ULI Philadelphia Blog

Recap: “Inside the Urbanist’s Studio”

ULI Philadelphia’s WLI hosted “Inside the Urbanist’s Studio” on Thursday, October, 25, 2018 at Barbuzzo Mediterranean restaurant.  The event was an intimate conversation between Leslie Smallwood-Lewis, founder of Mosaic Development Partners, LLC and Krystal McLaurin, Project Manager at Palace Builders, LLC. Leslie has been Krystal’s mentor for many years. Both women had great advice and insight into the construction and real estate industry from a woman’s perspective.

Here are some things we learned from Krystal and Leslie…

  1. Mentoring young people is important. Showing a young person the ropes will turn them into a leader.
  2. It takes hard work and persistence to do well in the construction management industry. You must take pride in your work.  Old school values and dedication goes a long way.
  3. Real estate is capital intensive. It takes a lot of people’s support to make it. If you don’t have the capital – focus on relationships and build your network of partners who can help get you there.
  4. Projects greatly impact the communities in which they’re rooted. If you’re intentional on where you develop, they have the power to transform and inspire.  Seeing what is possible helps others, especially young people, understand the possibilities of their potential. Leslie expressed a lot of optimism about development and growth within Designated Opportunity Zones.
  5. There are many ways of financing a project. Consider crowd funding!  Allow the community to invest in the project and benefit as much as you do. Make investing more accessible.  Cast the net wider – incorporate those who were not able to take part in the past.
  6. Half full, not half empty. There’s always something positive you can focus on to help you get through the hard times. A sense of humor goes a long way.

WLI thanks Leslie and Krystal for taking the time to share their experiences and thoughts with our members.  A special thank you goes out to our sponsors – Brandywine Realty Trust and Langan Engineering for making this event possible.

WLI meets on the 2nd Wednesday of each month (rotating times and venues).  If you’re interested in joining the council, please contact Kelly Cary at Kelly.cary@uli.org.

Contributed by Ramune Bartuskaite. Ramune is a Designer at JKRP Architects and member of the Young Leaders Council.


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