Anood Al Shehhi is an Emirati from the United Arab Emirates and a recent transplant to the United States. She holds her Bachelors in Business Administration and International Business from the American University of Ras Al Khaimah. Prior to relocating abroad, she spent five years at the United Arab Emirates Customs Department where she rose through the ranks becoming Senior Projects Manager in the Office of the Director General. Throughout her tenure, she oversaw numerous multi-million dollar projects including the development of two government customs buildings. Anood looks forward to expanding her foundation and experience in all facets of real estate as she plans to coordinate her own projects in the future.
Mohammed Jaber is a Residential real estate consultant at The Exp Realty in Houston, TX. I provide complete-service capability that encompasses every facet of Residential real estate, including leasing, Whole sale, Investment and development. The market area I serve consists of Montgomery, Lake Conroe and The Woodlands on the North side of Houston.
Being an entrepreneur, I had owned multiple businesses since 2001. Due to an extensive network of customers in the past business relationships, I was rookie of the very year 2016.
I was born in Kuwait and raised in Pakistan. Moved to the USA Thirty years ago, and having lived in four different states, Houston has been my home for the past 26 years. I graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Business/Finance from the University of Houston in 2015.
Joele (she/her) is a Sr. Research Analyst at CBRE for the Inland Empire and Orange County. Her background is in the Food and Beverage industry and prior to joining CBRE, she was part of the Commercial team at Bonduelle Fresh Americas, focusing on Research and Development. She worked on extending the shelf life of ready-to-eat salad bowls and improving production efficiency by performing root cause analysis for down time at the manufacturing plant.
Joele’s exposure to the business world at a tender age, fueled her passion to pursue a career which gives her the ability to make a positive difference within her community. She graduated from Chapman University with a Master’s in Business Administration (MBA), and an MSc. in Food Science and Nutrition. She also holds a Masters in Process Engineering from the National School of Agriculture and Industrial Sciences (ENSAI) Ngaoundere, Cameroon.
Renée Bizer’s expertise in Community Development, Diversity and Inclusion and Compliance provides high quality results and cost-efficient representation to non-profit and for-profit corporations. She has more than 30 years of management experience in banking, community economic development and project management.
Renee’s expertise encompasses all aspects of banking, supplier diversity, project management, tax credits, affordable and community economic development. She advises both non-profit and for-profit community on a wide range of issues including business infrastructure, program and business compliance, affordable housing, place-based initiatives, program design, underwriting, strategic plans, disaster preparedness and tax accounting.
Ms. Bizer is known for her success in creating with placed-based initiatives, passion to assist the faith-based community and is the co-author of a political strategies and faith initiatives adopted by a major lending institution.
Career highlights include: Taskforce Lead, FEMA; COO, Arroyo Valley CDC; Regional Manager, Wells Fargo Community Development; VP Manager, National Affordable Housing. Successfully executed place-based initiative in the City of Compton creating over 3,200 jobs and 2 new banking locations. Secured $2.0 million dollars unsecured funding for the Lula Washington Dance and Enrichment Center.
Prior to joining Wells Fargo Bank in February of 2002, Renée began her banking career in 1979 with Imperial Savings & Loan as a teller working her way through various departments into management positions including branch manager, appraisal and affordable housing. Having been a trailblazer in the banking industry Renee’s grassroots to the Community assisted corporate America in understanding diversity and cultural differences that have allotted for alternative resources in reaching out to underserved communities. Renée work has had a major impact in communities and individual lifestyles.
She is the author of “Church Administration and Finance, How to Start a Community Development/Economic Development Corporation”.
Ms. Bizer earned an MS Community Economic Development from Southern New Hampshire University, a Business Management Certificate from UCLA and is PMP/PMI Certified.
Emily Codilla is a Development Specialist for the Los Angeles County Development Authority (LACDA). Prior to working at the LACDA, Emily worked for the City of Carson as a Senior Clerk. Emily has a background in community development, contract administration, program and project management, and lending. She assists with developing guidelines and implementing procedures for loan underwriting, processing, and monitoring. In addition, she reviews and analyzes small business loan applications. Emily is also a project manager for special projects related to County-owned and County-controlled real estate properties.
Emily received her Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from California State University, Long Beach, and is currently in the process of obtaining her Master’s in Business Administration from Louisiana State University, Shreveport, as well as an Economic Development Finance Professional certificate through the National Development Council. She has earned certificates in Contract Law and in Exercising Leadership from HarvardX, Harvard University’s online learning initiative.
Currently, Emily is involved in a mixed-use development project of the West Los Angeles Civic Center and Courthouse located on Santa Monica Blvd and Corinth Ave, off the Santa Monica Blvd exit of the 405 Freeway, in West LA. Through the USC Ross Minority Program in Real Estate, Emily hopes to gain more insight into the world of real estate, especially regarding deal structuring, finance, and analysis. Emily currently resides in Orange County, CA.
James Daughrity is a commercial real estate broker at Daughrity Real Estate & Management Solutions, LLC. At D.R.E., James provides a full-service capability that encompasses every facet of commercial real estate, including leasing, acquisitions, dispositions, consulting, and development services. James's market area consists of properties in the Opportunity Zone and the new Crenshaw/LAX Transit Project in the city of Inglewood, CA, near the SoFi Stadium. In the last 12 months, James has closed approximately $60M in real estate transactions and has another $15-20 Million in the pipeline.
In addition to his brokerage services, James is an avid investor in Opportunity Zones on the South Side of Chicago and currently working on a ground-up new construction project on the corner of 75th & Martin Luther King Drive. James is a south side of Chicago, IL native, but now resides in Inglewood, CA, with his wife, Dr. Belinda Daughrity. She is an assistant professor and undergraduate mentor in the Department of Speech-Language Pathology at California State University, Long Beach, and consultant for Los Angeles Speech & Language Therapy Center, Inc working with children with Autism.
Above all, a man of faith, Don’s path to successful feature film production, theatrical distribution and real estate development innovation has been anything but conventional but does help explain the vision and passion behind his non-negotiable belief that anything and everything is possible. Everything in his life attests to an unshakable conviction that his best – in entertainment and real estate development – is yet to come.
From a once at-risk youth facing homelessness and navigating the foster system, to rising above it to earn multiple championships at USC under the legendary Pete Carroll; then discovering his gift for entertainment as producer and independent film distributor along with a passion for real estate and building, Don Hale Jr. has succeeded by seeing not just what is, but what can be.
Childhood challenges that would have held others back provided Don a rare appreciation for the opportunities higher education could offer. Majoring in Political Science expanded his world view, but that was augmented by the lessons of competing on the gridiron at the highest levels. More than a coach, Pete Carroll was a mentor that taught leadership, execution and the DNA of success in life.
After college the entertainment world beckoned. Acting classes and workshops led to commercials, music videos and projects with top artists. He learned not only to create content, but to successfully distribute and monetize entertainment assets with uncommonly high ceilings. His first theatrical release in 2015 led to partnering with Harry Smith to found Smith Global Media, releasing nine films, four released theatrically.
Dissatisfied with merely acquiring and flipping properties, commercial development offered more. First, by securing and managing renovation of an indoor-outdoor-rooftop restaurant/bar, then the ‘impossible transformation’ of a 100,000-sf high-rise into a school, including securing the property and anchor tenant, refinancing, construction and entitlement. Yet, even bigger things were ahead.
Seeking to build projects at a higher level negotiating in 2020: Diablo Grande Master Planned Community, a 30,000- acre acquisition to be renamed Angel’s Crossing. Phase 1 consisting of 1600 single family homes, hotel and commercial/industrial space.
Building creates lifestyle solutions but giving back changes lives, so Don also donates time to local homeless shelters and children’s programs. Focusing on youth sports programs and the hands-on bridge-training program within actual productions he created for aspiring entertainers, executives and vendors, it keeps faith with his core belief that anything – and everything – really is possible.
Jamila Martinez is an Executive Assistant in the Commercial Development business unit of Skanska, a global construction and development company. She is currently transitioning into the role of a Development Associate in which she’ll continue to focus on providing hands-on support to the acquisition, development, and divestment of projects totaling almost 2M square feet in Houston, Texas. She also acts as an asset manager providing oversight for held developments.
Before joining Skanska, she worked to start up and build a 150-person environmental consulting firm along with her boss of 12 years. That same drive and determination pushes her to grow in the real estate development field.
Since joining Skanska, Jamila has acquired a love for real estate development. She is focused on growing both intellectually and professionally. She’s involved in LEED, WELL and Fitwel certifications for her local developments and is pursuing accreditation. She is also the Chair of the local chapter of Skanska’s Women’s Network, an organization geared towards encouraging the conversation and growth of women in the construction and real estate development fields. Mrs. Martinez currently resides in Houston, Texas.
Chazandra Kern (she/her) is a first generation Filipino American designer, fabricator, and organizer. Chazandra is the Design Lead at LA Más, a Los Angeles based non-profit that designs and builds initiatives that promote neighborhood resilience and elevate the agency of working class communities of color. At LA Más, Chazandra is also the Project Manager of the Backyard Homes Project, a "one-stop shop" Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU) program that enables the average homeowner to become a provider of affordable housing. This incentive program offers homeowners optional financing, design, permitting, construction, and leasing support to build and rent a new ADU to a Section 8 tenant.
She is a core organizer with Design As Protest, a collective of designers, mobilizing strategy to dismantle the privilege and power structures that use architecture and design as tools of oppression. She has been named on Cultured Magazine’s inaugural Young Architects list of 2021, and has guest lectured at Rice University, SCI-Arc, and UC Berkley. Before joining LA Más, she worked for a design-builder, general contractor, and in furniture restoration/fabrication.
Chazandra graduated with a master's degree in Architecture with a Housing Specialization from the University of Oregon in 2017 and with a bachelor degree in Architectural Studies from Arizona State University in 2015.
R.K. Khalfani has served as Chief Executive Officer of Marketorder Global Investors and Chief Strategy Officer of The Homentum Group since July 2015. As a founding principal of The Homentum Group’s businesses, Mr. Khalfani has been at the forefront of creating multiple Real Estate-Owned (REO) platforms across a diverse spectrum of real estate investment, joint venture, asset management, development, and default management servicing sectors. His stellar track record also includes spearheading equity joint ventures throughout local Opportunity Zones, as well as sourcing capital globally for residential and commercial platform investments.
Mr. Khalfani has over 20 years of real estate experience through the launching of numerous real estate ventures, separately managed portfolios, trust deed investments and direct buy-sell-service platforms. In 2010, he founded Capital Cove Financial as a holding company for four separate business entities. These highly integrated entities completed over 600 real estate transactions, acquired national property portfolios, and completed residential & commercial loan workouts. In addition, he was a general partner in the successful acquisition and development of Capital Cove’s Corporate Headquarters in Rancho Cucamonga, California – taking the structure from shell condition to Class A and final certificate of occupancy status within one year. Moreover, Mr. Khalfani acted as the Lead Developer and Asset Manager in the firm’s national rehab and renovation projects. These closed deals included single-family homes, default management engagements, multifamily properties, modular housing, residential land, bridge financing, and specialized asset management.
As a perennial entrepreneur, Mr. Khalfani has established successful ventures in the real estate, REO financial services, infrastructure, nonprofit, and technology sectors over the course of his career. Mr. Khalfani holds an M. A. Degree in International Affairs/Development and has acquired over a dozen respected certifications that include the HUD, FEMA, NAHMA, NCHM and RCFE designations. Steadfastly committed to the spirit of “Nobless Oblige”, Mr. Khalfani continues to be actively involved via direct investments in Neighborhood Revitalization Initiatives, Affordable Housing Programs, Low Income Housing Tax Credits (LIHTC), Homeless Services, Social Enterprise Projects, and Opportunity Zone acquisition and development opportunities. Currently, he acts as a C-Level Consultant, Advisor and Mentor to Investors, Developers, Minority Entrepreneurs, and Non-Profit Social Enterprises who positively impact the communities they serve. Mr. Khalfani has traveled extensively worldwide and served in the U. S. Peace Corps in Tunisia, North Africa.
Nelson is principal at Clellan Consulting, a minority-owned philanthropic advisory and nonprofit services firm he founded. His consulting practice uniquely blends cultural, lived, and professional experiences for a more mindful and sustainable social impact.
As the son of Cambodian refugees, Nelson’s passion for affordable housing stems from his childhood background in low-income housing and public assistance programs. He understands firsthand the challenges experienced by underserved families and brings an equity-focused lens to his work. With the shared belief that all lives have equal value, Nelson spent 12 years at the Gates Foundation in support of this mission where he managed a comprehensive investment portfolio serving vulnerable communities in the Pacific Northwest. Prior to the Gates Foundation, Nelson worked in a variety of capacities in the private, public, and nonprofit sectors. By taking part in the USC Ross Minority Program in Real Estate, Nelson seeks to cultivate his knowledge in real estate finance, investing, and development as it aligns to his personal and professional aspirations.
Lastly, Nelson is an alumnus of Harvard Business School, New York University, and Seattle University. He is an active volunteer in his community and currently resides in Seattle, Washington.
Lynette M. Jones is Assistant Vice President – Senior Legal Counsel for the entertainment division of a global telecommunications company, where she has negotiated contracts for the distribution of NBA and NHL games and theatrical motion pictures. She also serves on the Board of Directors of the Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles; the John M. Langston Bar Association of Los Angeles; the Southwestern Law School Entertainment and Intellectual Property Alumni Association; and the Association of Corporate Counsel, Southern California Chapter. Jones frequently provides free legal services to the L.A. community to support economic empowerment.
Prior to her current role, Jones was responsible for negotiating and drafting talent and production services agreements for DIRECTV’s original NASCAR, NFL, documentary, gaming and special event programs, and managing live concert performance and music licenses for the Emmy® Award-winning customer channel the Audience Network.
Previously, Jones’ television production employers included Warner Bros. Television and MTV Networks.
Jones holds a bachelor’s degree in Communication Arts & Sciences from the University of Southern California and a juris doctorate from Southwestern Law School, where she served as Chair of the Trial Advocacy Honors Program.
Jones joined the USC Ross Minority Program in Real Estate because she hopes to transition to full-time employment with a professional sports team/club that has future plans to build a new stadium or sports-entertainment complex.
Erwin Reeves is a Community Affairs Specialist with the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) San Francisco Regional Office. In this role, he assists stakeholders create relationships that bolster the economic inclusion of low-income communities in Northern California, Oregon and Washington. Mr. Reeves facilitates roundtables, forums, and listening session as well as Train the Trainer workshops to help bankers, community based organization, municipalities and community residents develop programs that comply with the true spirit of the Community Reinvestment Act.
Mr. Reeves has over 25 years of experience working in community and economic development throughout the Northern California focused on developing and implementing technical assistance programs for small businesses, nonprofits, and low-income residents. He has a Bachelor’s Degree in Marketing from Jackson State University and has completed the National Community Development Lending School held at UC Berkeley, Strategy for Non Profit Organizations at Stanford Graduate School of Business, and is a graduate of the masters’ level extension program through the Pacific Coast Banking School at the University of Washington.
Shonelle Blake is a 20+ year investor in real estate. Starting from one building in Leimert Park, she developed a real estate portfolio which included condos, land and multi-family units in several states.
She has also simultaneously worked 13 years in the insurance industry and has held multiple licenses including Property and Casualty, Series 6 & 63, Life, Health, and Disability. She currently holds her real estate agent’s license with Dwell California Real Estate & Investments and NMLS for loans.
Shonelle has become a respected voice in the Short Term Rental (STR) space, having been an operator since 2015 and developed 13 units in that time. She has consulted for numerous real estate investors looking to expand into the lucrative STR space and is a sought after speaker at real estate associations and on college campuses. Most recently she gave presentations on financial awareness and real estate investing to college students at San Jose State University and her alma mater, University of California, Santa Cruz; having earned a B.A. in Economics and graduated with honors.
Shonelle also has done fix and flips in her career and thoroughly enjoys the process of taking properties from shabby to chic. She has many home remodels to her credit and particularly enjoys working on kitchens and bathrooms. Having recently started a wholesaling and lead generation company, Shonelle plans to expand her STR activities and grow her real estate portfolio.
She completed the Management Development for Entrepreneurs program through the Anderson School of Business at UCLA and is very excited about joining the Lusk Center for Real Estate family and add development to her exciting and diverse career. Shonelle is an active member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. and mom of twins who both graduated from college during COVID.
Shonelle also has a background in voice over, acting, producing, theatre and stand-up comedy. You might catch one of her films on Netflix and maybe saw her in a commercial or two over the years.
Vanessa Alexandra Smith (she/her) is first generation Afrolatina paralegal, organizer, and historian. Vanessa is a Program Associate at EPACANDO, a grassroots community development corporation in East Palo Alto that mitigates displacement through local affordable housing opportunities, and promotes community and economic development.
At EPACANDO, she is the caseworker and organizer for Palo Mobile Estates (PME) Preservation Project, the largest mobile home park in East Palo Alto. The PME Preservation Project aims towards ensuring Park residents’ rights are protected and to preserve PME as an affordable housing community asset in East Palo Alto, as well as assisting in the facilitation of residents purchasing their individual lots.
Prior to joining EPACANDO, Vanessa worked with the Public Defender’s Office in Santa Clara and Santa Cruz County. Vanessa also worked at Stanford Law School’s Immigrants’ Rights Clinic as a Program Fellow, visiting detention centers and assisting in the development of class action lawsuits. Her background is in case management, specializing in immigration and criminal law.
Vanessa holds a bachelor’s degree in political science and Spanish from San Diego State University and a master’s in History from the University of Leeds. Vanessa is an Alternate Seat on East Palo Alto’s Rent Stabilization Board and a Fellow at Urban Habitat’s Boards and Commissions Leadership Institute.
Vanessa currently assists with the development of a community land trust in East Palo Alto. She hopes to pursue a law degree in Land Use Law. Vanessa Alexandra Smith lives in East Palo Alto, California
As a Right Brainer living in a Left Brain world, Sonia has a unique balance between analytical and graphic skills. Great people person!
Sonia has over three years of experience in government relations and public affairs; over 10 years of experience working in local government with an emphasis in redevelopment, and community and economic development; and an ongoing fascination with making things visually appealing.
As a government affairs executive assistant, she supported a busy political consultant to help make things happen. She assisted the company Principal with project updates, managing partners, sitting in for Principal, coordinating political fundraisers, interacting with political figures and project management. The office worked with both private and public clients.
Prior to entering the world of government affairs, Sonia spent 8 years with the City of San Pablo, assisting with the city’s land development, facilitating business attraction, developing marketing efforts, coordinating special events and managing the City’s largest economic development project. She served as the City’s communication coordinator developing many of the City's public communications and served as editor and graphic designer for the City of San Pablo’s newsletter.
Her favorite job was that of receptionist at a busy recording studio where she served as the “face” of the company, welcoming VIP clients that included directors and actors. Favorite client testimonial: “I don’t come here because [the company] does great work; I come here because you make me feel important.”
Before moving to the Bay Area, Sonia was involved in a variety of efforts in the Southern California cities of Los Angeles, Inglewood and Pasadena. She led a neighborhood identity project for a historically recognized community; developed a business improvement district, urban design enhancements for an upscale commercial development; and worked for a high‐end commercial realty company.
Daisy Soriano is a Senior Lead with the Account Payable Department at Wework. Daisy Soriano has been at Wework since 2015, playing an instrumental role in supporting the company’s growth and expansion in commercial real estate that provides flexible shared workspaces. In her role she manages a NY based Quality Control Team overseeing the accuracy and overall performance of an offshore team. She is the lead of the daily operations in US, Canada and Corporate payables, as well as support of the international teams based in Latin America, Asia and Europe.
Prior to joining Wework, she worked as a Bookkeeper for a Condo and Co-op Real Estate Management firm based in New York City. While there she developed and produced reporting for internal stakeholders to allow visibility into processing volumes and KPIs; such invoice aging and cost saving opportunities.
Daisy earned her Bachelor of Science in Business degree from CUNY School of Professional Studies. Daisy is working on obtaining her New Jersey Real Estate License, to help first time homebuyers find their dream homes.
She currently resides in Newark, New Jersey.
Nicole Soul is a Creative Entrepreneur & Founder of Film Noir Nights LA. FNN is an LA-based film screening brand that celebrates Black Filmmakers. Nicole’s work as a Filmmaker and Writer has been featured in the Women of African Descent Film Festival, LA Film Festival and Black Hollywood Film Festival.
After winning the title of Miss Black New Jersey USA, she’s demonstrated an ongoing commitment to several passion projects including, but not limited to, collecting 500 lbs. of food to support the LA Mission, serving food at New York Rescue Mission, spearheading empowerment workshops for youth, and advocating for safe and affordable housing, evident in her work as a Board Member of Brand New Day Inc.
Driven by her Grandparents homeownership enterprise, she envisions sustainable communities where marginalized people have the opportunity to own their homes, creating environments for all to thrive.
Nicole holds a BA in communications and a BS in criminal justice from Rutgers University where she graduated with honors from the Chi Alpha Epsilon National Honors Society.
Elizabeth is the founder and co-Executive Director of LA Más, a non-profit based in Northeast LA that designs and builds initiatives that promote neighborhood resilience and elevate the agency of working-class communities of color. Specifically, they envision a Northeast Los Angeles where communities of color have equitable access to the power and resources needed to shape their futures. A notable recent project is their Backyard Homes program where they are designing and building Section 8 housing properties using backyard homes or ADUs.
Elizabeth has also been named an Emerging Voice by the Architecture League, Women of the Year by Los Angeles Magazine, Curbed’s Young Gun of the Year, Next City Vanguard 2019 (recipient of the Vanguard Big Idea Challenge,) and Exhibit Columbus Washington Street Civic Leader. She is currently an adjunct teacher at Cal Poly Pomona and has taught at Woodbury and Harvard Universities. When not on juries or teaching Elizabeth writes in journals and publications like Manifest Journal, Log 48, and Tablula Plena. Elizabeth holds a master’s degree in architecture from Harvard’s Graduate School of Design and a bachelor’s degree in architecture from the University of Southern California.
Erik is a practicing urban planner with over ten years of land use planning and policy experience in Southern California. Erik’s work has spanned the policy and planning spectrum from real estate and infrastructure development, historic preservation, to transportation planning.
He is currently managing the land use entitlement and permitting process for residential and commercial projects. He works with architects, engineers, geologists, and biologists in navigating complicated entitlement processes through local, state, and federal agencies. His experience includes working with the California Coastal Commission, U.S. Army Corp of Engineers, California Fish & Wildlife, Los Angeles County, City of Los Angeles, and Ventura County. Previously, he managed the development process, from site acquisition to construction, of utility-scale solar projects, of up to 80 acres and budgets between $3-5 million.
Erik served as a planning commissioner for Glendale, California from 2009 to 2015, and served as chair of the commission in 2013. Between 2009 to 2015, Erik was also a senior associate for Cordoba Corporation, a planning and civil engineering firm specializing in transportation, education facilities, water, and energy. An advocate for walking and biking, he is a co-founder of Walk Bike Glendale and serves on the Arroyo Verdugo Greenway Committee.