Women’s Leadership Initiative

The mission of the ULI Women’s Leadership Initiative is to raise the visibility and number of women leaders in ULI and the real estate industry.

Women’s Leadership Initiative

ULI Women’s Leadership Initiative Formally launched in Charlotte at the ULI 2012 Spring Meeting, the Women’s Leadership Initiative (WLI) was formed in late 2010 and is now an active part of ULI’s Larson Leadership Initiative. ULI New York is excited to welcome WLI to our District Council.


The mission of the WLI is expressed in its four primary objectives:

  • Promote the advancement of women, throughout their careers, as leaders in the real estate industry.
  • Increase the number of women who serve in leadership positions in the real estate industry and in ULI.
  • Increase the visibility of women leaders in the real estate industry and in ULI.
  • Increase the number of women who are active ULI Full members, and support the development of young women members as leaders in ULI and in their professions.

To date, the WLI has provided programming for the Spring and Fall meetings, sponsored networking events and helped women navigate within ULI.

To find out more about WLI and to get involved, please contact ULI New York.

Leader Biographies

The Co-Chairs of the WLI are responsible for representing the interests of WLI and advancing the mission of ULI within the WLI platform of activities. The Chairs participate on the District Council Management Committee and support and celebrate the efforts of the various WLI committees.

Ropa-43246960-3680-flatBethany Logan Ropa, Co-Chair
UBS Investment Bank

Bethany Logan Ropa is an Executive Director in the Real Estate, Lodging & Leisure Group at UBS, focusing on strategic advisory and corporate-level debt and equity financing assignments for real estate and lodging companies. During her career at UBS, Ms. Ropa has completed over $50 billion in M&A, equity capital markets, debt capital markets and financing transactions.  Ms. Ropa has experience working across multiple sub-sectors in real estate including office, industrial, retail, multi-family, lodging, net lease and healthcare.   Notable recent advisory transactions include Select Income REIT’s $3 billion acquisition of Cole Corporate Income Trust and NorthStar Realty Finance’s $4 billion acquisition of Griffin-American Healthcare REIT II.  Ms. Ropa received an MBA from the MIT Sloan School of Management, where she concentrated her studies in corporate finance and real estate.

belinda_wattsBelinda Watts, Leader – Financial Services Practice Area, Senior Associate

Belinda leads Gensler’s financial services practice in the Northeast region and brings particular expertise to the design and management of the boutique financial workplace. Belinda moved to New York after graduating with a Bachelor of Architecture degree from Curtin University in Perth, Australia. She continued her education at Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, where she received a Master of Architecture degree. Belinda is a regional leader for Gensler’s Northeast region financial services practice area, with a focus on the private investment sector. Her leadership within the financial services sector is reinforced by a broad experience across many industries and project types ranging from building adaptive re-use to high-end retail, including the relocation of Christie’s to Rockefeller Center and the development of the 57th Street Burberry Store. She applies her knowledge of evolving workplace trends to building repositioning projects and new commercial ventures. She is currently Co-Vice Chair of the ULI Women’s Leadership Initiative.

Serena Wolfe, Co-Chair
Ernst & Young

Serena Wolfe is a partner in Ernst & Young’s (E&Y) New York Real Estate practice.  Serena has practiced for over 14 years, including six years with E&Y Australia and eight years with the US practice. Ms. Wolfe spent four years as the Channel 1 Sector Resident in the Global Real Estate Center, where she had been involved in the analysis of recent accounting standards on the real estate industry, including US GAAP and International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) and the development of national training courses and international real estate conferences.  She has been instrumental in the development of articles and other thought leadership activities for clients on important technical issues. Ms. Wolfe earned a BCOM in Accounting from the University of Queensland, Australia, and is a member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Australia.  Serena is a Certified Public Accountant in California, New York and Pennsylvania.