You are here

Alumni Profiles

The USC Ross Minority Program in Real Estate has a successful roster of graduates working in the real estate profession. Ross alumni are loyal representatives of the program and USC and play an active role in supporting current students. They are committed to the mission of the Ross Program and stay connected to program by guest lecturing, hosting events, participating as panelists, and providing sponsorships. While the majority of our alumni remain in the California, our graduates live and work throughout the United States.

Recent Alumni

Danny J. Navarro, Jr
Real Estate Agent/Developer/Investor
Century 21 All Stars
2020 Summer Class Alumni
 Danny J. Navarro, Jr

Danny Navarro provides professional real estate services specializing in Los Angeles County and Orange County. Danny works as a Realtor with Century 21 Allstars, helping buyers and sellers navigate through the real estate process with understanding and clarity. 

He also specializes in developing in low income areas of Los Angeles and renting out to low income housing. 

Danny sets an example for the rest of the Century 21 team. His drive and dedication are contagious and inspires his fellow agents to be the best versions of themselves. He consistently provides outstanding service to his clients to help them make the largest financial decision of their lives as hassle-free as possible. 

Born and raised as a native Southern Californian, Danny has a "rise above" mentality and a passion to give back to the younger generation. Danny participates regularly with motivational speaking to youth at-risk centers, juvenile halls, and high schools throughout SoCal. 

Email: dannynavarro.kw@gmail.com 

Carina V. Lieu, MUP
Program Analyst
City of Oakland
2020 Summer Class Alumni
Carina V. Lieu

Carina Lieu is a Program Analyst, and an expert in youth and community engagement, at the City of Oakland. Prior to working at the City of Oakland, Carina worked as a Career in Technical Education teacher for Bay Area schools. She began practicing in the transportation planning field since 2009. Carina is skilled in management, programming, policy analysis, and fundraising.

Carina obtained a Bachelor of Arts in Ethnic Studies from UC Berkeley and a Masters of Urban Planning, concentrating on Transportation Infrastructure & Policy, from the University of Southern California. She presented a poster at the 93rd Annual Transportation Research Board conference.

Carina currently partners with community-based organizations to advocate for community benefits and cultural preservation. She hopes to pursue a law degree in Land Use Law following completion of the Ross Minority Program. Carina Lieu lives in Oakland, CA.

Email: clieu@oaklandca.gov 

Adrian Alvarez
Lending Specialist
Century Housing Corporation
2020 Summer Class Alumni
Adrian Alvarez

Adrian Alvarez is a lending specialist and a professional in loan administration at Century Housing Corporation. Adrian Alvarez is an expert at administering a loan through the closing process, leading to the funding point. Also, Adrian is remarkably knowledgeable in the application process for development funds and grants that Los Angeles County has to offer for affordable housing projects. Before working at Century Housing Corporation, Adrian Alvarez was an Accountant for Revolve. Adrian began his career in the real estate industry in 2019 after graduating from college. 

In college, Adrian Alvarez received his bachelor of arts in business with a concentration in accounting at the California State University of Fullerton. Shortly After, he began his career at Century Housing Corporation. In just under one year into the profession, Adrian Alvarez has closed over fifty million dollars in acquisition, predevelopment, and construction loans throughout northern and southern California. The developments involved in these transactions consisted of affordable, multifamily, affordable, veteran, senior, and workforce housing. Company originations, hundreds of construction jobs, and housing for low-income families were a result of these achievements. Through his work, he has been able to contribute to one of his lifetime goals. Soon he fulfilled his goal to bring back resources into underserved communities like the one that he grew up in. 

Adrian Alvarez is currently administering several affordable housing deals with organizations like EAH Housing, Jamboree Housing Corporation, and Abode Communities in Southern California. Adrian hopes to expand his skill base on the development side with the Ross Minority Program to better understand the development process from both the financing and developers’ side. In the future, Adrian aspires to develop housing for underserved communities. Communities similar to the City of Lynwood, California, where he resides. 

Email: asalvarez@century.org

Christian Alvarez
Treasury Associate – Assistant Vice President
MUFG Union Bank
2020 Summer Class Alumni
Christian Alvarez

Christian Alvarez is a Senior Associate within the Transaction Banking unit at MUFG Union Bank. Prior to working at MUFG Union Bank, Christian acquired the FINRA Series 7 and Series 66 investment licenses and worked as a Registered Associate at Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith. With support from the USC Latino Alumni Association Scholarship and the Bank of America Joe Martin Scholarship, Christian graduated from the University of Southern California with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration degree in May of 2016. 

Through USC’s Ross Minority Program in Real Estate, Christian aims to better align his interests and long-term goals with his career path. His next steps will be guided by a quote he recently read: “Specialize – the great human achievement is to specialize as a producer of goods and services so that you can diversify as a consumer”.

Christian is committed to specializing in the real estate finance space and using the power of real estate to positively transform underserved communities.

Christian Alvarez equally splits his living arrangements by residing in Colton, CA and in Long Beach, CA.  

Email: Christian.20alvarez@gmail.com

Herb Anderson
Chairman of the Board of Directors
Minority Television Project, Inc.
2020 Summer Class Alumni
Herb Anderson

Herb Anderson has been Chairman of the Board of Minority Television Project, Inc. (KMTP-TV), a media company broadcasting televised spectrum throughout the San Francisco Bay Area since 2017. Between September 2012 and September 2018, he served as Board Chair, Chief Financial Officer and Chair of the Finance Committee for Disability Rights California, a state wide non-profit organization responsible for protecting the rights of over 750,000 people with disabilities.

Mr. Anderson has held significant leadership positions in both the public and private sector, including management of large programs for the State of California.

Mr. Anderson is experienced in transforming and positioning organizations with very different business units for performance and growth.

Mr. Anderson graduated from the University of California Berkeley with a B.A. in Economics. 

Email: herb3.anderson@gmail.com

Matt Berry
Real Estate Portfolio Manager
Opendoor, Inc.
2020 Summer Class Alumni
Matt Berry

Matt is passionate about affordable housing development and transportation infrastructure. He has most recently served as a real estate portfolio manager at Opendoor, a San Francisco-based real estate tech company that simplifies the home buying experience. He began his real estate career at JLL (Jones Lang LaSalle), where he worked on mixed-use, office, and hotel projects. Matt has analyzed hundreds of properties, including acquisition underwriting, renovation and marketing decisions. His experience includes feasibility analysis, valuation and financial analysis, marketing strategy, and economics research.  

Matt believes in the importance of neighborhood-based economic development and access to affordable housing. After returning to Los Angeles in 2017, he joined the DTLA Historic Core Business Improvement District and began volunteering with Abundant Housing LA.  

Prior to his work in real estate tech, Matt was based in Jakarta, Indonesia for several years after first arriving there as a Princeton-in-Asia Fellow. He also has significant on-the-ground experience in Botswana, Ghana and South Africa with an emphasis on infrastructure research. 

Matt holds a Master of Science in Urban Economic Development with a specialization in Mega Infrastructure Planning, Appraisal and Delivery from University College London (UCL). During graduate school his research focused on property-led urban regeneration in Los Angeles and he co-authored a research report on affordable housing delivery strategies for the Greater London Authority. He completed his undergraduate studies at Pitzer College in Claremont, CA.  

Email: matt.s.berry@gmail.com 

Derrick D. Bracks
Capital Markets Associate
CBRE
2020 Summer Class Alumni
Derrick D. Bracks

Derrick Bracks is a Capital Markets Associate at CBRE, specializing in the sale of office and industrial properties throughout North Los Angeles County, Bakersfield and the San Joaquin Valley.   
Prior to launching his career in commercial real estate, Derrick spent several years in the finance and biopharmaceutical industries. His firm understanding of economics as well as the equity and debt markets allowed him to jumpstart his real estate career.  He has since completed a number of deals and helped contribute to increasing his team’s bottom line, despite a national downturn in volume in his first year.

Derrick took his first professional job as Customer Service Representative at the Chicago investment firm, Stein Roe & Farnham.  Soon after, he moved on to become a Trader with the Dutch Bank, ABN AMRO Global.  Due to his outstanding performance, the bank paid his entire tuition as he earned his MBA in Finance. This opened up a new world of opportunity for Derrick who would go on to work at some of the most prominent international investment firms in the world before shifting his focus entirely to real estate.

Derrick earned his real estate license in 2018 and quickly began to establish his reputation in the North LA County real estate market.  To further his career, he completed the highly competitive Capital Markets Associate Program at CBRE, a rigorous twelve month schedule with only a 36% success rate.  As a result, he has become a leading performer, procuring a combined $62,000,000 in listings and pipeline development at the onset of his career.

In addition to achieving his personal real estate goals, Derrick is committed to using his status as a graduate of the USC Ross Minority Program in Real Estate to not only become a better real estate professional, but to become a greater advocate for those in the housing crisis in Los Angeles.  He is a dedicated professional that seeks to make his community a better place through real estate. Derrick currently resides with his wife, Elena, in Los Angeles.

Email: dbracks@icloud.com 

Demetrius Brown
Real Estate Broker & Owner
Change Lives Real Estate
2020 Summer Class Alumni
Demetrius Brown

Demetrius Brown is a Real Estate Broker & Owner of Change Lives Real Estate located in Los Angeles, California. His mission is “To inspire people through real estate investing by teaching financial literacy that will empower property ownership”. 

Before founding Change Lives Real Estate in 2019, Demetrius had over 12 years of real estate sales and marketing experience. Demetrius worked for real estate brokerages such as CEO Investment Group and Redfin that developed his skills and mindset leading him to become a passionate advocate and trusted expert in the real estate industry.  

After dropping out of college in 2007, Demetrius pursued a career in real estate by becoming a licensed Realtor in California. By the age of 22, he had purchased four investment properties that he held and managed in his real estate portfolio. Unfortunately, three years later, Demetrius lost all his assets and decided to file bankruptcy due to the overwhelming amount of financial hardship he experienced during the Great Recession. 

Demetrius lives his life by faith, purpose, and integrity. Even at his worst, he continued to have a positive mindset and held himself accountable that he eventually was able to get back on track with his financial goals.

While on his mission to help other people build financial wealth through real estate investing, Demetrius was able to reposition himself as a real estate investor that currently owns and manages multiple properties in Los Angeles.

In 2018, Demetrius enrolled back into college to complete his degree, receiving a Bachelor of Science in Business Management with the historic graduating Class of 2020 at California State University of Dominguez Hills.  Demetrius Brown lives in Los Angeles, California. 

Email: dbrown@changelivesre.com 

Vicky Cortes
Office & Transaction Manager
Restore Neighborhoods LA, Inc. (RNLA)
2020 Summer Class Alumni
Vicky Cortes

For the past eight years, Vicky has been a major contribution to Restore Neighborhoods, LA, Inc. (RNLA) a non-profit organization based in Downtown Los Angeles. Vicky has overseen the acquisition and disposition coordination, construction administration and compliance of over 250 projects and help facilitate an investment of more than $140M into local Los Angeles neighborhoods.

Vicky is eager to take on new challenges and help as many people as possible through affordable homeownership and now with the addition of Homeless Housing and Supportive Housing projects in RNLA’s pipeline, Vicky is even more excited to contribute to the successful completion of these projects.

She began her career in construction administration at just nineteen years old when she began working for Parsons on a bench contract with Gateway Science and Engineering positioned at Los Angeles Mission College. Since then, Vicky has transitioned to other organizations, gaining more experience and knowledge along the way. Vicky has also gained a greater satisfaction with knowing that her contribution is helping others whether it be through community revitalization or affordable homeownership to help providing homeless and supportive housing. Once Vicky began working at RNLA she knew she was “home”. Vicky is a strong advocate for what her non-profit organization is doing for Los Angeles and she is eager to be more of an asset to the company.

Vicky is so efficient at her job that she considers herself a quick learner with a passion to do more and better. Because of her skills, Vicky can be the effective support for many projects while being a friendly contact to keep for any questions or concerns for new homeowners to new partners and contractors. Vicky takes great pride for the work she is helping RNLA do and is extremely grateful for all the people she has and will be helping with the upcoming projects in RNLA’s pipeline.

More than her position at RNLA, Vicky is also effective at persuading and influencing high-ranking individuals. Her opinions are highly valued, people trust and respect her judgments. Vicky earned a degree in Business Administration from National University and is currently completing her Master’s degree. Vicky is eager to participate in and complete training opportunities and earn certifications that would add to her role in RNLA and in real estate, construction administration, and accounting.  

Email: vcortes@rn-la.org

Mandela F. Kazi
Vice President of Acquisitions & Project Management
Alliant Capital
2020 Summer Class Alumni

I am a Vice President of Project Management and Acquisitions at Alliant Capital. Alliant Capital Syndicates tax credits and equity for affordable housing development projects.

Prior to my role as vice president for Alliant I was a real estate development project manager for CIM Group. At CIM I worked on multiple projects spanning from luxury new construction to the adaptive reuse of existing structures along the West Adams historic corridor. I am from New Orleans originally and have lived in LA for 3 years. I performed my undergraduate studies at Wesleyan University in Middletown, CT.

I played college football at Wesleyan University. Prior to the covid-19 shutdown, in my free time I enjoy traveling, competing as an amateur boxer in charity boxing bouts, and attending live concerts at the Hollywood Bowl. I am a member of the Urban Land Institute (ULI) and the Real Estate Executive Council (REEC). My goal within the Ross Program is to further develop my holistic skill set as a real estate professional and utilize my knowledge to be a catalyst for economic change within African-American communities. 

Email: mandela.kazi@alliantcapital.com

Rachel Francis
Registered Nurse
Cross Country Healthcare
2020 Summer Class Alumni
Rachel Francis

Emerging from the inner-city streets of Jamaica Queens, NY Rachel Francis is looking to usher in a new era of understanding in her community. Motivated to bridge the gap of wealth between the black community and other demographics, Francis is looking for ways to elevate her understanding of economics and real estate in an effort to contribute back to her community.

Subsequent to being exposed to the opportunities within the real estate industry as well as the power of urban revitalization, Francis has grown immensely in investing in the communities of tomorrow.

Francis eloquently states “The kids growing up in my community will have the opportunity to see representation in a field they may not have seen representation in before. I want to be the motivation for the next generation. They can do it because I did it.” I want the youth of black communities to know it’s possible to inhabit and thrive in these corporate spaces. Francis will be exceptional in this field due to her interpersonal skills, stellar work ethic, and optimistic attitude. 

As a travel nurse Francis prides herself on adapting to new environments and maintaining a consistent passion for new assignments that challenge and enlighten her. 

Email: rfrancisre@gmail.com

Leo Grandison
Real Estate Owner/Manager
ELS Karenity, LLC
2020 Summer Class Alumni
Leo Grandison

Leo Grandison is a founding member and Manager of ELS Karenity, LLC, a real estate LLC based in California. Since 2016, Mr. Grandison led the organization's partnerships, purchasing, and overall operations. Prior to this, Grandison has 20 years of experience in organizational development, coalition building, and community empowerment work. In 2019, Grandison successfully represented the organization in a partnership to purchase and renovate an 8 unit multi-family property out of state. The organization seeks to repeat this initial success.

Grandison’s drive comes from a commitment to socially responsible and sustainable development. Under Mr. Grandison’s leadership, the LLC has adopted a vision to provide clean, safe, healthy, and affordable places to live that contribute to the betterment of the community, recognizing decent housing as a human right.  

Mr. Grandison holds a BA in Language Studies and a Certificate in Ecological Horticulture from the University of California, Santa Cruz. He’s completed a Permaculture Design Course and 2 Natural Building Intensives.

Unique educational achievements, combined with a breadth of professional experience, situates Mr. Grandison to make meaningful contributions to community improvement through responsible real estate development projects. Grandison seeks to become a model for culturally responsible, sustainable development that reflects love of community, and contributes to increasing community vitality. The USC Ross Minority Program in Real Estate will provide the formal education in Real Estate Development needed for Mr. Grandison to actualize this vision. Mr. Grandison lives in San Diego, California.

Email: elskarenity@gmail.com

Cindy Hanson
Principal
KW/CH Luxury Homes, Inc.
2020 Summer Class Alumni
Cindy Hanson

Cindy Hanson is President of CH Global Luxury Homes, specializing in luxury homes in Orange County California, with solid professional partnerships in Beverly Hills, San Diego, San Francisco, Miami, New York City, Dubai, Tulum Mexico, Taipei Taiwan, and Shanghai and Beijing China. She is well-versed in a range of markets and transactions, and specializes in assisting international C-level executives with their primary residence, and second or vacation homes. 

Before Cindy Hanson becomes a licensed real estate broker, she was a real estate investor and still is.  Cindy has a Master’s degree in Music (USC '98), and her commitment to ongoing education is reflected in an array of industry designations. Cindy is a certified member of: 

  •  CLHMS - Certified Luxury Home Marketing Specialist of KW Luxury Home Division
  •  GPS - Global Property Specialist
  •  CIPS - Certified International Property Specialist
  • LIL - Leaders in Luxury
  • ABR - Accredited Buyer’s Representative
  • BNI - Business Network International
  • AREAA - Asian Real Estate Association of America
  • ProVisors Group

Fluent in both English and Mandarin, Cindy is honored and grateful to partner with Josie Lin developing an Asian multi-use center in Houston, TX.  Cindy and her husband Douglas live in Irvine, CA. 

Email: Cindy@CHGLH.com

 

Melody J. Rault
Principal
MITJI Real Estate
2020 Summer Class Alumni
Melody J. Rault

Melody Rault is a real estate investor currently residing in Southern California and operating in various markets around the U.S.

Following her graduation from Spelman College and a successful career with a Fortune 500 company, she discovered her calling in Real Estate and has since devoted herself to the profession, obtaining her California Real Estate Brokers license while being the sole proprietor of value-added housing projects.

With her experience ranging from development, rehabilitation, asset management, and multi-unit property management, Melody’s goal is to provide her community with a richer social landscape, delivering quality architecture and a sense of communal identity to her projects.  

She is also a member of the Institute of Real Estate Management (IREM) and the Women’s Council of National Association of Real Estate Brokers (NAREB). 

Email: mitjillc@gmail.com

Scarlett Jia
Analyst
Clear Capital
2020 Summer Class Alumni
Scarlett Jia

Scarlett Jia is an Analyst at Clear Capital, a private real estate investment firm based in Los Angeles. She is primarily responsible for sourcing and analyzing multifamily and affordable housing opportunities in the Sunbelt States. During her time at Clear Capital, she worked with her team to close multiple transactions in the State of Arizona, Colorado, and Texas. In addition to acquisitions, she also performs market analysis, due diligence review, portfolio management, and capital raising duties. 

Prior to joining Clear Capital, Scarlett was an Associate at Growth Investment Group where she oversaw the firm’s marketing, transaction, and underwriting platform for a group of multifamily investment sales professionals. She specialized in assisting foreign investors with identifying and closing investment properties in the Greater Los Angeles area. Scarlett developed a strong passion for real estate entrepreneurship by working with and learning from her clients who utilized creative strategies to transform uninhabitable real estate assets into housing units.

Scarlett received a BA in Communication with a minor in Applied Psychology from the University of California, Santa Barbara. 

As a real state professional, Scarlett is not only passionate about acquisitions and development but also serving the community. Her long term goal is to provide more affordable housing for working-class people through creative workforce housing and affordable housing development and redevelopment. 

Email: sjia@clearcapllc.com

Juliain B. Curry
President
Charge Properties, Inc.
2020 Summer Class Alumni
Juliain B. Curry

Julian B. Curry is the President and Principal Broker at Charge Properties Inc. (CPI), a commercial real estate brokerage and investment firm founded in 2018.  He is an experienced real estate professional analyzing & evaluating income producing and development properties for acquisition or disposition.

With an emphasis on serving the Mid-City L.A., South L.A., and Inglewood markets, Julian has amassed a wealth of practical knowledge and meaningful relationships spanning nearly a decade. Mr. Curry leverages these assets to offer valuable analysis, council, representation, and marketing for each of his clients, enabling the close of over $42MM in CRE transactions.

Prior to launching CPI, he worked to establish the multifamily investment sales platform and identified retail & residential land development opportunities for urban developer and brokerage, Fralin Commercial Inc.

His professional real estate career officially began in Los Angeles as a Sales Agent with Investment Real Estate Associate (IREA), winning the firm’s “Rookie of the Year” Award.  Julian’s transaction and development expertise includes performing market analytics for income producing and development properties, financial valuations, purchase and sale negotiations, and asset marketing.  He is guided in business by three principles: integrity, persistence, and a positive ‘can-do’ attitude.

Mr. Curry is a licensed California Real Estate Broker (DRE# 01925848) and has a Bachelor of Science in Marketing - Sales from the Kelley School of Business at Indiana University. As a husband and father of two, Julian enjoys spending quality time with his family.

Email:julian@chargeproperties.com

Nicholas McGrue
Founder & Principal
Polymath Legal
2020 Summer Class Alumni
Nicholas McGrue

Nicholas McGrue is the founder and principal of Polymath Legal, a transactional law firm that focuses on business and real estate matters. In his practice, Nic has formed numerous businesses and guided them on legal and regulatory concerns. He works heavily in real estate-related legal matters and has handled various legal issues that occur in the real estate development timeline. He is also well-versed in syndication and other financing matters. To date, he has assisted clients in raising funds to purchase real estate assets totaling almost $500 million. Nic is also a tenured professor of law and real estate at El Camino College. Nic has taught and developed business and law courses at the undergraduate, graduate, and law school levels.

In addition to his bachelor’s degree, Nic possesses a Juris Doctor degree and an L.L.M. in Taxation and Financial Services. He is licensed to practice law in both California and Washington State. He also holds a California Real Estate Broker’s License. Nic is a Realtor, a member of California Association of Business Brokers, a board member of the John M. Langston Bar Association, and on the Diversity and Community Inclusion Committee of the A + D Museum (Architecture & Design).  

The current major projects that Nic is assisting clients on are: the development of a brand new, 22-unit micro apartment building in Tacoma, Washington, and two senior living communities located in Punta Gorda, Florida and Williamsburg, Virginia. 

Nicholas McGrue resides in Inglewood, California. 

Email: nmcgrue@polymathlegal.com

Kyle McKinney
Founder & Chief Executive Officer
Invictus Acquisitions Group
2020 Summer Class Alumni
Kyle McKinney

Kyle’s professional life quest is to create one-hundred millionaires through real estate investing – he’s at two so far! He’s the Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Invictus Acquisitions Group, a multifamily investment firm with a portfolio of 449 units between California and Texas.  

At Invictus, Kyle leads the firm’s investment strategy, operations, and investor relations, by leveraging his rich experience in leadership positions across multiple real estate asset classes.  

Before working in the real estate industry, Kyle was entrusted as a Management Consultant at The Pentagon. His major life influence is his father, a retired Colonel in the USAF, which he attributes for his work ethic, discipline, integrity, and intuition.  

Kyle earned his B.A. from George Mason University and is currently pursuing an M.B.A. from the University of Southern California. 

Email: kyle@invictusacquires.com

Victoria Montes
Managing Director
ICON Consulting
2020 Summer Class Alumni
Victoria Montes

Victoria Ann Montes is a Founder and Senior Executive of Acquisitions and Development for Cerius Group, a real estate investment advisor. Prior to Cerius, Victoria had the honor to serve our country with the U.S. Navy developing high-security Data Centers and was also with Edison designing Smart Buildings. 

Victoria’s dream is to take her business to the next level. She attracts capital from private and institutional equity partners to invest in both commercial, new homes, and multi-family projects, with recent focus is repurposing of distressed assets.  

Victoria is grateful for her education and opportunities to create profitable real estate ventures in the community. As a Native-American Apache Indian, Hispanic-American, single mom, and a female, she has experienced roadblocks being included in higher-level real estate’s inner circles and is hopeful that the renowned USC Ross Program will be a welcome gateway. Her passion for real estate and her work ethic was fueled alongside her grandfather at job sites as he led tract home, office, industrial, and retail projects.   In homebuilding, for Toll Brothers, Lennar, and IHP Capital, she managed acquisitions and development for over 2000 acres in Southern California. She represented developer interests to cities, counties, state, federal agencies, and special interest groups with keen political sensitivity.  

In commercial, for Equitable, ProLogis, Shidler, Koll, and Oaklink, Victoria managed acquisitions, asset management, pro-forma valuation, due diligence, and portfolio management of office, industrial, and retail investments. With her expert business development skills, she attracted equity partners and large credit tenants such as George Lucas and General Motors.   

Victoria has attained an MBA in Finance from UCLA Anderson School of Management and a Bachelor of Science in Real Estate and Urban Land Economics and Accounting from UC Berkeley Haas Business School. In her spirit of continuous learning, she has also attained a Certificate in Land Development and Light Construction from University of California, Irvine, Paul Merage School of Management, and Certificate in Project Management.  Victoria possesses Department of Defense Security Clearances.  

Over the next three years, her learning roadmap includes a Certificate in Real Estate from USC’s Ross Program, a California Broker’s license, designations as Certified Energy Manager and LEED AP, CPA, and CFA. She enjoys the gym, running on the beach, golf, tennis, her faith, friends, family, and meeting new people. Victoria Montes is from Southern California, resides in Los Angeles, and is committed to growing prosperous communities. 

 

Email: victoriamontes777@gmail.com 

Marisha Corinne Morris
Owner/Principal
Land Baroness
2020 Summer Class Alumni
Marisha Corinne Morris

Marisha Morris’ love for real estate began while living with her grandparents in a 1921 craftsman style home, and watching an addition being constructed in the early 80s.  This love continues to inspire her academically and professionally.

Ms. Morris is the Owner and Principal of Land Baroness. She is a Licensed Real Estate Agent, a Commercial Real Estate Broker, a Land Use Consultant on P3, TOC/TOD, HPOZ and a ULI UrbanPlan facilitator.

As a Community Stakeholder she works closely with her Neighborhood Council reviewing land use projects, advising developers on their impact to the community, gaining neighborhood buy-in of projects, thereby qualifying the developers and builders for projects along thoroughfares and/or Historic Preservation Overlay Zones (HPOZ) in her community.   

She earned a Transit Orient Development Certificate, while a member of Metro’s Transportation Business Advisory Council, and has consulted on projects such as Metro Expo Line, Crenshaw/ LAX, and most recently, the Purple Line Extension Phase 2B, LA River Project/Slauson Corridor, and Gold Line Extension to Pomona/Montclair. 

Marisha volunteers with ULI UrbanPlan, a realistic, engaging exercise in which participants—high school students, university students, or public officials—learn the fundamental forces that affect development in our communities. She has facilitated UrbanPlan workshops for the City of Fullerton, the City of Huntington Beach, Councilmembers and Aldermen representing the State of Alabama, and students at Orange Coast College.

Her recent investments include several development projects in Houston that includes housing, commercial and retail space; a multifamily project in New Orleans; short term rental properties in Shreveport; “Tiny Homes” for purchase and rent in Memphis; and a co-working space in Atlanta. 

Marisha also earned a Construction Management Certificate from Turner Construction’s Construction Management Program.   

She is a member of: 

  • Metro Los Angeles Transportation Business Advisory Council (TBAC)
  • Urban Land Institute (ULI) UrbanPlan Facilitator
  • Land Use, Local Government and Global Committee for California Association of Realtors (C.A.R.)

Marisha’s motto is “Look down at the ground you are standing on. Someone owns it. It should be you." 

Email: marishacorinne@gmail.com

Tiana Owens
Founder & Chief Executive Officer
21 DREAMS, Inc.
2020 Summer Class Alumni
Tiana Owens

Tiana Owens, the Founder and CEO of 21 DREAMS Inc., and currently partnered with REMAX MASTERS,  is a licensed California Realtor serving Northern and Southern California in both residential and commercial real estate.  

Tiana began her curiosity in the real estate world at the early age of 19 with loan origination and soon found that she was on the wrong side of the contract. A short few years later, she stumbled into development in Atlanta, GA prior to the economic crash of 2008, bringing her start to a halt. However, she had found her real, true passion: to build! 

Tiana returned to real estate in 2015 with her second shot at development, this time with a real estate license. She teamed up with fellow Realtors in her local Brokers office, where they focused on the development of small multi -family properties. In this undefined position, Tiana found herself wearing many hats from scouting the land to selecting all design and esthetics from start to finish. Tiana, with no doubt, loves every aspect of the development process, minus the small heart attacks along the way.  

With experience comes growth. Tiana decided to relocate to Southern California with bigger dreams in real estate and development. This time, to build and redevelop her own boutique hotels.  

In addition to her business degree and multiple licenses, as a future USC Ross Minority Program Alumni, Tiana hopes to develop new amazing relationships and take in invaluable information that will begin her journey into this new market and adventure.  

Email: Tiana@TianaOwens.com

Roger Sanchez
Founding Partner
Uncomn Projects
2020 Summer Class Alumni
Roger Sanchez

Roger Sanchez is the Founding Partner of Uncomn Projects (pronounced “Uncommon Projects”), a branding, integrated marketing, and consulting firm focused on multifamily and commercial real estate projects. Roger manages the creative, marketing, and advertising teams, and oversees the business strategy. 

Founded in 2017, Uncomn is applying the concepts and strategies of consumer branding and marketing to the commercial real estate industry through a consumer-first approach. Uncomn activates the brand by working with the developer, architect, and interior designers to apply the brand identity to the project, ensuring a cohesive aesthetic and feel. From there, the brand story is used to craft the project’s online presence, developing the website, advertising creative, social media, and other digital marketing strategies. The goal is to achieve consistency across all touchpoints. Uncomn also provides events programming and tenant services to increase engagement and retention. We are placemakers. 

Our clients include major developers, such as Mack Real Estate Group and Lowe Enterprises, and private equity firms, including The Carlyle Group and Rockwood Capital. Our work drives leasing, absorption, and retention. Our integrated approach is what sets Uncomn apart from the others. We understand marketing and real estate and how to integrate the two to drive returns for investors.

Before founding Uncomn Projects, Roger had several roles in the consumer and fashion marketing world. In fashion, producing consumer trend reports for MAGIC, North America’s largest fashion trade show, which was used by global fashion houses to design consumer products, and later consulting for e-commerce brands in digital marketing and advertising. Roger also raised venture capital and created a mobile app that brought “Uber for beauty services” into the homes, offices, and hotel rooms of Southern California’s social elites. 

Roger received a Bachelor of Business Administration with an emphasis in fashion marketing from Woodbury University in Burbank, California. He is a member of ULI and enjoys speaking to marketing students at universities throughout Los Angeles. A native Californian, with a family history rooted in Southern California real estate, Roger resides in Santa Monica, CA. 

Email: roger@uncomn-projects.com

Brenda Sanchez
Associate Project Manager
Jones Lang LaSalle (JLL)
2020 Summer Class Alumni
Brenda Sanchez

Brenda Sanchez is a high-touch Construction Project Manager and Realtor based out of the Greater Los Angeles area. Currently, she’s employed by Jones Lang La Salle as an Associate Construction Project Manager.  

Her current client is Bank of America. Her projects consist of High Scope Interior and Exterior Renovations and Financial Center Rebranding.

Previously, she was employed by CBRE as a Construction Project Coordinator assigned to the Capital Construction Group for projects valued over 5 million. She worked on a broad range of project types including newly built Substations, Service Centers and Data Centers. 

Brenda’s educational background consist of an Associates Degree received from Santa Monica Community College. She also holds a host of certifications from various schools such as CBRE Foundations for Project Management from The University of Texas at Dallas, Construction Project Management Certification from Cal State Dominguez Hills, OSHA 10 Certification and Professional Property Management Certification from the California Department of Real Estate. Brenda is currently scheduled to take her Green LEED Associate exam July 2020.  

Upon completion of the Ross Minority Program, Brenda aspires to work on her first development in Compton, CA. Compton is on the wave of gentrification, currently experiencing an influx of developments related to housing, healthy eateries, employment, warehouses and fitness. Compton is centrally located and one of the few neighborhoods that are still affordable in Los Angeles County. Her desire is to build a complex consisting of 20–25 modular smart building townhomes that promote sustainability and health. During the life cycle of the project, she will develop a program for the youth at Compton Early College High School, which will provide youth with the overall basis of Project Management and Real Estate Development. Through her efforts, she will begin a trend of promoting health, education and sustainability, all while continuously growing and broadening her skill set for future projects.    

Email: brenda.sanchez@am.jll.com

Shafeeq Shamsid-Deen, Jr
Development Manager
Assurance Realty
2020 Summer Class Alumni
Shafeeq Shamsid-Deen, Jr

Shafeeq Shamsid-Deen Jr., is a Development Manager for Assurance Realty.  He started his real estate career after having prior experience in politics and education. He worked as a field organizer for Barack Obama’s Campaign for Change; then went on to teach with Teach for America, teaching 5th grade in the Navajo Nation; worked as a policy advisor for New Mexico Public Education Department; and eventually founded and was principal of Laurel Oaks, a college preparatory charter school which provided unique experiences and laid a foundation for his work in real estate. 

At Assurance Development, Shafeeq oversaw site acquisition for mobile telecommunications companies’ cell tower development overseeing leasing, entitling, and designing sites to meet shareholder regulations and radio frequency standards.  He worked with AT&T, Sprint PCS, Verizon, and Eco-Site (a T-Mobile affiliate) to build out their networks throughout Orange, San Bernardino, Los Angeles, Mono, and Sacramento Counties, overseeing over 100 cell site builds in less than two years.  Shafeeq was the top leaser for Assurance Development despite being new to the industry.  Later he went to work for the Brooker Group, where he learned about construction lending and real estate finance.  Shafeeq created and oversaw, the Regen or Urban Regeneration and Elevated Equity programs designed to help minority owners create the highest and best use of their property, with funding and support with their distressed properties to better position themselves for wealth creation. 

Shafeeq graduated from Loyola Marymount University with degrees in History and Political Science, holds a California Real Estate License, pending certificate from Columbia University’s Construction Management Program and is obtaining his Broker’s and Mortgage Origination licenses. He is currently working on LebenHaus, an affordable micro-unit development and Higher, an urban regeneration program aimed at supporting minority property owners developing their properties to their highest and best use. 

Email: shafeeq@assurance-realty.com

Jenny Song
Principal
Navitas Capital
2020 Summer Class Alumni
Jenny Song

Jenny Song is a Principal with Navitas Capital, a venture capital firm focused real estate and construction technology. Jenny’s interests lie in urban innovation and the intersection of real estate and financial technology. 

Prior to joining Navitas, Jenny was a fellow in the Broad Residency, a program that places leaders in business and management into high-impact urban education projects. During the Residency, Jenny founded Noble Forward, an education technology non-profit in the “hybrid college” space that helps non-traditional, first-generation college-goers re-engage in post-secondary education and earn Bachelor’s Degrees. 

Jenny started her career at Bain & Company, the global management consulting company, where she advised clients on strategic projects across multiple sectors, spanning from industrials to retail.  

Jenny holds a Bachelor’s of Science from Northwestern University, a Master of Public Policy from the University of Chicago and a Master of Business Administration from Stanford University. She resides in Chicago, where she lives with her husband and dog. She is a huge foodie and her hobbies include dining, wine, cooking, and anything delicious.

Email: jenny@navitascap.com 

Joseph "Joe" T. Rouzan III
President and Chief Executive Officer
Vermont Slauson Economic Development Corporation (VSEDC)
2020 Summer Class Alumni
Joseph "Joe" T. Rouzan III

Joseph “Joe” T. Rouzan III leads VSEDC in navigating through the evolving and expanding needs for economic and small business development solutions in South Los Angeles. Prior to joining VSEDC, Mr. Rouzan held the position of Director for the City of Los Angeles Business Source program overseeing nine Business Source Centers throughout Los Angeles and operating a 4.5 million dollar annual budget.

Joe's 29 years of City Service includes 13 with the Economic and Workforce Development Department and 16 with the Los Angeles Police Department. Prior to his most recent city service, Joe served as the Vice President and Chief of Staff for the Brotherhood Crusade, General Manager of both the Baldwin Hills Crenshaw Plaza and Hawthorne Malls and owned and operated JTA Security Management and Investigations. Joe holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Public Administration, conferred by California State University, Dominguez Hills. 

Email: jrouzan@vsedc.org