The African American Real Estate Professionals of Los Angeles brought together a collection of Black professionals to network and socialize.
By Jason Lewis
Post & Beam was the scene for a recent business mixer which brought in Black professionals in the commercial real estate industry. The African American Real Estate Professionals (AAREP) of Los Angeles hosted this mixer at the Black-owned restaurant at the Baldwin Hills Crenshaw Plaza.
“We seek to provide an opportunity to 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 membership includes developers, construction executives, architects, asset managers, brokers, finance, real estate professionals, and law 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.”
This networking event creates an environment where Black professionals can exchange ideas about various aspects of the real estate industry.
“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.
It was important for AAREP to host this event at a Black-owned business in a Black neighborhood.
“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 in that space as other companies and organizations are coming into the community.”
It was also important for AAREP to form partnerships with legacy Black-owned businesses in the Los Angeles area. One of the event’s sponsors was One United Bank.
“It’s critically important for us to align them with our organization, giving them access to our pipeline of commercial real estate professionals,” Brown said.
One United Bank and AAREP both look to enrich Black communities.
“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.
For more information about AAREP, visit www.aarepla.org.