October 29, 2020
Each day, our CRE professionals strive for personal, building and city-wide excellence. In a year of unprecedented challenges, many of us are also striving to have deep and meaningful conversations and find actionable ways to bring fundamental change to our city and the world.

In today's newsletter, you will read stories of CRE leaders who believe in a better tomorrow...and they want YOUR help! Bridgette Battle, our Diversity Committee Chair, has written a special message and has shared the Committee's step-by-step overview of what you and your company can do to create a diverse and inclusive workplace. Bridgette also invites you to get involved by becoming a Diversity Ambassador. As an Ambassador, you will work hand-in-hand with our Diversity Committee in making measurable, positive steps in diversifying the CRE industry. You can also read a blog post from one of our current Ambassadors, Angel Brown (Piedmont Office Realty Trust), to learn more about the program and how you can get involved.

Today's newsletter also highlights our scholarship recipients. As you will see, the hardships of 2020 have not stopped our recipients from achieving personal and professional success.

We also invite you to read through inspiring testimonials from our 2020 Foundation Sponsors, including Platinum Sponsor (Cyclone Energy Group) and our Gold Sponsors (EQ Office, Health Care Service Corporation, G3 Construction Group, TW Chicago, 311 South Wacker, The Merchandise Mart, Able Services, J.C. Anderson and Zeller).

We will continue to keep you in the loop about our BOMA/Chicago Foundation scholarship recipients, volunteers, donors and diversity initiatives.

If you would like to become a sponsor, make a donation or learn more about the BOMA/Chicago Foundation, please reach out to us at any time. We thank each of you for your ongoing support.
Message from Bridgette Battle
Diversity Committee Chair
General Manager at L. J. Sheridan & Co.
2020 Foundation Gold Sponsor
Workplace diversity is a topic near and dear to my heart. As a minority woman who has worked in Chicago’s CRE industry for 20 years, I understand why we should continually strive to diversify our industry, support minority professionals and have honest conversations about our life experiences.
When I stepped into the role of the Diversity Committee Chair in September 2019 (after serving on the Committee for 11 years), I was determined to ensure the Committee continued its 25-year legacy. Leading up to my first meeting as Chairwoman, I thought of Reggie Ollie approaching the BOMA/Chicago Board in July 1995 about creating this Committee. Reggie is a pioneer. He is a man who dedicated over 30 years to our industry. Reggie knew that in order to make Chicago a world-renowned city for tenants and owners, we did not just need beautiful buildings… we also needed leaders who reflected the diverse residents of the Windy City.
When Reggie asked the Board to create a Diversity Committee, Patrick Caruso (my boss and mentor at L.J. Sheridan & Co) was the BOMA/Chicago President. Patrick fully supported Reggie back in 1995. And – to this day – Pat remains one of the most passionate supporters of the Diversity Committee and L.J. Sheridan & Co has been a sponsor of the Celebration every year since its inception. In some ways, it feels as though the torch has been passed onto me and our entire Committee. We are the next generation of leaders who must now create a better and more equitable future for the leaders of tomorrow. And that is exactly what our Committee is doing. Even during a worldwide pandemic, we continue to work with local organizations, high schools and colleges to speak to underrepresented professionals about jobs in CRE. Not even COVID can stop us. Just like Reggie, we are fearless and persistent pioneers!
The Diversity Committee has also created a document that gives a step-by-step overview of what you and your company can do to create a diverse and inclusive workplace. You can read through this document here. We have many recommendations – from contacting local colleges to post jobs, investing in education programs for your staff, creating Employee Resource Groups, facilitating transparent conversations about race, diversity, equity and inclusion…and much more. YOU can help us strengthen and diversify our industry and this document is an overview of how you can help us – starting today!
Our Diversity Committee has accomplished so much in 25 years. But we still have a long way to go. Will you join us on this journey?
I encourage you to reach out to me at any time with comments, questions or concerns. I can be reached at bridgettebattle@ljsheridan.com. Thank you for your continued support of the Diversity Committee and I cannot wait to see what the future holds for us.
Updates from BOMA/Chicago Foundation
Scholarship Recipients

Liliana Leon, CMCP, RPA, LEED Green Associate
2017 Ollie Scholarship Recipient
Assistant General Manager at JLL
Diversity Committee Vice Chair
JLL is our 2020 Diamond Sponsor!

Almost four years ago, I concluded my Ollie scholarship acceptance speech with the forethought that “my aspirations and achievements will bring a greater purpose, not only for myself, but for those people with the passion to dream, the strength to endure and the patience to acquire.” It is a moment in my life in which I frequently reference as a reminder to be tenacious in all of my endeavors.
Since then, I have become an Assistant General Manager with JLL at a beautiful Class-A building and I have also earned the CMCP, RPA and LEED Green Associate accreditation. And now, I am excited to announce that I am an MBA candidate at DePaul University…making me a Double Demon!
I recognize that my remarkable support network makes it possible for me to invest in myself and help others turn their own dreams into a reality. As I look out my office window and see my vibrant city, I am truly grateful – to my husband and children for their love, support and patience, to my colleagues and mentors for their encouragement and guidance and also to the BOMA/Chicago Foundation for providing me the platform and believing in me to lead our 25-year-old Diversity Committee as Vice Chair. This industry has so much to offer and I will continue to do my part to advocate for diversity, inclusion and belonging.

Marisol Olvera
2011 Ollie Scholarship Recipient
Senior Property Manager at EQ Office
Diversity Committee Member
2020 Foundation Gold Sponsor

EQ Office is a proud member of BOMA/Chicago. It is no secret...DIVERSITY is needed in CRE. I am honored to represent the minority group in our industry and by being an active member and volunteering on the Diversity Committee. Through BOMA/Chicago, I have met so many wonderful people. I am going on 20 years in the industry, I have noticed that with the right tools, mentoring and the support of your company anything is possible! My advice to the next generation is find the person that can push your growth through mentoring.
Vivian Orozco
2020 Ollie Scholarship Recipient
Property Administrator at Sterling Bay
Diversity Ambassador

Before everything shut down in March, I had just started working at my newest property, 600 West Chicago, for a month. I am now going on eight months at the property and diving in on all sorts of projects. For example, I lead the Green Team to help establish green initiatives for our tenants and the building.
Since earning the Ollie Scholarship in February 2020, I have completed two more RPA classes (Design Ops I and Leasing & Marketing). This means that I am currently halfway through the RPA program! I am also in the process of completing my post-license education as an Illinois Real Estate broker.
I’ve been involved in many BOMA/Chicago initiatives since joining the CRE industry. I attend as many webinars as possible and I am also a Diversity Ambassador. I am very grateful for all the opportunities available to me through BOMA/Chicago and I look forward to my involvement in the future!
Currently, I am living in Logan Square and try to enjoy all the wonderful cuisine the area has to offer! I really recommend ‘Café con Leche’ located on Milwaukee Ave!
Become a Diversity Ambassador Today!

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 (virtually until conditions are safe)
  • 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.
2021 Scholarship Opportunities
Mark your calendars to apply for $10K full tuition RPA scholarships!

Full Designation Scholarship: Applications Due November 4
Needs-based scholarship that pays the $10,000 tuition for all eight RPA/FMA classes

Ollie Scholarship: Opens November 12 and Due February 3
Scholarship for underrepresented CRE professionals and pays the $10,000 tuition for all eight RPA classes
Foundation Sponsor Spotlight
Thank you to our generous sponsors and volunteers!
Benjamin A. Skelton
President at Cyclone Energy Group
Four Year Sponsor (2017 to 2020)
Platinum Sponsor in 2020
Photo Booth Sponsor in 2019
Gold Sponsor in 2017 and 2018

Over the past five years, Cyclone Energy Group has been a supporter of the BOMA/Chicago Foundation through attending and sponsoring their various events. And in 2019, we became a BOMA/Chicago member. We admire the Foundation's efforts to initiate greater diversity within our industry. Diversity is something we have always practiced within our company and advocated for within our community. Now more than ever, this is an important mission. Our partnership with BOMA/Chicago and its members allows us to learn what is important in building operations and provide better service to our clients. We look forward to our continued involvement in the years to come.

Geoff Credi
Director of Corporate Real Estate at Health Care Service Corporation
2020 Gold Sponsor & Venue Host of 2016 Celebration

BlueCross BlueShield of Illinois is honored to support the BOMA/Chicago Foundation. The work and commitment of the Foundation and Diversity Committee strategically aligns with the Blue Cross BlueShield of Illinois commitment to diversity and inclusion. Making a difference by turning words and slogans into action by hiring, promoting and retaining diverse talent is the core of real change. Thanks to the Diversity Committee and the BOMA/Chicago leadership and staff for the work you do every year to make the annual Diversity Celebration a huge success. I look forward, as I am sure many of you do, to celebrating and honoring the 2021 scholarship recipient together next year!

Matt Guidarelli
President at G3 Construction Group and Vice President at Hygieneering, Inc.
Five Year Gold Sponsor (2016 to 2020)
Bar Sponsor in 2018

The G3 Construction Group has been truly honored to support the BOMA/Chicago Foundation and the annual Ollie Scholarship since 2016 as a Gold Sponsor. We also participated in an amazing Pass With Flying Colors Career Day for high school students, where I gave a presentation about the construction sector. It was absolutely a pleasure to present to a very diverse audience of youth that are truly our future. The mentorship program that the Ollie Scholarship provides has proven to be an excellent aspect of the program to properly develop and promote young professionals within the industry. For example, Teresa Amaro, a prior recipient of the Ollie Scholarship, is one of the sharpest, nicest and amazing property managers that I have had the pleasure to work with in my 34 years in the commercial real estate industry. G3 and Hygieneering will always work to support and promote programs that combat inequality and enhance successful diversity within the CRE industry and the Ollie Scholarship program is an excellent platform to support this vital goal. Thank you BOMA/Chicago for all that you do! Our team of Construction and Environmental Health & Safety professionals look forward to working with many future Ollie Scholarship recipients! We also plan to support and attend the annual Diversity Celebration next year...hopefully in-person!

Mark Guzzino
Principal at TW Chicago
2020 Gold Sponsor & Events Committee Member

Since the start of TW Chicago, we have been a strong supporter of the BOMA/Chicago Foundation. I have had the opportunity to be a member of the Events Committee and take part in planning a number of the amazing social gatherings, galas, celebrations, expos and classics, all raising money for this amazing Foundation and chosen charities. Myself, along with my team, have met so many great people through networking events and had the ability to take advantage of some of the educational programs, all sponsored by BOMA/Chicago. Our team is grateful and will always support such a great organization.

Gannon O'Brien
Property Manager for Zeller at 311 South Wacker
Three Year (2018 to 2020) Celebration Gold Sponsor

311 S. Wacker is very proud to continue sponsoring the BOMA/Chicago Foundation. As a member of BOMA/Chicago’s Diversity Committee, I have seen firsthand the positive impacts the Foundation has had through its outreach and scholarship initiatives. Diversity and inclusion of all groups is of greatest importance and we are committed to doing our part to ensure everyone has a seat at the table. It is without question that the Foundation’s efforts to champion diversity and inclusion will reshape the commercial real estate industry for the next generation, and that is something we can all be proud of. 311 S. Wacker and Zeller look forward to the Foundation’s continued success in this mission.

Kristin Pabst
Senior Property Manager at The Merchandise Mart
Five Year Gold Sponsor (2016 to 2020)
Events Committee Chair

theMART is proud to be a sponsor through BOMA/Chicago’s initiatives of encouraging diversity and inclusion within the commercial real estate industry. The Ollie Scholarship along with Full and Single Course Scholarships have an immediate and everlasting impact on their recipients. As an RPA/FMA designation holder myself, I can attest that these certifications absolutely changed the trajectory of my career and the opportunities that followed. I am encouraged by the growth of the annual Diversity Celebration and its ability to continually provide more scholarships, but even more so, impressed by the history of BOMA/Chicago’s diversity and inclusion commitment. The Diversity Committee was founded by the scholarship’s namesake, Reggie Ollie, 25 years ago. While a lot of work has been done in the last 25 years, we as an industry have so much more to do to ensure opportunities continue to be made available to underrepresented groups through mentorships, education and professional growth. Supporting the Foundation through sponsorship is one way for our organization to make a measurable step in diversifying the commercial real estate industry.  

Brian Staunton
Regional Manager at Able Services
Five Year Gold Sponsor (2016 to 2020)
Diversity Committee Member Since 2009

Able is proud to be a supporter of the BOMA/Chicago Foundation and I am proud to be a member of the Diversity Committee. I’ve seen first-hand the impact the Diversity Committee has had on young adults seeking career opportunities in our industry. We believe in the importance of giving back and assisting with a helping hand wherever needed. As a mentor, I’ve had the pleasure of working with many Reginald L. Ollie Scholarship recipients and have been energized by the results as I witness their careers blossoming. I look forward to the future efforts of the BOMA/Chicago Foundation as well as the Diversity Committee as we continue to evolve the Chicago real estate industry.

Mike Yazbec
President at J.C. Anderson
2020 Foundation Gold Sponsor

J.C. Anderson is proud to be a Gold Sponsor of the BOMA/Chicago Foundation. Although this year looks different, we know that the community and initiatives will continue virtually. Through the Ollie Scholarship, the Full Designation Scholarship and the Single Course Scholarship, JCA supports BOMA/Chicago’s efforts in the growth of underrepresented professionals in the CRE industry, strengthening their knowledge and expanding their contacts and career opportunities. At JCA, we’re driven by what’s inside. Interiors matter, but so does character. Committed to working with small and diversity-certified businesses, we work to foster our relationships with certified Minority and Women-Owned Businesses. We are an equal opportunity employer and support affirmative action initiatives in all employment practices. JCA looks forward to supporting BOMA/Chicago’s efforts in 2020 and beyond, driving diversity through scholarship support and mentorship within the CRE community.

Sam Zeller
COO at Zeller
Ten Year Sponsor! Zeller has sponsored the Diversity Celebration since the very first event!

Zeller recognizes the very real challenges of cultivating opportunities in the real estate industry. We are extremely proud to support diversity through the BOMA/Chicago Foundation, knowing how integral the organization has been and continues to be in elevating career opportunities. The Foundation shares our goals of increased inclusion and representation, with the knowledge that these are the initiatives that lead to lasting changes in each company and the industry as a whole. That work is most successful when it builds on existing industry strengths in networking and exposure, making the BOMA/Chicago diversity initiatives that much more powerful. We look forward to Chicago taking a leading role in empowering a more representative community of real estate professionals to carry the industry into the next decade.
Learn More About the BOMA/Chicago Foundation
Watch a Video Highlighting our Volunteers!

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!

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.
2020 BOMA/Chicago Foundation Sponsors
Thank you for your support!



Thank you to our 2020 BOMA/Chicago Premier Partners!