WDC 2021 Archive


WDC Holiday Cocktail Party

December 29, 2021

We had another fun, interactive party to share inspirations and accomplishments in break out conversation rooms and to continue our tradition of featuring inspiring women entrepreneurs and artisans. We were joined by Detroit entrepreneur and retail curator, Roslyn Karamoko, who hosted us at her beautiful store, rotating art gallery and community space in 2018, Détroit Is The New Black (DITNB). Roslyn is the founder and CEO of DITNB and is expanding her innovative work nationally as VP of Strategic Development at Neighborhood Goods.


WDC Investment Forum on Self-Directed IRAs

November 17, 2021

We learned how to invest in real estate projects and new developments by setting up your own self-directed IRA or raise capital for your own projects using other people's IRAs. This Investment Forum presented the key steps that are needed to form a self directed IRA and discussed how investors and developers are using this tool to provide capital to real estate developments across the US.

The panel featured Brittany Melville, a certified Self-Directed IRA Professional (SDIP) and the Director of Marketing and Sales at Next Generation, and Susan Konsella, an experienced real estate investor and award winning broker in the Denver area who has personally invested in new construction and invested her retirement funds in residential rental developments. Kate Kerrigan, co-founder and principal of Seven Willow Collaborative and former chief operating officer of Beachwold Residential, shared her insights from acquiring, owning and managing multifamily projects about how to successfully invest in real estate, manage investor relations and grow your investor base.

The panel was moderated by WDC Program Chair, Jennifer Schwartzman, former Senior Managing Director at Newmark who managed the marketing and sales of major development sites and investment properties in Manhattan and the greater New York area.


WDC Developer & Investment Forum, featuring Alchemy Springs and Scandinative

October 27, 2021

This program featured women developers who are leading the development of beautifully designed spas on the East and West Coast. Alchemy Springs is planned as a 16,000+ SF urban oasis and hydrothermal spa in downtown San Francisco CA. Scandinative is opening the first of several, Nordic-style thermal spas in Old Town Alexandria VA. Experienced developers and wellness specialists Suzanne Corcoran and Elizabeth Costello are leading the development of Scandinative, and Anne Cannady and Kimberly DeVico are leading Alchemy Springs. These projects offer unique development and investment opportunities that capitalize upon a growing interest in health and wellness led by talented teams of women from across the country.


Tour and Rooftop Garden Reception at Omni Ecosystems featuring Molly Meyer

October 11, 2021

Our Chicago program featured Molly Meyer, CEO and Founder of Omni Ecosystems, where we saw first-hand her company's transformational work to integrate natural landscapes into buildings across the US. Molly and her dynamic team toured us through their headquarters, which they developed and renovated, ending with a presentation/reception at their spectacular rooftop garden event space where we were joined by other Chicago entrepreneurs.

A pioneering sustainable green infrastructure company, Omni has received awards nationwide for the lush natural landscapes and crop farms it has created on urban rooftops throughout cities such as Chicago, Boston and Milwaukee.  Most recently, Omni was named a Fast Company’s World Changing Ideas finalist for its Wild Mile Framework plan along the Chicago River, created in collaboration with SOM. Omni recently moved its headquarters to the history rich Bronzeville neighborhood of Chicago, purchasing and renovating an abandoned industrial facility that formerly was a dairy company bottling factory.  Omni’s site selection was intentional, designed to build local community wealth and help reverse the historic levels of disinvestment and decades of neglect the greater Bronzeville community has experienced.  Omni’s community outreach is substantial, including hiring from the community and creating a ground floor non-profit co-working space that prioritizes Bronzeville residents as members



Project Forum - ESQUINA, Richmond CA

September 22, 2021

Our fifth Project Forum advised WDC emerging developer member, Monica Wilson on ESQUINA, her first solo ground-up, residential development located in Richmond, CA. In keeping with the spirit of the project and her commitment to community building, Monica will serve as the General Contractor, working with local, family-owned small businesses specializing in MEP, carpentry, framing, roofing, and foundation construction.

Elizabeth Puccinelli moderated the experienced panel of advisors: Lena Robinson of First Republic Bank, Ashley Sadowski of the Mid-America Regional Council and Kelly Snider of Snider Consulting and Director of the SJSU Real Estate Program. Coordinated by Project Forum Co-chairs, Jessica Newhouse and Adrienne Teleki, each WDC Project Forum is tailored to the specific needs of developer and begins with a short presentation by the developer regarding the proposed development and its key challenges. This is followed by questions, advice and actionable direction from the expert panel. Audience members also have an opportunity to share resources, provide advice, and learn more about how to help advance the development at the end of the session.


Investment Forum Roundtable Part 2

July 22, 2021

Our second Investment Forum Roundtable further explored WDC’s investment framework that was developed and beta-tested with women developers from across the country, and key strategies WDC could deploy to support women developers and help them access capital. This program featured emerging Joanna Bartholomew, CEO and founder of O'Hara Developments, who is raising capital on Small Change, a real estate crowdfunding platform founded by Eve Picker.  Joanna presented her project, Aruka Midway, a family friendly development in a revitalizing neighborhood in East Baltimore located in a federally designated Opportunity Zone.  Joanna is leveraging her construction and real estate expertise gained from working with her Dad in Bartholomew Construction to develop a transformative development in a row-house neighborhood located within 10 minutes of Johns Hopkins University, and the historic Baltimore Inner Harbor.


Joint Program with ULI WLI & ULI Colorado (Dana Crawford)

June 25, 2021

In collaboration with ULI WLI and ULI Colorado, we’re hosted a fireside chat with Denver’s award-winning developer and preservationist Dana Crawford. In conversation with Laura E. Aldrete, Executive Director of Denver Community Planning and Development, Dana shared provocative insights from her long history in developing beautiful buildings that make Denver such a special place and from advising on historic revitalization efforts in more than 50 communities. Beginning her development career in the 1960s when women were even less visible in the real estate industry, Dana took bold steps to restore buildings to their original glory at a time when urban renewal meant destroy and build new. Her vision to revitalize a key downtown block led to the establishment of Denver’s vibrant Larimer Square and the city’s first historic district designation. While now commonplace in many urban hubs, Dana was the first developer to bring loft living to the Mile High City, converting former factory buildings as a way to provide housing for the future while preserving history. Dana continues to develop projects and inspire women across the globe, including inspiring the formation of WDC. In honor of her legacy contributions to Denver, her stunning hotel restoration in Union Station was renamed the Crawford Hotel.

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Summer Solstice Caliente Cocktail Party

June 24, 2021

For WDC’s third Cocktail Party, we welcomed the first day of Summer!  This WDC program celebrated both the heat in the real estate market and the heat in the summer air by learning about “Caliente” Cocktails from Julia Celeste.  Known in San Antonio as the Food Chick, Julia spent 14 years as the dining reviewer and culinary editor for San Antonio magazine, was the local Zagat guide editor, an adjunct writing instructor at the Culinary Institute of America in San Antonio, and has co-authored a cookbook with a renowned Hill Country chef.

Julia is highlighting the culinary heritage in San Antonio through private tours of ground breaking restaurants, insider dives and noteworthy sites.   Julia’s company, Food Chick Tours (FoodChickTours.com) gives guests personalized, insider access behind the scenes, and shares tips only locals know.



Project Forum - Renovare Development's Munising Marketplace

May 25, 2021

Our fourth Project Forum focused on Renovare Development's Munising Marketplace, a proposed transformational project near Michigan’s famous Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore. The mixed-use development will integrate 38 units of workforce housing, ground floor retail and a new center for the Michigan Workforce Development Initiative.  Developers Jill Ferrari and Shannon Morgan presented their initial capital raising strategy, which includes the use of New Markets Tax Credits, State funding and potential Opportunity Zone investment. The Project Forum was chaired by Molly McCabe of Hayden Tanner and included expert panelists Anna Mackey of Sister City,  Elizabeth Propp of Community Preservation Corporation and Charu Singh of Emergent Capital who advised the developers on how to obtain additional capital and refine their investment pitch.


Investment Forum Roundtable

May 6, 2021

Our inaugural Investment Forum Roundtable presented WDC’s investment framework that was developed and beta-tested with eleven women developers from across the country. Several of these developers joined us, including developer and entrepreneur Eve Picker who founded Small Change, a crowdfunding platform that matches developers of transformative real estate projects with investors. We explored tools and strategies that WDC could deploy to support emerging women developers and help them access capital based on WDC’s investment research and analysis led by Dasom Kim, plus ways to support women in the development supply chain like iFundWomen.


Room of Our Own - Retail Strategies for Success with Downtown Works and flora and henri

April 8, 2021

Retail was already undergoing dramatic change before Covid-19, but the pandemic has further disrupted our retail landscape and changed the way many retailers are doing business. This Room of Our Own featured three creative retail professionals with proven success in curating retail experiences that draw customers, keep them engaged and are charming places to visit. Midge McCauley and Kelly Kost of Downtown Works are at the forefront of the urban retail industry, drawing on their deep experience from working with developers and retailers across the nation to successfully transform downtown retail environments. Jane Hedreen is the owner of flora and henri, which has beautiful retail stores in Seattle WA and Larkspur CA that offer a breathtaking collection of unique, sought after and inspired creations for children, women, home and gifts. We had this provocative conversation about how to succeed in our ever-changing retail environment.


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St. Paddy's Green Cocktail Party

March 17, 2021

For WDC’s second Cocktail Party, we celebrated the green in St. Paddy’s Day! WDC's selkies worked on a creative program to celebrate women who are greening our world with green buildings, green design and green cocktails! We heard how Lisa Protter is greening the world with her company, Organic Nectars, which has won the Fancy Food Show’s GOLD award for Outstanding Organic Product of the Year among other industry honors. Lisa shared two margarita cocktail recipes that feature hand crafted ingredients made by Organic Nectars in small batches, inspired by her company motto- Better for you and the planet. We looked forward to toasting the start of Spring and building our support network in 2021



In Conversation with Developer Vicki Davis of Urban Atlantic and Juanita Hardy, Tiger Management

March 5, 2021

As President of Urban Atlantic Development, Vicki Davis has managed the development and investment of billions of dollars in real estate projects throughout the US. Currently, Urban Atlantic is transforming the 65-acre Water Reed Hospital in Bethesda, Maryland into a new 3.1 million square foot mixed income community incorporating housing, commercial, medical, educational, arts, cultural and recreation uses. Vicki shared her insights into the urban development, asset management and investment process and talking about the importance of creative placemaking in conversation with Juanita Hardy of Tiger Management Consulting Group who co-authored the ULI publication: Creative Placemaking- Sparking Development with Arts and Culture. Vicki and Urban Atlantic discussed how they delivered value for its partners and neighbors by developing vibrant, inclusive, mixed-use and mixed-income urban communities.



WDC Investment Forum Continues--

February 9, 2021

Deeper Dive: How to Structure Successful Development Partnerships and Investments

Developer Kim Diamond  of Harvest Properties moderated a discussion with experts on all sides of development deals– Attorney Beth Pennington (Pennington LLP), Investor Renee McDonnell  IHP Capital Partners) and Developer Darlene Carter (C.W. Urban). Beth described effective ways to structure development deals that work for all parties and provide fair compensation. Building on their collaborations over many years, Renee and Darlene shared how they have recently partnered on a cutting edge, infill condominium development, “thePenny” located in one of Salt Lake City’s top emerging neighborhoods. Darlene and Renee discussed best practices for successfully negotiating and implementing partnerships that capitalize on the unique features and economics of each deal. Audience members walked away with a deeper understanding of the essential ingredients needed to create positive, long-term development partnerships.


The Time for Modular Construction

January 21, 2021

Featuring Dafna Kaplan of Cassette (Los Angeles) and Naomi Porat of Factory OS (Vallejo, former Naval Shipyard on Mare Island)

Is now the time? Prefabricated, off-site construction is not a new concept, but it is attracting a surge of interest and investment as construction costs and schedules become increasingly unpredictable, certainly exacerbated by Covid. According to a 2019 McKinsey report, recent modular projects have “established a solid track record of accelerating project timelines by 20 to 50%,” and there is significant promise of cost savings.  Dafna and Naomi are seasoned construction professionals and founders of modular start-ups, each with a different approach to prefabrication. We discussed the benefits of modular construction, as well as addressed some of the obstacles including financing and design.  Modular has tremendous potential to reduce waste and a project’s carbon footprint, but the construction industry has been slow to embrace it.  This WDC panel was moderated by Katie Faulkner of West Faulkner (Boston) and coordinated by Rebecca Martinez of Omgivning  (LA).