MANAGEMENT COMMITTEE CHAIR
ULI Minnesota actively engages public and private sector leaders in land use planning and real estate development to learn, network and join in meaningful, strategic action. The future holds many challenges and opportunities; we need the diversity of ULI Minnesota’s professional community to meet them wisely.
ULI Minnesota’s Committees serve as the local leadership for the Urban Land Institute, and are made up of leading real estate and land use professionals who volunteer their time to build a strong Minnesota presence for ULI.
A Letter from our incoming Chair, Lynette Dumalag, 6.3.2022
A Letter from our Chair, Jeremy Jacobs -05.27.2022, Welcoming our next Chair
A Letter from our Chair, Jeremy Jacobs – 10.04.2019
A Letter from our Chair, Jeremy Jacobs – 06.03.2020
MANAGEMENT COMMITTEE CHAIR
Senior Vice President, Community Development | Lending & Investment, Bell Bank
MANAGEMENT COMMITTEE VICE CHAIR
Chief Executive Officer, The Ackerberg Group
Executive Vice President of Development, Doran Properties Group
Community and Economic Development Director, City of Plymouth
Magnolia Homes, LLC
Community Development Director, City of Wayzata
Co-Founder and CEO, Onyx Strategic Partners
Colliers International US
Vice President, Rokos Advisors
ESG Architecture & Design
Director of Property Development, Seward Redesign
Senior Vice President, Commercial Banking, Flagship Bank
Community Development Director, City of Minnetonka
June 3, 2022
What can I do?
We have spent two years at ULI Minnesota asking ourselves this. This was the question posed by our previous chair, Jeremy Jacobs, a short time after the killing of George Floyd and the civil unrest that followed. Jeremy has been an extraordinary leader and created opportunities for the Management Committee to be honest and critical of ourselves during this time.
As leaders of ULI MN, we’ve wrestled with a few more questions.
What does racial justice look like? Are there areas where we observe, participate, or drive this work? How do we as members of ULI do our work through the lens of equity?
These past two years have been an uncomfortable time: the Covid-19 pandemic; the racial reckoning following the deaths of our black and brown men and women; and the rise in hate crimes. These economic and societal uncertainties can have one feeling helpless and unsure of what to do next. Let us start with what we know—real estate and land use policies.
Do I belong here?
This question should be thought of in two ways. Do I belong in this industry? Do I belong in this place?
Part of our community and our industry’s story—documented so well locally by Mapping Prejudice—is racially restrictive covenants that excluded communities of color from certain neighborhoods and deprived households of the ability to build intergenerational wealth through homeownership. I serve on the City Council for Saint Louis Park, where several neighborhoods were developed with racial covenants. While most of these covenants excluded black people; some covenants specifically excluded those of Asian ancestry. I am Filipino American. As I canvassed my ward, I reflected on the fact that two generations ago, I would not have been allowed to live in parts of my ward, which meant I would not have been able to be elected to govern.
As the ULI community, we readily acknowledge that past real estate and land use decisions have contributed to community divisiveness, racial inequality, and concentrated wealth. We believe that current and future industry actions can begin to remedy mistakes. This starts by becoming an industry more representative of the communities we serve and by respecting the lived experiences and insights of all our neighbors.
Unique among most member organizations, ULI is intentionally multi-disciplinary and cross-sector. We are also firmly mission-based, and our professional development, peer collaboration, and advisory services are anchored in the commitment to build equitable, thriving, and sustainable communities. To do this, we must continue to confront systems of injustice and do the work to become an inclusive community. A core focus for my time as the Chair of ULI Minnesota will be putting our full effort behind equipping and supporting a diverse cohort of emerging and mid-career professionals who share this mission and bring fresh vision to what it will take to accomplish.
Many of you know of our keystone program, Real Estate Diversity Initiative (REDi), is now offering the sixth annual intensive cohort experience open exclusively to women and BIPOC professionals. Participants put together a complete development concept for a local site curriculum and are supported by robust mentor network. We are also building out career supports for our 150+ alumni network, many of whom are entrepreneurs. Additionally, our DEI Task Force is working to expand our technical assistance offerings for emerging developers and develop a program for established companies in the field to develop action and accountability plans around racial equity.
ULI Minnesota also has a long history of partnering with local leaders and communities. In my role as an elected official, I valuable the spaces ULI holds for peers from different cities to connect and share some of the challenges different communities are facing. The Regional Council of Mayors and Minnesota Mayors Together create non-partisan platforms to build civic trust through relationships, inquiry, partnerships, and action. In the public sector, collaboration across difference is vital.
As your Chair, I am excited for this role at ULI Minnesota. I am grateful for enthusiastic volunteers who say “yes” and actively work to build our skillset as industry experts. Lastly, I am particularly humbled by veteran experts who know how to cut deals and create livable communities who now pause and ask the two questions I posed above. Are we creating a place and an industry where people belong? Is this place planned and built for everyone?
I am also inviting you to join me. Our team will be reaching out with more opportunities to step into a leadership role with ULI, to join our Management Committee or serve in a leadership capacity in one of these critical initiatives. We’ll need your time and talent to make headway in these critical equity and representation goals. We will also need your investment to ensure the financial strength of our organization to keep making a difference for our members, our industry, and the places where we work and call home.
I look forward to building ULI Minnesota, and our future, together.
May 27, 2022
My three-year tenure as Chair of ULI Minnesota is nearing its end after. Suffice it to say, few things went as I thought they might.
In October 2019, I submitted to you that many things were going well for ULI MN—glowing press coverage, thriving programs, and record membership numbers. But our challenges—which I always choose to frame as opportunities—were not insignificant: diversity and inclusion efforts were numerous but much more was needed, our membership was rapidly aging, and financial constraints were increasing.
I wish I could report that we solved these challenges during my tenure. We did not.
Among the many consequences of Covid, I was unable to do the one thing that made me the most excited about serving as Chair: spending time meeting with and listening to members and stakeholders. I will always miss not having had the opportunity to share the real time progress we were making and to enlist your help and support.
In fact, as Covid-19 persists and we mark the tragic anniversary of George Floyd’s murder, the progress we did make could easily be overlooked. The past few years has taught us all that good is not good enough when it comes to addressing systemic racism, pursuing equity, and ensuring ULI MN and all other institutions are places where everyone is able to achieve a sense of belonging.
Fully aware that so much more needs to be done, I remain proud of what we were able to accomplish over the past three years.
First, we assured a robust future for ULI MN by hiring our new Executive Director, Stephanie Brown. Stephanie is and has been an enormous champion for issues surrounding diversity, equity, and inclusion. She is a thought leader in affordable housing, which is a crisis facing virtually every major US metro area, including our own. Her energy and ideas can carry ULI MN to new and exciting heights.
Second, we convened a committee to study the variety of ways in which ULI MN could both itself become a more diverse and inclusive entity and help real estate evolve into a more diverse and equitable industry. The subcommittee made a host of thoughtful recommendations to our local leadership, all of which were heartily adopted. The work of executing on these recommendations is in its infancy, but much has already been done.
For example, ascending into leadership positions within ULI MN, including onto the Management Committee, was once a mysterious process. Going forward, leadership positions will be advertised to membership with transparency around the roles, responsibilities, and qualifications desired. The leaders of this great organization will increasingly reflect the diverse and dynamic communities within which we live and serve — starting with our incoming Chair, Lynette Dumalag.
Lynette and I first bonded as new parents attending the Young American Leaders Program at Harvard University in 2016. What began as conversations about the joys and pitfalls of being a new parent grew into ones about shared prosperity and cross-sector collaboration. I knew then that Lynette was a star in our community whose voice needed to be heard and influence followed.
A veteran of commercial real estate brokerage—a colleague across the aisle at Jones Lang Lasalle—and a newly elected St. Louis Park City Councilmember, Lynette embodies cross-sector collaboration. She brings a wealth of experience and perspective that will be an asset to ULI MN’s continued growth and prosperity.
As we reemerge to tackle the issues of our time, I can think of no one better positioned or more capable than Lynette to help ULI MN and all of us create a more diverse and equitable future.
While I will no longer be serving as Chair, I am eager to continue to serve as a member of the Management Committee and as the Chair of the Governance Committee. I am even more excited to continue in these roles alongside of Lynette and the many other talented and passionate members of ULI MN. I am grateful to have been entrusted with the leadership of ULI MN during a time of incessant uncertainty and am equally eager to partner with Lynette and future leaders of ULI MN to ensure our shared prosperity into the future.
Jeremy R. Jacobs
What can I do? What can we do together?
These questions have guided ULI MN for nearly two decades. Combined, they are our raison d’etre. They guided the formation of the Regional Council of Mayors over a decade ago and, more recently, Minnesota Mayors Together. They have joined members of our community, across lines of politics, professions, race and gender, to dive into the problems that define us through our Product Councils and Technical Advisory Panels. And they explain how the Real Estate Diversity Initiative (REDi) and UrbanPlan were originally conceived.
For these reasons and many more, the Twin Cities are the envy of many other Cities in the US — and for good reason. From our park system to our diverse and strong economy, we have so much to be proud of and grateful for. Yet despite efforts from engaged, passionate, and well-meaning people, Government entities, non-profits and Corporations in our community, serious systemic problems continue to prevent the benefits of being a Minnesotan from being enjoyed by all members of the Communities within which we live.
Nine months ago I wrote to you to inform you that, among other things, diversity, equity and inclusion is our top priority at the Management Committee. Since then, we have been hard at work exploring what more ULI MN can do to impact our Cities and our Region along the lines of DE&I.
The senseless killing of George Floyd serves as a potent reminder that the battle is far from won. The rioting and looting that ensued has been a sad, visible reminder of the disconnect between the Minnesota we all love and the Minnesota we often fail to recognize.
Never before have we seen two crises collide like we have in the past week. The economic uncertainty of Covid ramming directly into the social uncertainty arising from the death of George Floyd has given us all pause in how we manage our personal lives and our businesses. From dinner tables to conference room tables, conversations have changed.
Without a doubt, there is quite a bit more left that we can do — WE MUST DO — together.
Rather than start with answers, ULI MN will double down with questions. How can we leverage our Platform to Deliver to make a difference? How can we accelerate the work already being done by REDi and UrbanPlan to build more bridges between minority members of our community and the real estate industry? What role should we play in facilitating desperately needed conversations in our Communities? What do we aspire to be? Who else should be at our table?
And, how do we do it all as ULI MN itself transitions from the only Executive Director we have ever known in Caren Dewar to a new, yet unnamed leader who will bring new energy, ideas and excitement?
To that last question, I emphatically suggest we do it — together.
Thus, your support of ULI MN has never been more relevant or more urgent. Whatever you’re able to do, whether it’s an investment of time or money or ideas, we will cherish it. An investment in ULI MN is an investment in our shared future of more access, more equity, more inclusion and more prosperity for all.
Let’s have greater collective impact – together!
Jeremy R. Jacobs
October 4, 2019
Record membership numbers. Thriving programs. Glowing press coverage from national media.
It has never been a better time to be a member of ULI MN. Our platform is more robust than ever and the value proposition for being a ULI member has never been more compelling.
The Knowledge Finder tool is connecting more members than ever to the experience and institutional knowledge that flows through ULI on a daily basis. Membership retention rates soar by double digits when members use Knowledge Finder just once in a year. Similarly, ULI’s Navigator is connecting more people to opportunities to engage than ever before.
Yet, our most basic value proposition is unchanged: Trust. Our technical assistance panels are trusted to diagnose challenging urban problems and recommend a path forward. Our product councils are trusted to deliver timely real estate insights in rooms where market competitors engage one another’s experience to evolve our industry separately and together. Our Regional Council of Mayors and Minnesota Mayors Togethers is trusted to convene leaders from across the metro and from across the State to figure out how we can go farther together, faster.
And, most importantly, our members trust ULI to be a place where they can accelerate their careers by tying into and building upon a network of engaged thought leaders. As many ULI MN members know, much of my own success is attributable to the network I’ve built at ULI MN. That is, I’m not only the Chair, I’m also a very thankful member.
But challenges remain. Diversity and Inclusion, despite all of our best efforts, remain areas of great need. ULI MN is deeply invested in and committed to our Real Estate Diversity Initiative, which is being hailed nationally as a model to follow. We have graduated more than 90 people — but much more is needed. We need members, sponsors and key stakeholders at all levels to be engaged in helping ULI MN explore and launch initiatives that take aim at making our industry more diverse and inclusive. Our community is relying on ULI MN to be at the forefront of these solutions.
We also have a rapidly aging membership. Only one-third of ULI MN members are under the age of 45. While ULI MN will never compromise its value propositions for the sake of growth, we need to be deeply engaged in ensuring that ULI MN continues to connect with and engage the youngest contributors of the real estate industry in order to ensure our own long-term prosperity. With trust as our heart beat, we will remain focused on evolving to meet the needs of current members and the next generation.
And, lastly, the financial constraints of running ULI MN have never been greater. We remain incredibly grateful to our Sponsors and Grantors. They enable us to make daily investments into our staff, our members and our industry. Yet, all too often, our impact is limited by the funds we raise each year, much of which is variable from year to year. We are incredibly proud of how much we do with so little, yet its hard not to imagine how much more could be done. During my term, we won’t hesitate to turn over every stone to evaluate how we can grow our balance sheet in order to accelerate the success of ULI MN, of our members, and of our collective Minnesota future.
I’m excited to be a part of the journey that lies ahead. I hope you are too!
Jeremy R. Jacobs
Don’t have an account? Sign up for a ULI guest account.