Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Initiatives

Recent Presentations & Topics

The Intersection of Housing and Technology with Inclusive Leadership

Featuring Robert Reffkin ’03, Founder and CEO of Compass in conversation with Professor Christopher Mayer

Housing Equality & Opportunity

Featuring Alanna McCargo, VP, Housing Finance Policy Center, Urban Institute, Martin Muoto, Founder, Managing Partner, SoLa Impact, Lisa Rice, President, CEO, National Fair Housing Alliance (NFHA), Moderated by Professor Christopher Mayer

WX (New York Women Executives in Real Estate) Scholarship Information Session & Panel Discussion

 New York Women Executives in Real Estate logoFeaturing Sara Queen, Head, Asset Management and Operations at Mapletree, Sharmeen Dossani, Director, US Real Estate at Zurich Alternative Asset Management, Robin Topol, Partner at Meister, Seelig & Fein, and Merrie Frankel, President of Minerva Realty Consultants

Ask the Recruiter: Where are the Jobs in Social Impact Real Estate?

Peter Gray '97Featuring Peter Gray ’97, Owner of Peter Gray Executive Search and Adjunct Professor Blair Smith ’00

New in the Classroom

Columbia CaseWorks Cases supported by the Paul Milstein Center for Real Estate

Olshan B (a follow-up to Designing a Strategy for Growth: Olshan Properties and the Transition to a Second Generation Company)

Taught in Real Estate Advanced Seminar

Andrea Olshan ’04 was one of a small set of women to move into leadership roles as second- or third-generation members of New York-based, family-owned real estate companies. Olshan joined Olshan Properties, the 60-year-old firm her father had founded, in 2004 and stepped up to the CEO position in 2012. Reevaluating her father’s “buy, hold, manage” business model, Olshan took steps to de-centralize decision-making and to transition to a more institutional platform. This case provides background on the firm’s organizational design, business model, and asset profile and asks students to consider what the firm’s best path to continued growth should be?  Olshan B builds on Olshan A.  Written from the perspective of a female real estate asset owner faced with managing relationships with her financial partners during the pandemic.  

SoLa Impact: “Doing Well by Doing Good”

Taught in Social Impact Real Estate Investing

From the time of its founding in 2014, the real estate development organization Solo Impact has focused on renovating rundown properties to create affordable residential units for underserved people in South Los Angeles—generating healthy financial returns for its investors and creating positive social change in the neighborhoods it served.

Can SoLa Impact’s newly launched Black Impact Fund, continue to deliver solid financial returns for its investors while driving social change beyond its “home base” of South Los Angeles?

Harlem Renaissance/Victoria Theater (In Production)

Taught in Social Impact Real Estate Investing

“The Victoria Theater redevelopment project which brings to Harlem a world class hotel and a new apartment tower, half of which is affordable, greatly reinforces the economic, cultural and social fabric of the community,” —Craig Livingston, Managing Partner Exact Capital

The $178 million project is sponsored by the Harlem Community Development Corp. It is financed by Goldman Sachs, the Upper Manhattan Empowerment Zone and the Empire State Development Corp.

Complete collection of Real Estate Cases available through Columbia CaseWorks →

The PPIL Initiative

The Phillips Pathway to Inclusive Leadership

About Kathy Phillips

Forging Pathways for Inclusion in Real Estate

Cedric Bobo & Sonny KalsiFeaturing Cedric Bobo, Founder of Project Destined and Sonny Kalsi, CEO of BentallGreenOak

Co-sponsored with the Black Business Students Association (BBSA)

This event addressed the following themes and essential skills: (1) DEI tools and policies and (2) racial identity and equity.

Influence, Achievement & Inclusivity: Women Executives in Real Estate

Women Executives in Real Estate speakersFeaturing Michelle Felman, Adjunct Professor at Columbia Business School and Founder of JAM Holdings, Andrea Olshan ’04, CEO of Seritage Growth Properties, Lauren Hochfelder, Deputy CIO and Head of Americas MSERI, Managing Director at Morgan Stanley, and Olivia John, Founder and CEO of Osso Capital

This event addressed the following themes and essential skills: (1) Power and Privilege (2) Creating an inclusive work environment (3) Gender Identity and Equity.

The LGBTQ+ Experience in Real Estate

LGBTQ+ Experience in Real Estate panelistsFeaturing Kimberly Hourihan, CIO Americas Real Estate and Executive Managing Director, Fund Manager at CBRE Global Investors, Brian Hwang ’17, Vice President, Commercial Real Estate at M&T Bank, Professor Brian Lancaster, Senior Lecturer at  Columbia Business School and Founder and President of the Minot Group, Mario Palumbo, Managing Partner at Millennium Partners, and Ellen Qiu ’20, Investment Banking Associate at Credit Suisse

Co-sponsored with Cluster Q and the Real Estate Association

This event addressed the following themes and essential skills: (1) Managing Difficult Conversations (2) Creating an Inclusive Environment (3) LGBTQIA+ Identity and Equity.

Resources, Research & News






Opportunities to Get Involved

Volunteer Opportunities for MBA Students and Alumni

  • Project Destined: Real estate training with a competitive edge.
  • SoLa Impact CORE Scholars: Become a virtual mentor: help coach and empower South Los Angeles’ youth at [email protected]  
  • ULI Mentorship Program: The mission of the ULI New York Mentor Program is to foster an exchange of professional ideas and mentorship between experienced executives in the industry (“Mentors”) and young real estate professionals in ULI under the age of 40 (“Mentees”).
  • WX: New York Women Executives in Real Estate: WX promotes the advancement of women in real estate, enhances the public perception of the role of women within the industry and promotes the highest standards of professionalism, ethics and integrity in the field.

Organizations Championing Diversity in the Real Estate Industry and Helping to Develop a Pipeline of Diverse Talent

  • PREA - SEO: To pursue the PREA Foundation's transformative mission, the PREA Foundation has partnered with Sponsors for Educational Opportunity (SEO), which has a 35-year track record of success providing select educational and internship opportunities to college students from underrepresented backgrounds.
  • Avant Garde Network: The leading social impact company for emerging executives, entrepreneurs, and business leaders.
  • NAIOP - REEX: Real Estate Immersion Program: NAIOP has partnered with like-minded organizations to offer summer immersion programs that focus on commercial real estate. These programs are offered in collaboration with universities across the U.S. and are specifically geared toward top students of diverse backgrounds.
  • Project REAP: To advance diversity, equity and inclusion in the commercial real estate industry through education, mentorship, and partnerships.
  • CREW Network: Transforming the commercial real estate industry by advancing women globally.
  • TOIGO Foundation: Toigo’s mission is to transform the performance of forward-thinking organizations through education and strategies that drive greater inclusion and the ongoing development and promotion of exceptional diverse leaders.