Women, People of Color Graduate from Real Estate Developer Academy

A more diverse talent pipeline of real estate professionals in the metro is on its way, thanks to 16 women and/or people of color completing the first ever Developer Academy (www.sparkcdi.org), a team effort from Omaha-based Spark and the National Development Council. The Academy taught participants a variety of real estate and finance basics and is grounded in Spark’s commitment to holistic community development led by those who live, work, and believe in their neighborhoods. The participants completed two weeks of intensive training and networking workshops at the end of October and are now taking steps to bring their real estate development ideas to life.

The graduates of the inaugural Spark Developer Academy are Angel Starks, Brandi Liberty, Donnell Brown, Dr. Ralph Lassiter, Franchell Abdalla, Jewel Rodgers, Juan Daniel Sanchez, Justine Knapp, Kassie Inness, Katrina Adams, Kyle Keith, Lynn Dittmer, Nancy Williams, Ruben Gomez, Shaun Ilahi, and Tiba Brown.

Each participant earned their place in the group through a competitive application process and is relatively new to real estate development. The National Development Council provided the rigorous coursework. More than 30 local real estate experts assisted in the workshops as panelists and presenters, offering local connections and advice specific to the Omaha metro area. The culmination of the Academy allowed each graduate to pitch their project idea to local real estate development and finance experts.

A second cohort of developers will be selected for the Spring 2021 Developer Academy in March. More information on the Academy and continuing education opportunities open to the public can be found on www.sparkcdi.org. To set up interviews with the Spark staff or Developer Academy participants, contact Angela Smith at (402) 708-0050 / angela@sparkcdi.org.