Started almost ten years ago by real estate trailblazer, Goldie B. Wolfe Miller, GBWM Women Leaders in Real Estate Initiative has now expanded from its original base at Roosevelt University to include all universities in the Chicagoland area and is exploring regional expansion.
The Initiative provides scholarships to highly qualified women who are seeking a graduate degree with a focus in real estate. In addition to the financial support, the Initiative partners with successful professionals in the field to provide mentoring, offers access to major industry events and this academic year will launch a leadership development series.
In the 2015 to 2016 academic year, participants–referred to as “Goldie Scholars”–were enrolled at Roosevelt University, the University of Chicago and Northwestern University.
“The end game is to provide the knowledge and leadership skills that make the Goldie Scholars valuable assets to the real estate industry and potential occupants of the corner office,” Wolfe Miller said. “We recruit the best and the brightest to become the next leaders in the industry. With over 40 graduates to date, Goldie Scholars are working at many of the most influential companies in the industry in Chicago, Milwaukee and as far away as San Francisco and New York City,” she added.
To continue to expand opportunities for the Goldie Scholars and provide the broadest experience possible, the Initiative recently formed an alliance with Urban Land Institute (ULI).
Every Goldie Scholar receives a ULI membership which provides them with members-only opportunities. The Initiative recently co-hosted ULI’s Women Leadership Initiative’s inaugural event in Chicago.
More than 250 professionals, including many of the Goldie Scholars, were in attendance. The evening brought together a powerhouse panel of senior women in commercial real estate to discuss the influences that have shaped their professional development.
In addition, there have been collaborative efforts with many of the other professional organizations in the industry, including CREW Chicago and the Chicago Association of REALTORS/Commercial Forum.
Now operating as an independent 501(c)(3), the Initiative recently held a sold out 3rd Annual Boat Cruise where scholars, mentors, corporate sponsors and professionals in the industry mingled and celebrated the Initiative’s past successes and shared in future plans for expanded success.
“We have been very busy making this transition to a more expanded program which is now open to students at more schools,” Karen Kraai, Senior Managing Director of Newmark Grubb Knight and President of the GBWM Board of Directors, said. “We have just completed an extensive strategic plan and are now embarking on an aggressive fundraising program as well as a re-branding initiative. We have built a terrific Board and are ready to take the Initiative on to even greater heights.”