The African American Real Estate Professionals of Los Angeles (AAREP LA) recently hosted a networking event in the heart of the Baldwin Hills community at Post & Beam. The event, which was co-sponsored by One United Bank, brought together Black commercial real estate professionals from across the region for the first time since the pandemic began.
“We seek to provide an opportunity for people of color active in commercial real estate – to see each other, to support each other, and to unite to build a coalition and increase the diversity in commercial real estate,” said Lynn King-Tolliver, founding board member of AAREP and president and CEO of Archere Investment Management.
AAREP LA membership includes developers, construction executives, architects, asset managers, brokers, finance, legal, and other real estate professionals. The organization has members who are industry leaders in their fields, and also young professionals who are working their way up the corporate ladder.
“We have multiple generations involved,” King-Tolliver said. “We have the young people and the veterans. Participation in AAREP gives the young people an opportunity to interact with the veterans for career advice and mentoring. We also, as the veterans, gain a lot from the young people. They bring an energy, a use and embracing of technology, and they show us what the next generation will do for this industry.”
While the organization has continued to offer virtual workshops and webinars throughout the pandemic, this event provided members with a comfortable environment to connect and exchange ideas about a number of industry related topics.
“I’m hearing about potential job offers, I’m hearing about investment partners, I’m hearing about some political things,” said Kimberly Brown, vice president and founding officer of AAREP, and managing director at Cushman & Wakefield.
The event also provided the organization with an opportunity to recirculate sponsorship dollars by intentionally supporting other Black-owned businesses from the community.
“In recent years with the explosion of impact investing, we have a lot more folks in impact, affordable housing, social impact, and community,” Brown said. “With that said, we’re now seeing the convergence of industry trade meets the community. It was super important for us to do something in the heart of LA. Post & Beam fit that bill perfect. And what that does, is it also helps us to connect with the community, and let the community know that we’re an organization of professionals that have the expertise to be a resource.”
The organization also wanted to use the opportunity to form partnerships with institutional Black-owned businesses in the area, such as event co-sponsor One United Bank.
With both entity’s actively looking to increase wealth opportunities in the Black community, it was “critically important for us to align them with our organization, giving them access to our pipeline of commercial real estate professionals,” Brown said.
“We believe in reducing the generational wealth gap, and we also feel very strongly that real estate investments are the best way to do that,” said Sherri Brewer, senior vice president and chief retail officer at One United Bank. “We strongly support all individuals that chose any profession associated with real estate.”
This event was also co-sponsored by Eastdil Secured and Innovative Housing Opportunities (IHO).
For more information about AAREP LA, visit www.aarepla.org.
This article was written by Jason Lewis for the Los Angeles Standard Newspaper.