WLI Chair Scholarship

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

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.


The Women’s Leadership Initiative aims to increase the number of women leaders in the real estate industry. While women have made strides through the decades in the increased amount of executives, more progress is needed.

The following chart from a study by Grant Thornton shows changes in recent years in the percentage of women in senior management throughout the world. Women were 24% of global senior management in 2013.

The report also provides a breakdown of the top titles occupied by women.

A study by Catalyst from 2013 illustrates the participation of women at different leadership levels in the United States.

Furthermore, according to Business Insider, women constitute only 14% of higher level positions in the real estate industry. Clearly, women are not yet represented in these types of positions according to their proportion of the population.

2018 Vision

The Women’s Leadership Initiative additionally aims to increase the amount of women within its own membership. Below is a chart that displays the WLI’s goals for the percentages of women within the Urban Land Institute by 2018.

WLI Statistical Objective 2018 Vision
Full Members – Private 30%
Full Members – Public 30%
ULI Trustees 30%
ULI Board of Directors 30%
ULI Foundation Governors 30%
District Council Leadership 30%
National Council Membership 30%
Product Council Membership 30%
Product Council Leadership 30%
Young Leaders Membership 50%

Based on data from May 2013, most of these goals have not yet been achieved.


Women make up about 15% of the Board of Trustees, almost 21% of the Product Council Leadership, and 17% of District Council Chairs. These figures were lower in the past, and in some areas we are closer to our goal. However, these levels are still not adequate. WLI recognizes the need to aid the expansion of women in the membership and leadership of the Urban Land Institute.

Read our WLI 2013 Strategic Plan


Meg Blakey bwMargaret (Meg) Blakey, Managing Principal, Canopy Investment Advisors LLC

Meg Blakey is Co-Founder and Managing Principal of Canopy Investment Advisors LLC, an SEC registered investment manager with a focus on commercial real estate debt investments. Ms. Blakey has over twenty five years’ experience in commercial real estate lending and debt capital markets. Prior to founding Canopy, she served as Managing Director at Urdang Capital Management, a subsidiary of BNY Mellon Asset Management. Ms. Blakey was also Managing Director of Capmark Investments LP and served as a Key Principal and Portfolio Manager for commercial real estate debt funds. Previously, Ms. Blakey served as Managing Director with Commercial Ventures, a commercial real estate finance subsidiary of GMAC Commercial Mortgage.

Iben Falconer bwIben Falconer, Business Development Manager, BIG Bjarke Ingels Group

Iben Falconer is the Business Development Manager at BIG Bjarke Ingels Group, in the New York City office, where she has worked since 2010. Prior to joining BIG, she was the Director of Business Development for Steven Holl Architects and also worked as the Reality Check Program Manager for ULI in Seattle. Her articles have been published in Pidgin, Design & Culture, Another Pamphlet, and Conditions, and she was an editor of Perspecta 45: AGENCY, which was published by MIT Press in 2012. Ms. Falconer has presented her research at conferences at Princeton University, Columbia University, University of Washington, University of Wisconsin-Madison, and University of Massachusetts-Amherst.

Get Involved

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