2001 - present
Henry Joseph, Development Consultant
Building Community Capacity
Six month seminars provide local community developers
the opportunity to increase
their skill and knowledge
of real estate development.
LISC Boston periodically offers a six month seminar for project managers from local community development corporations to develop their knowledge of real estate development and their project planning and problem-solving skills. With its structure of a group of six participants and one seminar leader, the seminar allows participating project managers to draw on the knowledge and experience of their peers, as well as the seminar leader. Participants meet in a group of six for four hours once a month for six months to discuss their current projects, as well as topics relevant to project management. This format is designed to provide participants with different levels of experience and knowledge that are immediately applicable to their current projects and useful for future endeavors.
Before the seminar starts, each participant is required to identify a development project that he or she is working on and provide some basic information about this project. These projects then serve as the "case studies" for the seminar.
In the first part of each meeting of the seminar, three of these projects are reviewed and discussed. Each of the three project managers briefly presents his or her project, describing the basic goals for the project and its current status, and then focuses on questions that have arisen, problems or obstacles that have been encountered, and actions that are planned for the near future. The group then discusses the project, with the other participants and the seminar leader drawing on their own experiences to provide information and ideas to the project manager. Each project manager will present his or her project in this way every other month, so that each project will be discussed three times over the course of the seminar and project managers will have multiple opportunities to receive advice and help as projects progress.
In the second part of each meeting, the seminar leader presents on a specific real estate development topic and then opens the topic up for questions and discussion. The focus of this segment is on project managers gaining a better understandig of relevant topics than what is typically possible in the daily rush of managing projects. The topics are drawn from any aspect of real estate development and are selected by the group. Examples of topics that have been selected include: the process of getting a zoning variance, different approaches to selecting and contracting with a builder, and the various types of project financing.
The seminar also includes "office hours" – two two-hour periods each month when the seminar leader is available to individual participants, by telephone, to discuss any development-related topics, including questions about specific programs or projects.
62 project managers have completed the seminar in the past 9 years.