April 30, 2020
As many of you know, the BOMA/Chicago Foundation Diversity Celebration would have been held today, April 30, at The Old Post Office. Although we cannot meet in person, we want you to know that our community and initiatives are as strong as ever. Our scholarship recipients are on a path to their RPA, we are exploring ways to virtually engage high school and college students and we remain committed to strengthening the CRE industry by recognizing and giving a voice to our diverse talent.

Throughout the year, we will keep you in the loop about our BOMA/Chicago Foundation scholarship recipients, volunteers, donors and our many other initiatives.

Today's newsletter features a special message from Reginald L. Ollie, our scholarship namesake, and a video that highlights our many volunteers who are the lifeblood of the Foundation. We also invite you to read through personal and inspiring testimonials from some of our 2020 Foundation Sponsors, including Platinum Sponsor, CBRE, and our Gold Sponsors, Piedmont Office Realty Trust, Trane, and M&J Wilkow.

We thank each of you for your ongoing support.

If you would like to become a 2020 Foundation sponsor, make a donation, learn more about the sponsorship opportunities or find out more about the BOMA/Chicago Foundation, please reach out to us at any time .
BOMA/Chicago Foundation Video
Watch a short clip that highlights our amazing volunteers and accomplishments!

The BOMA/Chicago Foundation is a strong non-profit organization that touches the lives of CRE emerging leaders and Chicago's underserved youth. Behind every successful non-profit stand the leaders who volunteer their time, expertise and uplifting spirits. Our volunteers walk the walk when it comes to diversity and that is why the Foundation is still going strong after 12 years. YOU are our lifeblood. YOU are the BOMA/Chicago Foundation! Thank you for all that you do...and we cannot wait to see you soon!
Lessons Learned Along the Way about Diversity and Inclusion

Thoughts from Reginald L. Ollie
Ollie Scholarship Namesake & BOMA/Chicago Lifetime Member

As far back as I can remember, the concept of diversity in all aspects of life has intrigued me. My involvement with diversity initiatives through BOMA/Chicago and its membership should come as no surprise. In the continuation of my journey as a Diversity Scientist without a portfolio, there are two important things I have learned that I want to pass on to you.
Sports is a Diversity Model to Emulate
With any sports teams, be it the celebrated USA Women’s National Soccer team or Super Bowl Champions, these teams have a common goal: Winning. This cannot be accomplished by a team where everyone is alike. When you are part of a team, sports or otherwise, the team members are diverse. Through this experience and exposure, team members learn to embrace and respect others’ skills and talents rather than focus on race, sexual orientation, political views, ethnicity or other types of diversity that exist. 
Sports embrace diversity in its traditional form. The business world should be no different. We do not have to be best friends with coworkers, but we need each other to succeed. The lesson to learn: the more an organization can embrace all aspects of diversity, the greater successes the organization can achieve.
Leaders rarely equate diversity with the notion of transformational leadership because the concept has been politicized and distorted over time. For many in the business community, the word “diversity” immediately brings to mind ideas of boring seminars and workshops along with forced interactions. In reality, diversity is one of the most critical components of successful team building. The power of diversity is found in the collaboration, chemistry and continuity that comes from a group of people who respect, embrace and work to leverage each other’s differences. “Differences” can be a difficult thing to appreciate, but teams that leverage their uniqueness are able to create a tapestry of dynamic interconnectedness that is difficult to beat.
Solicit Input About Diversity from the Historically Excluded
Decision makers and all leaders should invite the historically excluded to the organization’s table to discuss their feelings about diversity. This "inclusion" aspect cannot be overlooked or sidestepped. The assumption too often is made that managers and decision makers know how their colleagues feel. Leadership, in many cases, has relied on input from either a diversity consultant, a member from the historically excluded group within their organization or both. Like any other group, there are individual perspectives and opinions from each member of the team. Assuming that there is a monolithic perspective and opinion about diversity is a recipe for failure. Honest conversations and an invitation into that conversation are crucial. And this goes both ways. The historically excluded should seek out persons outside of their group to solicit their feelings about diversity within the organization as well.

How Can Your Organization Be a Leader and a Champion?
"Wheaties is the breakfast of champions." If only a simple breakfast could give us all a clear path to success. But as our passionate Foundation members and volunteers know in order to be a winning organization, diversity, inclusion and honest conversations are the fuel. Do you have what it takes to lead the way? The Foundation and Diversity Committee will always be here to help!
Foundation Sponsor Spotlight
Thank you to our generous sponsors and volunteers!
Teresa Amaro, RPA
Senior Real Estate Manager at CBRE

2013 Full Designation Scholarship Recipient, Vice Chair of the Scholarship Committee & Diversity Committee Member
CBRE is a 2020 Platinum Sponsor

The BOMA/Chicago Foundation and the Full Designation Scholarship I received have given me a great sense of belonging to the CRE community in Chicago. I certainly learned a great deal with each class, but the takeaway was much more than that. My network grew to include mentorships, colleagues and friendships I will have for life. I am also personally invested in Chicagoland diversity initiatives and now, as a member of the Diversity Committee, I work with others who are just as passionate about connecting and mentoring our underrepresented communities. I am a proud volunteer of the Foundation. We are making tremendous strides. I will always support its meaningful initiatives.
Angel Brown, RPA
Property Manager at Piedmont Office Realty Trust

2007 Ollie Scholarship Recipient, Scholarship Committee Member and Diversity Ambassador
Piedmont is a 2020 Gold Sponsor

One of the primary goals of the BOMA/Chicago Foundation is to grow and support underrepresented professionals in Chicago’s CRE industry. This is a major reason why I support the Foundation and its scholarship programs. The Foundation continues to be innovative in finding ways to carry out this primary goal and I am inspired by it. As a former Diversity Committee member and current Diversity Ambassador, I am privileged to see first-hand that the Foundation is full of people that do not just talk about change. They work diligently to bring about the changes they want to see in our CRE industry.
Nik Doukas
Account Executive at Trane

Diversity Ambassador
Trane is a 2020 Gold Sponsor

I’m proud to support the BOMA/Chicago Diversity Foundation alongside Trane Chicago for the rich expanse of opportunities we provide the diverse Chicago population. I’ve seen how opportunities in the right direction can change the course of an entire generation, firsthand, through my own family. My dad immigrated from Greece and my mom’s parents from Mexico, both sides finding opportunities to work hard and grow in Chicago. From downtown offices in the Loop to steel mills in Northwest Indiana, my family found the chance to build a fantastic life here. I believe it’s our duty to pay it forward and to make opportunities known and accessible to diverse talent. And I’m thrilled to work with other members on our impactful initiatives as a Diversity Ambassador.
Karen Le
Associate Real Estate Manager at CBRE

2019 Ollie Scholar & Diversity Committee Member
CBRE is a 2020 Platinum Sponsor

As a Diversity Committee member and BOMA/Chicago Foundation Reginald L. Ollie Inclusion and Outreach Scholarship recipient, I have witnessed the direct impact that our scholarship has on the recipients including myself. Not only did the Ollie Scholarship provide me with an opportunity to strengthen my CRE knowledge through the RPA designation program, it provided me with vast amount of exposure in the industry and allowed me to expand my professional network. I am forever grateful for the wonderful opportunity the Foundation has given me and strongly encourage those who are interested in the scholarship to apply. If you don’t get it the first time around, do not give up and try again. For me, third time’s the charm!
Becky Miles, RPA
Vice President of Office Property Management at M&J Wilkow

Foundation Board Member & Diversity Committee Member
M&J Wilkow is a 2020 Gold Sponsor

M&J Wilkow has long been a supporter of the BOMA/Chicago Foundation and its efforts to initiate greater diversity within our industry. We see the results of our diversity initiatives as we hire and engage a community of professionals who bring more to our organization because of diverse life experiences and backgrounds. We know this would not be the case without the thoughtful planning and actions of the Foundation. We look forward to continuing these efforts within our own organization and partnering to drive diversity through scholarship support and mentoring as our industry moves forward.
Lexie Polk
Real Estate Event Manager at CBRE

Diversity Committee Member
CBRE is a 2020 Platinum Sponsor

The BOMA/Chicago Foundation is world-class in its mission to strengthen and diversify our community. It has been a great privilege to have a seat at the table in the Diversity Committee, which works at the micro-level to empower underserved youth, communities and diverse individuals around the Chicagoland area. I believe these initiatives are of the utmost importance in not only strengthening our industry, but strengthening our city as well. As a Committee member, I volunteer for numerous events and initiatives. I cannot articulate enough how much the work of the Foundation MATTERS – Chicago’s underserved youth appreciate and value this work more than you know. Our Committee takes seriously Gandhi’s famous phrase, “Be the change you wish to see in the world.” I am grateful to be a part of it!
2020 BOMA/Chicago Foundation Sponsors
Thank you for your support!



Thank you to our 2020 BOMA/Chicago Premier Partners!