Developer Beatrice Sibblies: 'African Americans Are The Real Property On Which This Country Was Built'
In this series, Make Yourself At Home, we are hearing from members of the commercial real estate industry about how they are managing this new reality and gaining insight into their day-to-day approaches. You can subscribe on iTunes and Spotify.
In this episode, we talk with Beatrice Sibblies, the founder of BOS Development, which develops housing in Harlem and the Bronx. Ten years ago she helped form an organization called Harlem Park To Park, a social enterprise that works to advance cultural preservation and economic development of small businesses within Central Harlem. Sibblies is now working on a charter school opportunity zone fund targeting the Bronx and Harlem.
Sibblies spoke with Bisnow about about being a woman of color in real estate and watching her white classmates at Wharton Business School all get job offers while she never did.
"I got interviews, I would go in for interviews, the interview would be scheduled at the CFO level, they would then bring in the CEO, they would bring in the chair, invite me back, and I would never get an offer," she said. "As far as I know today, for those major firms that I interviewed at, I don't know if to this day, 10, 15 years later, I don't know if they have any senior African American staff. I don't know them."
She discussed talking to her daughter about the death of George Floyd and watching the sustained demonstrations around the country with her.
"It’s a challenging time. It is a sad time. But it’s probably the most optimistic I have ever been about the future of America," she said. "We are all having to sit still and take a look at that video."