Skip to content

Empowering Change: Runstad’s Commitment to Diversity in Real Estate

The Runstad Advisory Board has developed several committees focused on supporting the Runstad Department of Real Estate’s students, faculty and programs. One of these committees, the Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Committee, is dedicated to helping create a future where equity is embraced so that the real estate industry and built environment reflect the rich diversity of people in the community.  

This past academic year, the department and board members participated in some great events to help push the goal of moving the industry toward inclusion and equity. In February 2023, the Runstad Department of Real Estate and Foster School of Business held their annual symposium,Hacking Inequity in Access to Real Estate Capital: Best Practices and New Options”. This year the event was also co-sponsored by Urban@UW and Urban Land Institute. After the keynote’s address, attendees heard from two panels: one focused on the experiences of developers seeking capital, and the other on the experiences and advice of capital providers.  This year’s symposium was a follow up to the panel discussion on EDI in real estate capital investments that was held at the Autumn 2021 Runstad Advisory Board Meeting. 

Board member Brian Surratt, was a leading force in the Housing Equity Accelerator program (HEA) this past year. Local Initiatives Support Corporation (“LISC”) partnered with Amazon to increase the supply of affordable housing and support the growth of emerging developers of color in Puget Sound. This work can help build capacity to create more affordable units and forge opportunities to generate equity and inter-generational wealth. Many Runstad Advisory board members and Master of Science in Real Estate alumni volunteered their time and service. Jaebadiah Gardner (a fellow of the program), Peter Orser, Andrew Hunt, McKenzie Darr and Kristin Ryan served as Business Advisors, program advisors and expert panelists. Diane Sugimura served as program facilitator for the year long program with 13 graduates. 

Lastly, we want to thank George Northcroft for working with ULI to shape the February event, “10 Principles for Embedding Racial Equity in Real Estate Development,” and sharing the opportunity for our students to attend.  ULI’s Building Healthy Places Initiative published “10 Principles…” as a guide for developers, investors, and other practitioners in making racial equity an important part of their real estate practice. Taidgh H. McClory, one of the contributors to the report, presented the 10 principles, following George’s impassioned history of racial issues in the real estate industry.  George also moderated a “fireside chat” with Taidgh and Jaebadiah, before attendees broke into small groups to discuss the principles and their commitments to initiate change in their work.  

We are thankful and excited about the work that was accomplished this year by the EDI Committee, and sincerely thank the committee for their service. We look forward to more progress happening in the years to come.

Nicole DeNamur honored at Business of Pride

On June 8th, the Puget Sound Business Journal will celebrate LGBTQ+ business leaders at “Business of Pride: Outstanding Voices and LBGTQ+ Businesses. Among those honored is one of the department’s instructors, Nicole DeNamur.

Owner of Sustainable Strategies, a company that helps companies identify and manage risks centered around sustainable innovation, Nicole has been  speaking, writing, and teaching about sustainable spaces for nearly ten years. Before launching Sustainable Strategies, Nicole practiced construction and insurance coverage law in Seattle. Nicole has been an instructor in the Runstad Department since 2014, and teaches the course RE 459 Risk in Sustainable Development. Nicole’s course explores the intersection between sustainable practices and inclusive spaces.

Congratulations Nicole!

Seattle’s Chinatown/International District: A Personal Reflection by Diane Sugimura

As I think about Lunar New Year 2023, I am in awe of and thankful for the early Asian pioneers who not only faced the difficulties of settling and surviving in an unknown environment, they faced racism, displacement and physical harm.  But through this they persevered, creating a rich, cultural community that thrived and survived — though still very fragile — in spite of challenges from outside forces. 

Happy International Women’s Day!

Today we celebrate one of our own, Katlin Jackson Svik, 2011 MSRE Alumnus and founder of Haitibabi.  She was inspired to start Haitibabi after a life changing trip she took to Haiti a few years ago.  Haitibabi gives moms in Haiti jobs knitting and crocheting high-quality artisan baby goods, empowering them to earn a living while caring for their family.  Haitibabi also gives moms around the world an opportunity to use their purchasing power to support a mom in Haiti. By purchasing a Haitibabi product, a mom is empowering a mom in Haiti to care for her child; moms helping moms.

One in ten children in Haiti lives in an orphanage. But 80% of these children have at least one living parent. These children are orphaned because their parents cannot find a job. She realized that the best way to help these children was to empower their mothers to care for them.





Watch ‘Creators of Tomorrow’, a 10 episode series which includes stories about the creation of Haitbabi.

Haiti Babi’s annual fundraiser wine tasting event is on Saturday, May 7th. Get your tickets now to take advantage of early bird pricing!  Buy Tickets