BOMA/Chicago Foundation

2023 Newsletter

The BOMA/Chicago Foundation had its busiest and most successful year yet because of our generous donors and passionate volunteers.

This year we raised $232,600 for the Foundation, which allowed us to award $27,195 in scholarships!

2023 Accomplishments & Events

Full Designation Scholarship

We awarded one Full Designation Scholarship to Jeff Bentley (JLL) at the TOBY Gold Circle Awards Gala in February. We also awarded one Single Course Scholarship to Bijal Patel (CBRE). 

Diversity Celebration

We brought the industry together for the 11th Annual Diversity Celebration in April and raised $125,000! The Reginald L. Ollie Inclusion and Outreach Scholarship namesake, Reggie Ollie, and Mayor Brandon Johnson shared their thoughts on the critical importance of diversity and equity in Chicago. Thank you to our 41 sponsors and 500 attendees!

Reginald L. Ollie Inclusion and Outreach Scholar

This year we awarded, Eddie Correa (Sterling Bay) with the Reginald L. Ollie Inclusion and Outreach Scholarship. As a guest of honor at the Diversity Celebration in April, Eddie spoke to the crowd about his story.

Pride Parade

We supported our LGBTQIA+ members by participating in the Chicago Pride Parade in June, where over 100 volunteers marched alongside our float. We are proud to be the only BOMA local in the country to participate in a Pride Parade! We hope that our involvement will inspire other BOMA locals to join in their respective Pride Parades.

Financial Empowerment Workshops

We held six free Financial Empowerment Workshops for 285 enrollees that focused on building generational wealth and the fundamentals of homeownership. These workshops were accessible to all individuals employed in commercial office buildings.

DEI Workshop: Authentic Allyship in the Workplace

We hosted a DEI Workshop: Authentic Allyship in the Workplace where 20 students had honest conversations about bias in the workplace, learned how to support colleagues through authentic allyship, and took home a book for further reading.

Commercial Real Estate Career Days

We hosted a total of seven career days at various local high schools and colleges, reaching over 300 students! These events teach students about the commercial real estate industry and the various career opportunities they could pursue.

Updates From a Few of Our Scholars

2023 Ollie Scholar

Eddie Correa (Sterling Bay)

Assistant General Manager at 2430 North Halsted 

Eddie feels so honored to be the 2023 Reginald L. Ollie Inclusion & Outreach Scholarship recipient. After the industry came together to honor Eddie at the April Diversity Celebration, Eddie has taken three RPA classes. He also transitioned into a new role as the Assistant General Manager for Sterling Bay Property Management, overseeing the day-to-day operations of a life science building located in Lincoln Park. Eddie is also in the process of obtaining his Real Estate Broker’s license. He wishes everyone a Happy New Year! 

2023 Full Designation Scholar

Jeff Bentley (JLL)

Property Associate at 801 South Canal


Jeff Bentley is on track to complete the RPA program and achieve full certification by 2024. He plays a key role in the $265 million redevelopment of 801 South Canal, also known as Canal Station – which is scheduled for completion by the end of 2023. As the project wraps up, Jeff eagerly anticipates the full operational potential of Canal Station, showcasing how he seamlessly blends classroom knowledge with on-the-job experience. 

2022 Ollie Scholar

Daja Walker-Parker (JLL)

Assistant General Manager at 24 East Washington 

Daja has earned both her BS – Real Estate (2020) and her MSRE (2021) at DePaul University. Daja began her CRE career as an intern at CapRock Real Estate, earned her Illinois Broker License, and was offered a full-time position as an associate broker in 2019. She made a career change into property management when she joined JLL in 2021 as a Property Associate. She was promoted to her current role in 2022. Daja has taken seven RPA classes and only has one class remaining! 

2020 Full Designation Scholar

Caroline Foulk (CBRE)

Real Estate Manager at 150 North Michigan 

Congratulations to Caroline for earning CBRE's Real Estate Manager of the Year Award for Chicago Midwest. Caroline is approaching her two-year anniversary at 150 North Michigan, where she oversees daily operations and both the cash and accrual accounting for the building. A graduate of CBRE’s Empower Leadership program, she is now a Roth IRA holder – which she opened after attending our Financial Empowerment Workshop. Caroline became certified in ESG after attending our October class and she also participated in the summer Decarbonization Summit. Outside the office, Caroline continues to tutor English as a second language in her neighborhood and she spends time with her father. Caroline wishes everyone a safe, happy end of the year.   

2014 Full Designation Scholar

Joe Sherman (Chicago Symphony Orchestra)

Production Manager

Joe has had another exciting year at the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. Among many other dynamic concerts, he managed the production of ‘Mavis Staples at Symphony Center,’ which was broadcast on WTTW in June. After the CSO lost its longtime House Manager, Joe completely oversaw front-of-house operations at Symphony Center. In the Spring, Joe taught the ‘Ethics is Good Business' course for BOMA/Chicago. Joe is proud to serve as Chair of the BOMA/Chicago Scholarship committee, as well as Treasurer of the BOMA/Chicago Foundation.

A Message from our Workforce Diversity Partner

Embracing Diversity in Commercial Real Estate

Bridgette Battle (Hines)

Diversity Committee Chair  

"As I look back on 2023, I’m so grateful to see continued progress to increase diversity and inclusion across the commercial real estate industry. In Chicago, Hines continued its partnership with the BOMA/Chicago Foundation as a Workforce Diversity Partner. This year, four interns joined our local Chicago Hines properties. The interns rotated through several roles and properties enabling them to explore different facets of property management and learn more about Hines experience and hospitality-focused service model. 


Beyond our partnership with the BOMA/Chicago Foundation, Hines colleagues at our managed properties in Chicago are finding unique ways to build inclusive communities in our buildings and our city. A few examples from the past year include: 

  • In recognition of Pride Month, the One South Dearborn team partnered with Brave Space Alliance to provide information about the organization, the resources they provide and volunteering opportunities. In addition, building tenants were able to donate grocery items to support Brave Space Alliance’s food pantry. 
  • OneHines Local Ambassadors partnered with 321 N. Clark tenants Foley & Lardner and the American Bar Association to host Chicago Public School high school students to introduce potential career paths in law. 
  • River Point teammates hosted a Juneteenth Market featuring Black-owned businesses, guest speaker Dr. Curley Boo Johnson and the Jesse White Tumblers. 


As a firm, Hines is committed to OneHines – an inclusive culture that enables all employees to thrive. From our OneHines Local Ambassador program to our firmwide forums and employee resource groups to the expanded benefits we now offer for new parents and other caregivers, we are striving to help employees feel supported and empowered to be their best selves. I hope these examples will spark other commercial real estate firms to join us in embracing diversity, equity, and inclusion across our industry."

Associate Degree Hiring Policies

At this year’s BOMA/Chicago Diversity Celebration, Steve Zsigray, Managing Director at JLL, stated that the firm is embracing a new policy that requires an associate's degree – rather than a bachelor's degree – for entry-level positions.  


The change reflects JLL’s commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion and is intended to create a tangible difference in the lives of employees and the communities they serve. The BOMA/Chicago Foundation believes that this forward-thinking approach will create opportunities for underrepresented candidates and set a precedent for the industry. By focusing on skills, experience, and potential, the industry can work together to create a more inclusive workforce that values individuals beyond formal education.  

JLL is also one of BOMA/Chicago's partners fostering career development through an apprenticeship program with the City Colleges of Chicago. As part of this program, JLL will hire students and offer practical, real-world experience. In addition, JLL will further support employees' professional development by providing tuition reimbursement for team members pursuing their bachelor's degree.

Contact BOMA/Chicago about the NEW apprenticeship program!
Has your company changed its education requirements for CRE positions? Contact Us!

Apply for the Ollie Scholarship!

The BOMA/Chicago Foundation is accepting applications for the Reginald L. Ollie Inclusion and Outreach Scholarship. This scholarship provides the $10,000 full tuition to underrepresented professionals in the commercial real estate industry to achieve the Real Property Administrator (RPA) designation.

The scholarship application deadline is February 6, 2024. 

Download the Application
Learn More

Consider Making a Donation to the Foundation!

The mission of the BOMA/Chicago Foundation is to advance the development of emerging talent in commercial real estate, inclusive of underrepresented groups, through education, exposure, and outreach.

The Foundation and 28-year-old Diversity Committee are 100% committed to promoting diversity, equity, and inclusion in commercial real estate. As we continue to expand our efforts, we also need to expand and grow our resources. 


Donations and the interest earned from them will be unrestricted. We will use these funds to support all of the Foundation’s current and future programming, including scholarships, career days, student building tours, financial empowerment classes, internships, and more. 


You and your company can play a part in supporting the BOMA/Chicago Foundation.

Thank you in advance for your support!  

Click Here to Donate!

The BOMA/Chicago Foundation is qualified as a charitable organization under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. Donations to the Foundation are tax-deductible as charitable contributions or as ordinary and necessary business expenses. Donors should check with their tax advisors. 

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