Last Friday marked an extraordinary milestone as me and my colleagues at Baker Tilly (BT) in Chicago bid farewell to our interns Bryce Scott and Mohammad Huzayfa, who successfully completed the Urban Alliance Property Management Pathways Program.
Over the past 7 months, I had the privilege of mentoring these two exceptional individuals, alongside my colleagues at Baker Tilly US, in the awe-inspiring world of affordable housing and our transformative #DevelUP Initiative, which aims to empower minority-owned businesses in the real estate industry.
Throughout their journey, Bryce and Huzayfa proved to be exceptional team members from day one. Their unwavering eagerness to learn and passion for personal and professional growth were palpable. They approached every task with an infectious determination and an insatiable thirst for knowledge, inspiring not just me but also their fellow team members.
The time spent with these bright minds allowed us to witness firsthand how our work is shaping the next generation of leaders.
From delving into the intricacies of the LIHTC program to exploring Chicago’s Invest Southwest Initiative and the innovative use of modular housing across states, Bryce and Huzayfa displayed a level of commitment and enthusiasm that left a lasting impact on our team.
At the heart of our DevelUP initiative lies a deep commitment to fostering meaningful business outcomes for underrepresented and emerging developers. Equally important is our dedication to creating opportunities and accessible entry points for students and professionals from diverse backgrounds to explore and flourish in the community development industry.
I would like to extend my heartfelt appreciation to Nerina Martinez, Yaritza Sandoval Marquez, and Abiodun Durojaye, Ed.D, for their invaluable partnership and unwavering support throughout this journey. Together, we are building a future where inclusivity and diversity thrive, and our collective efforts continue to make an extraordinary difference.
As Bryce and Huzayfa move forward, I have no doubt that they will carry the spirit of DevelUP and our commitment to equitable impact in their hearts. To both of them, I wish you boundless success and fulfillment in all your future endeavors. You have a bright path ahead, and I am confident that you will shine as beacons of positive change in the world.
Here’s to the remarkable achievements of Bryce and Huzayfa, our outstanding Chicago interns, and to the continuous support of the incredible work of our partners. Together, we will make a lasting difference in the lives of countless individuals and communities.
This was written by Matthew Paschall, National Program Manager of DevelUp at Baker Tilly US, and originally appeared on LinkedIn in July 2023. Reprinted with permission.