Arbor’s Project Destined Mentors Train Tomorrow’s Real Estate Leaders
Founded in 2017, Project Destined has a mission to transform underrepresented young people into owners and stakeholders in their own communities. Today, it works with more than 2,500 students per year from over 350,000 colleges, universities, and high schools in more than 35 markets across the U.S., Europe, and Canada. Through its internship programs, Project Destined molds the next generation of real estate leaders by giving them an opportunity to directly interact with today’s leaders. For the last two years, Arbor employees have volunteered with Project Destined and received much more in return than they ever would have expected.
Mentees Received Hands-On Training from Arbor Executives
This spring, Arbor employees spent several hours a week working with a group of local Project Destined participants. “They are really smart, hungry, well-adjusted kids, which really stands out in this world today,” said Leah Fisher, SVP, Special Projects, Governance and Risk and Project Destined Team Lead.
Arbor’s team of mentors, which included Maria Elefante, Managing Director, Treasury, Sean Lucy, SVP, Structured Finance Underwriter, Juli Achee, SVP, Deputy Chief Underwriter, Agency Lending, Linor Shohet, SVP, Associate General Counsel, Russell Carlson, VP Deputy Chief Underwriter, Agency Lending, Jolene Vredenburg, AVP, Underwriting, and special guest Gianni Ottaviano, EVP, Structured Finance Production, worked directly with the aspiring real estate leaders of Project Destined as they prepared to compete against other teams in the program.
Over the course of eight weeks, Project Destined mentees receive 45+ hours (a combination of live and virtual) of training in the fundamentals of commercial real estate. They analyze live local real estate deals and make presentations to industry executives in pitch competitions, styled after “Shark Tank.”
Together, Team Arbor’s mentors and mentees collaborated on presentations that were ultimately pitched to a group of judges. During weekly sessions, the students in the program received hands-on instruction from Arbor executives in full-team Zoom sessions and more intimate break-out sessions.
“One of the highlights was getting to know them on a personal level,” said Carlson. “They had such fantastic energy. It was something you wanted to match.” Even before the season ended, it was apparent to Arbor’s mentoring team that they may have gained more from the experience than the young, eager members of Team Arbor.
Focused solely on growing real estate leaders of tomorrow, this volunteering opportunity provides the perfect outlet for industry executives looking to give back to the community, said Fisher. “Mentorships with Project Destined give perspective,” said Fisher. “Something that we take for granted, an opportunity, some people never get.”
She is working to expand Arbor’s participation in Project Destined in future cycles to other offices outside of New York City and Uniondale as the company continues to expand its Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) initiatives.
Thank You Team Arbor for a Terrific Season!
Once again, Team Arbor was blessed with a terrific group of outstanding young people eager to grow and learn. A special thank you to our wonderful group of mentees: Alden Cai, Miguel Rojas, Gregory Hamilton, Belinda Law, Yue Yu, Mikel S. Legette, Aminata Sangare, Qianbing Chen, Vidhi Kothari, Alvin Vathapally, Bradley Mathura, Maya Sakamoto, Victor Lai, Solana Rosenberg, and Daniel Chen.
We look forward to watching all of you grow into your new roles as the next generation of real estate leaders!
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