Press Release

REBNY and Coro New York Leadership Center Celebrate the Graduating Class of the 2023 REBNY Fellows Leadership Program


June 22, 2023

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REBNY Fellows 2023

2023 REBNY Fellows Class

Groundbreaking program seeks out rising stars of diverse backgrounds and provides a supportive network and tools to help them shape the future of New York City real estate

NEW YORK, NY – The Real Estate Board of New York (REBNY), the City’s leading real estate trade association, and the Coro New York Leadership Center, the City’s premier civic leadership training program, today announced the newest graduating class of the REBNY Fellows Leadership Program. REBNY hosted the graduation ceremony at Nuveen’s 22nd Floor Terrace at 730 Third Avenue.

The first of its kind for mid-career professionals of diverse backgrounds in New York City real estate, the REBNY Fellows Program is a high-impact curriculum of leadership training, networking exposure and other events that help rising stars shape the future of the industry. Over the last six months, Fellows were called upon to solve complex challenges, assess multiple perspectives and collaborate effectively while becoming part of a lifelong professional network that will support their continued success.

The 24 talented professionals graduating from the 2023 Fellows class come from a wide range of disciplines, including residential and commercial brokerage, development and capital markets. Notably, the 2023 REBNY Fellows program served twice as many participants as in 2022, and early interest in the 2024 cohort has already surpassed early applications in prior years.

“Our Fellows program is continuing to gain momentum, supporting a more inclusive and diverse real estate industry,” said Yvonne Riley-Tepie, REBNY’s Senior Vice President of Social Impact. “As graduates are seen advancing their careers thanks to new skills and greater industry exposure gained through this program and with the support of their employers, our waiting list for the next cohort is growing and more sponsors have reached out than at any point in the last three years.”

Once accepted into the program, Fellows’ employers sponsor their participation costs, demonstrating the commitment of these businesses to a diverse workforce. This year’s program featured thought leaders in the real estate industry, including Bill Rudin – Rudin Management, Michelle Adams – Tishman Speyer, Kirk Goodrich–Monadnock Development, Frank Giuliano--the Durst Organization, Sujohn Sarkar–Trinity Wall Street, Tanya Diaz Goldsmith–Related and Baba Halm–Enterprise Communities, among others.

“Congratulations to the REBNY Fellows Class of 2023,” said Garrett Lucien, Coro’s Vice President of Programs & Training. “Coro empowers diverse leaders and helps to create a more equitable, inclusive and innovative society. Working closely with REBNY and this group of Fellows over the last six months, we’re confident each of them are armed with the tools to make sure New York City’s real estate industry is more reflective of the city it serves.”

In just three years since the launch of the first REBNY Fellows, 58 real estate professionals have graduated from the program. Many of the candidates from the prior cohorts have already gained promotions or greater responsibilities at their firms and continue to have an impact on the industry at large.

The REBNY Fellows Leadership Program was designed and launched based on an overarching commitment by REBNY’s Diversity Committee to create new professional opportunities and take additional steps to increase diversity and inclusion throughout the real estate industry. REBNY is dedicated to advancing efforts that help attract, retain, and advance women, people of color, and others from diverse backgrounds in the real estate industry.

Beyond the Fellows Program, REBNY is partnering with the City's Summer Youth Employment Program (SYEP) and Ladders for Leaders to help diverse college students earn employment and internships this summer. In addition, REBNY has created a series of lunch and learn webinars to engage student participants and cover topics such as Developing Soft Skills, Using Linkedin to Create Your Personal Brand, as well as a virtual job fair and an in-person end of summer event. The webinars will be utilized by other organizations and sectors including the NYPD Foundation, The Governors Island/Navy Yard Fellowship Program, LaGuardia Research Foundation, Financial Institutions and 32BJ. REBNY also partners with Building Skills NY to connect underemployed New Yorkers with jobs and training to create new career pathways into the construction industry.

A full list of this year’s REBNY Fellows graduates are below:

  • Jay Ackerman, Director of Special Initiatives, Real Estate Board of New York

  • Alana Bassen, Vice President, CBRE

  • Athenes Bauza, Director, Business Development, FirstService Residential New York

  • Matthew Berman, Senior General Manager, The Durst Organization

  • Daniel Cobar, Director, AvalonBay Communities

  • Christine Gouwens, Assistant Property Manager, Empire State Realty Trust

  • Lisa Hunt, Director of Operations, Webb & Brooker Inc.

  • Hironori Imaizumi, Senior Analyst, CBRE

  • Leleah James, Executive Director, Related Affordable Foundation

  • Rhett James, Senior Associate, Tishman Speyer

  • Alexander Melendez, Assistant Project Manager, Fairstead LLC

  • Sally Nogueira, Portfolio Manager, Rose Associates

  • Rosemary Pagan, Community Manager, Gotham Organization

  • Lauren Pepin, Associate Real Estate Broker, Compass

  • Christopher Perugini, Associate, Investments & Capital Markets, Rudin Management

  • Waldemar Robles, Real Estate Salesperson, Platinum Properties

  • Nekesha Sawh, Senior Portfolio Programs Manager, Hines

  • Kelly Sposato, MEP Project Manager, Suffolk Construction

  • Ron Stevens, Assistant Property Manager, The Durst Organization

  • Carolina Tejada, Vice President, Operations, Silverstein Properties

  • Caaminee Vecchio, Senior Development Manager, Vice President, Lendlease

  • Cher Yao, Senior Associate, Hines

  • Nicole Zaccack, Development Manager, Jonathan Rose Companies

  • Lizzy Zevallos, Assistant Vice President of Development, MAG Partners

Interested participants for the next cohort can find more information on the program and fill out an interest form at

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The Real Estate Board of New York (REBNY) is the City’s leading real estate trade association. Founded in 1896, REBNY represents commercial, residential, and institutional property owners, builders, managers, investors, brokers, and salespeople; banks, financial service companies, utilities, attorneys, architects, and contractors; corporations, co-partnerships, and individuals professionally interested in New York City real estate. REBNY conducts research on various civic matters including tax policy, city planning and zoning, rental conditions, land use policy, building codes, and other city, state, and federal legislation. REBNY regularly publishes market data, policy reports, and broker surveys. In addition, REBNY provides for its members: informational, technical, and technological resources; networking and charitable service opportunities; qualifying and continuing education courses; professional education programs, seminars, and designations; career-changing awards; legal advice; and a wide range of additional member benefits. For more information, please visit

Chris Santarelli
(212) 616-5249

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