GBREB Internship Program Promotes Diversity in Boston Real Estate

Greater Boston Real Estate Board  pic
Greater Boston Real Estate Board

As founder and president of The MacDowell Company, Roy MacDowell is in charge of the firm’s landscape design and construction operations in New England. Also a principal at the Weston, Massachusetts-based Baystone Development, Roy MacDowell belongs to the Greater Boston Real Estate Board (GBREB).

While Boston as a whole has become increasingly diverse, the city’s real estate industry has largely maintained the same homogeneous composition: white male. To address the lack of racial and gender diversity in Boston’s commercial real estate, GBREB, in partnership with uAspire, launched an internship program designed to introduce academically gifted students from disadvantaged backgrounds to commercial real estate, or CRE.

In the summer of 2015, three college-bound students, Kiana Mendes, Zashira Arias, and Meitong Mei, completed paid internships at WinnCompanies, Colliers International, and Leggat McCall Properties, respectively, some of the city’s most prominent real estate firms.

The students, none of whom had worked in an office before, started their internships with administrative tasks such as filing but before long graduated to more complex duties. The three gained a deeper understanding of CRE, and as a result, one of them, Mendes, is strongly considering joining the industry as a professional developer.


The Center for Women’s Entrepreneurial Leadership at Babson College


 Babson College pic
Babson College

The recipient of the Massachusetts Historical Commission Award, Roy MacDowell is the founder and past president of the landscape design and construction company the MacDowell Company. Now the principal of Baystone Development, Roy MacDowell is a past trustee of Babson College.

Founded in 1919 with 27 students, Babson College has grown to accommodate more than 3,000 undergrads, the F.W. Olin Graduate School of Business, and an Executive Education program. Consistently ranked as the top school for undergraduate and graduate entrepreneurship studies by the U.S. News & World Report, Babson follows guiding principles designed to create leaders with significant social and economic impact. To increase its potential for positive impact, the college supports several institutes and centers to share research and allow students to receive hands-on education. Among them is the Center for Women’s Entrepreneurial Leadership (CWEL).

Established in 1999, CWEL offers current students and alumni educational resources, mentoring opportunities, and the chance to experiment to achieve social and economic value. To attain those goals, CWEL sponsors a number of annual programs, each of which focuses on a different issue or specialty area. For example, the Women Innovating Now lab helps 20 women develop and build their ventures over the course of the year-long program. The Mentor Mashups program brings students and successful mentors together for networking and discussion groups.