ULI Philadelphia Blog

The Gift of Mentorship

The Young Leaders Mentoring Program is year-long endeavor designed to develop emerging talent in real estate and foster mutually beneficial relationships within ULI.  As a mentee and an emerging young professional, I’ve been fortunate to be part of the program for a second year in a row. Mentors have always been a part of my personal and professional life.  They’ve helped guide some of my most important professional decisions.  They’ve helped me get through college, weigh my Graduate School choices, make summer internship decisions, and pick professional development pursuits.  I would not be the person I am today without the guidance of these mentors.  It was a mentor who had also introduced me to ULI.  Knowing my goal of becoming an Architect, he highlighted the importance of understanding my role in the development and real estate worlds and urged me to get involved to broaden my knowledge base and prepare myself for the fast-paced urban market.

As soon as I heard of the opportunity to sign up for a mentorship program through the Young Leaders Council of ULI, I jumped at the chance.  I knew that learning from a successful leader of the industry would help me acquaint myself with the city of Philadelphia, its real estate market, and the industry.

Last year, I was fortunate enough to be paired up with Ms. Kim Avant-Babb.  She is an inspiring leader with many roles, including a position as Director of Strategic Partnerships at the New Jersey Redevelopment Authority.  She not only taught me the importance of partnerships but also the importance of striving to reinvent yourself and further your passions.  It was inspiring to see someone simultaneously succeeding in her day job, pursuing multiple careers, and continuing to learn and develop her passions.  I’m grateful to have gotten to know Kim.  She serves as a valuable example to me that there’s always time and energy to do what you love.

This year, I’m excited to have been paired up with Heidi Thiede, Chief Marketing Officer of BLT Architects.  Having some experience with the Marketing aspects of an architecture firm, I’m excited to hear her perspective on what it takes to run an architecture business.  I look forward to learning from her and continuing the rich conversations from our first meeting.

The ULI Mentoring program has been a wonderful opportunity to get to know successful professionals in Philadelphia and learn how their work contributes to our fascinating industry.  I’m grateful for their willingness to share their valuable time and wisdom, and for their enthusiasm in helping support the next generation of real-estate professionals.  I have always believed that I’ve been shaped by the lessons and experience of those that have mentored me.  I will forever be grateful for this gift of mentorship that they have shared with me and hope to one day also mentor a young professional and inspire them as my mentors have inspired me.


Ramune Bartuskaite is currently pursuing her Masters of Architecture degree with a focus on Urban Redevelopment at the University of Pennsylvania.  She received her Bachelors degree in Architecture with a Minor in Marketing from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio.

She is currently taking courses at the Architectural Association School in London through a visiting school program at the University of Pennsylvania where she’s focusing on developing her expertise in the urban fabric of metropolitan cities.

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