year 15 properties with various financing, such as city subsidy, private debt, tax credit equity, and bonds. Over the course of Seth’s time at HPD, he directly helped to preserve close to 1000 units of affordable housing.  Seth earned his Bachelor of Arts in Economics and minor in Urban Studies from Vassar College

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RAHEL FIKRE

Store Development Manager, Starbucks

Rahel Fikre is a store development manager for Starbucks in the Mid-Atlantic region.  She covers the growth and development of the brand in the Northern Maryland, Delaware and Suburban Philadelphia Market.  She is responsible for new store growth, relocation of underperforming assets and working with operational leaders to align on the long-term strategy of existing store portfolio.  Rahel is known for her strategic planning and site selection, real estate negotiation skill and her collaboration with cross functional teams to achieve results.   She loves the energy and excitement of real estate development and working for a company that aligns with her mission and values.  She is passionate about community involvement, civic engagement and personal development. 

 

Before joining Starbucks in March 2013, Rahel was a real estate manager for 7-Eleven for over 4 years where she focused on franchise growth and real estate development in Northern New Jersey and Maryland. Prior to entering the real estate field, she had over 11 years of retail operations, marketing, training and consulting experience while working as a supervisor, business consultant, marketing analyst and franchise specialist for ExxonMobil. 

 

Rahel has a B.A in International Business and Economic Development from James Madison University and a Leadership Development certificate from Johns Hopkins University.  She has two children and resides in Northern Virginia area.