June 24, 2021

Updates from BOMA/Chicago Foundation
Scholarship Recipients

Zaena Rihani, RPA, CMCP
2018 Full Designation Scholar
Assistant General Manager for Bucksbaum Leasing at NEWCITY
In November 2020, I joined the Bucksbaum Leasing team as the Assistant General Manager. In this role, I manage a multi-use property at NEWCITY located in Lincoln Park. I decided to take this new role to expand my CRE knowledge and experience a different side of real estate.
Before I transitioned into this role, I was the Assistant Real Estate Manager for CBRE at a Class A building, 150 North Riverside. I was part of the property management team that opened this 1.2 million square foot building in 2017. In 2020, we applied for the Over 1 Million Square Feet TOBY award and we won local and regional awards! 150 North Riverside will now compete in the BOMA International TOBY competition in October and I am truly proud of this accomplishment.
In my role at CBRE, I also collected tenant energy benchmarking data and assisted with 150 North Riverside’s Monitoring Based Commissioning project. These efforts increased the building’s EnergyStar score substantially. I also spearheaded obtaining the BOMA 360 certification for our building.
In January 2020, I officially earned my RPA designation and in the summer of last year, I was also awarded the J. Michael Coleman Scholarship by BOMA International. I continue to serve on the BOMA/Chicago Foundation Scholarship Committee, where I review applications and interview applicants who apply for the Full Designation Scholarship.
In February 2021, I was humbled to be named BOMA/Chicago’s Emerging Leader of the Year. I am so grateful for the opportunities and the people I have met throughout my property management career, which shaped me into the professional I am today. In May 2021, BOMA International nominated me as a CRE Rising Star.
I truly miss my BOMA/Chicago peers, but I look forward to seeing all of you at future BOMA/Chicago Foundation events...hopefully soon!

Yordanos Ghdey-Long, RPA
2014 Ollie Scholar
Property Manager for Unico Properties at U.S. Bancorp Tower
After receiving the Reginald L. Ollie Inclusion and Outreach Scholarship in April 2014 and completing my RPA designation in 2016, I knew there would be great opportunities ahead. As a recipient, I sat on the Diversity Committee and was provided with career guidance through an assigned mentor. In continuing my career in CRE, I was the 2017 recipient of the J. Bradley Kennedy Scholarship through BOMI International to pursue the HP Designation.

I currently manage the largest building in Portland, Oregon, the U.S. Bancorp Tower, also known as Big Pink. I play an active role on the COVID-19 Response Committee for Unico Properties, which provides support to all Real Estate Services teams across our portfolio. The Ollie Scholarship was absolutely essential in building my confidence at the start of my career and it continues to be a milestone I proudly look back on.
On a personal note, I now have two beautiful women in my life…my two daughters! Isabella is 22 months old and Olivia is four months old.

Karen Le
2019 Full Designation Scholar
Associate Real Estate Manager for CBRE at The National Chicago
I am truly excited to announce that in April 2021, I was awarded the CBRE Property Management's Associate Real Estate Manager of the Year award! I am extremely grateful to Jacqueline M. Compton, Cory Roberts, and Neil Pendleton for their guidance, leadership, and continued support. This recognition would not have been possible without the support from the CBRE team and Commerz Real team at The National (125 S Clark).
Since being awarded the Ollie Scholarship in 2019, I have taken all of the RPA classes and I transferred from working at Union Station to where I am now – The National. Since I began at The National, I have worked on several capital projects which include fire escape repairs, elevator mod, generator room ceiling repairs, roof anchor installation and façade repairs. I have also developed the building’s life safety emergency preparedness manual and created videos to educate tenants on emergency evacuation and how to use our new destination dispatch elevators.
The BOMA/Chicago Foundation Launches Endowment Campaign
The BOMA/Chicago Foundation and our 26-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. Under the leadership and guidance of CRE leaders and our Board of Directors, we have launched the BOMA/Chicago Foundation endowment campaign.

Our goal is to raise $250,000 by the middle of 2022. 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, internships and more.

We have already raised $15,000 in personal donations from leaders on our Foundation Board – Lance Knez (Hines), Derrick Johnson (Zeller) and Bob Six (Zeller). M&J Wilkow and O’Connor & Battle LLP will also be donating $5,000 to the endowment campaign – bringing our total raised so far to $25,000!

You and your company can play a part in supporting the BOMA/Chicago Foundation. Make a donation today! Click here to be directed to our endowment donation webpage. Thank you in advance for your support!

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.
Over 120 Attended the May 25 Virtual Diversity Panel!
Over 120 attended the BOMA/Chicago Foundation’s May 25 diversity panel – Historical Exclusion, Current Barriers & Becoming an Ally for an Equitable Future.

During the panel, our speakers shared thoughts on DEI strategies that companies can implement and how individuals can be allies for diversity and change.

Thank you to our speakers!
• Michelle Mills Clement, CEO at Chicago Association of REALTORS
• Maureen Ehrenberg, CEO of Blue Skyre
• Michael Emerson, Professor and Department Head at ‎University of Illinois at Chicago
• Freddy Flores, Regional Sales Manager for the Midwest Region at Vantage Elevation
• Bridgette Battle, General Manager at L.J. Sheridan & Co.
• Liliana Leon, General Manager at JLL

Diversity Committee Hosts Virtual CRE Career Days at Chicagoland High Schools
& Colleges

With the help of our Diversity Committee and Ambassadors, we held ten career events at local high schools and colleges in 2020. Given the success of these career days, even in a virtual setting, the Committee has doubled-down on hosting career days in 2021!

In the first six months of 2021, the Committee has held eleven virtual career events. You can learn more about each of these events below. We have several more career days lined up and we will update you about these programs in the next newsletter.

2021 CRE Career Days

Diversity Committee Helps Member Companies Hire Summer Interns

Through our strong relationships with National Louis University (NLU) and other local non-profits, BOMA/Chicago has access to strong internship candidates. These candidates come from diverse backgrounds and are first-generation college students.

We are so proud to announce that the Diversity Committee has already assisted five college students secure CRE internships for the summer of 2021! Able Services has hired one intern who is a student at the Illinois Institute of Technology. Hines has hired two interns from NLU and DePaul University. Glenstar has hired two NLU summer interns. Thank you so much to Able Services, Hines and Glenstar for supporting our diversity initiatives and opening their doors to underrepresented students.
Are you looking to hire interns in Fall 2021 or Winter 2021/2022? If so, please reach out to Jaclynne Madden and she will connect you with students from local colleges and non-profits.
Become a Diversity Ambassador Today!
Meet your peers and volunteer at our diversity events!

Are you passionate about enhancing diversity, inclusion and equity within our industry? Then we want you to join us as a Diversity Ambassador!

By becoming a Diversity Ambassador, you will help the Diversity Committee and Foundation:

  • Facilitate honest conversations about diversity and inclusion by encouraging others (and yourself) to share stories and experiences
  • Educate and mentor underrepresented high school and college students about the CRE industry
  • Recruit underrepresented professionals to the CRE industry and create professional advancement opportunities
  • Host building tours, job shadow days and networking events
  • Plan D&I education programs

BOMA/Chicago members and our community-at-large are encouraged to become Diversity Ambassadors. You will work hand-in-hand with our Diversity Committee in making measurable, positive steps in diversifying the CRE industry. Our future leaders are right here in our own community and YOU can make a difference by volunteering alongside us.
Learn More About the BOMA/Chicago Foundation
The Foundation offers scholarships, CRE career days & more!

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. Learn more by visiting our website and watch a video highlighting our mission and volunteers.
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