Women in Development
2pm - 2:45pm - Room Jed D. Satow
Alexis Mcsween - Moderator
Alexis McSween is the founder and CEO of Bottom Line Construction & Development, LLC (BLCD). A 100% woman-and minority-owned construction and development company, BLCD embodies the ingenuity, grit and grace that characterizes
Alexis’ life. Alexis brings over eighteen years of practical and professional experience—twelve of which are in real estate development and construction, including public works—to cultivating community. She combines human centric-community development, entrepreneurial problem solving and hard core real estate development and construction management. In doing so, BLCD is able to fulfill market demand, minimize financial risk, leverage transferrable models and maximize municipal incentives while making a broader and lasting impact. At age 24, she acted on her passion in real estate after she sought funding (a SonyMae loan), purchased and renovated her first multi-family unit in Queens, NY. She also owned the end-to-end life cycle development and construction of a $7 million 7-unit boutique condominium development named “Baldwin Park” in honor of Harlem poet and author James Baldwin. While earning her Master’s, she worked as a project manager for a WBE* construction and management firm located in Harlem on public projects to tune of ~$4 million. A key element of her approach to cultivating community is identifying talent potential from the communities Alexis works with and connecting them more broadly to her networks. From design, architecture and engineering to trades to management and leadership, Alexis is recognized for developing talent who are also aligned to the core values of respect, collaboration, accountability and professionalism. This approach not only enhances the quality and value of the work BCLD does, it contributes to the community’s social and economic vitality and resilience. In her words, “grit.”
Alexis also practiced nursing full-time for 13 years—she remains an RN to this day, sometimes donning her RN hat when needed—and was also a first responder having been an EMT with New York City Fire Department. She made her foray into real estate while she served as a nurse in various communities in the Greater New York area. An eclectic professional background no doubt, but when she speaks about her commitment to cultivating community, the common threads of service, quality and hard work shine throughout. Alexis has a Master of Science in Real Estate Development, minoring in Construction Management from New York University’s
Shack Real Estate Institute. She also holds a Bachelor’s degree in Organizational Management and is affiliated with several professional organizations.
Today, Alexis is leading a $6.3 million Tier 1 construction management project in Harlem—The Victoria, a 28-story mixed use complex. She is also pursuing strategic real estate development and construction opportunities that share her community ethos.
Alexis McSween Opportunity Maker. Social Entrepreneur. Community Cultivator.
“When I look at communities, I think about all the things we need to change the landscape of a community for the better.”
* WBE = Women-owned Business Enterprise
President & CEO
Cheryl McKissack Daniel, civil engineer, has more than 30 years of experience in all phases of the design and construction industry including major project work in commercial, healthcare, education, and transportation sectors. Born in Nashville, Tennessee, Cheryl comes from a long lineage of architects and builders that began with an enslaved Ashanti ancestor in 1790. Cheryl’s grandfather, Moses McKissack, founded the family business in 1905. Her father, William DeBerry McKissack took over in 1968, and her mother Leatrice Buchanan McKissack grew the business after her husband died. Today, Cheryl represents the fifth generation of the McKissack family’s century old business, McKissack & McKissack, the oldest minority and woman-owned design and construction firm in the nation. McKissack provides construction management, program management and consulting services for various project types throughout the East Coast and the United States. The firm’s primary focus is in infrastructure, transit, healthcare and education. The McKissack family of services and areas of expertise extends well beyond traditional A/E/C disciplines, broadly supporting client needs related to their facilities. Over the years, Cheryl has built upon the success of her firm’s fore parents by fostering long lasting relationships and by providing innovative solutions to complex projects. Her success stems from her unique ability to listen, ask the right questions, lead via expertise, and preparedness. Each project her firm undertakes, Cheryl brings capabilities drawn from her staff of architects, engineers, and construction professionals. Her company currently employs over 150 employees and has contracted more than $50 billion dollars in construction over the
past decade. Within McKissack, clients find a mastery of talent blended with commitment, resources, and implementation skills, all under the leadership of Cheryl McKissack. As President and CEO, Cheryl serves as Project Executive on all of her firm’s high-profile projects. In this capacity she provides executive leadership and ensures that diversity is implemented during each phase of a project or program. Her skills include proficiency in estimating, scheduling, design review, document control, construction inspection, and developing and implementing quality assurance/quality control programs. McKissack is involved with some of New York’s largest projects including: the New Terminal One at JFK International Airport; LGA Central Terminal Building Redevelopment; Coney Island Hospital Campus Renovation; Harlem Hospital Center Modernization; NYC Economic Development Corporation Hunts Point Cooperative Market, Fulton Fish Market, and MART125 Cultural Center projects; Atlantic Yards (Pacific Park) LIRR Yard Relocation; Columbia University Manhattanville Expansion; Henry J. Carter Specialty Hospital & Skilled Nursing Facility and The Studio Museum in Harlem. McKissack also serves as the MTA
Independent Engineer Consultant overseeing the Capital Construction Program of the
nation’s largest transportation system. Cheryl serves on numerous, corporate, charitable and community boards. As a board member, Cheryl focuses on strategic planning as part of good governance. She believes strategic planning is a critical part to a board’s mission and formulating good strategy ensures long-term value creation, building an ethical culture and managing risk. Cheryl has been honored as a “Hero of Liberty” for her support of humanitarian initiatives and for promoting the responsibilities of a free and diverse America. She earned both a bachelor and master’s degree in civil engineering from Howard University and graduate
course work Columbia University in Civil engineering.
Managing Principal and Founder
Dawanna Williams established Dabar Development Partners as a full-service real estate development and investment firm focused on the preservation, renovation and new construction of architecturally significant real estate properties. With over 20 years of experience in the industry and a background that spans both real estate law and business, Dawanna guides projects with a unique approach that combines her expertise as a legal and business pragmatist, strong community-driven values and a passion for refined materials and design
As Genesis’ Managing Director of Development, Nicole draws on nearly 20 years of industry acumen in the public and private sectors to finance complex housing developments for the firm. In this role, Nicole crafts and executes real estate projects involving Year 15 re-syndication, conventional debt, taxable and tax-exempt bonds, LIHTCs, RAD, HOME, CDBG, and a range of other public and private funding sources.
Prior to joining Genesis, Nicole served as a developer with Pennrose Properties and as a manager for the Philadelphia Housing Authority. Before that, she worked with lenders, municipalities and nonprofits across the country as a consultant for Community Development Services. Nicole currently serves on the steering committee for the New Jersey chapter of Women in Housing and Finance. She earned her Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from Rice University and a Master of Science of Real Estate Development from Columbia University. Nicole currently serves on the Board of Directors for the New York Real Estate Chamber (NYREC).
Ericka Keller truly has a heart for community development and revitalization. Attending school on full academic scholarships and graduating Magna Cum Laude, Ericka earned her Bachelor of Arts, Master of Science, and Professional Certification degrees from New York University, Brooklyn College, and the College of St. Rose, respectively. Ericka commenced her career as a junior high school teacher and served 10 years as NYC Department of Education Principal before taking over the family business of construction and development in 2012.
Ericka built upon Brisa Builders Corp’s history as a HUD 202 General Contractor building senior housing for faith-based sponsors and in 2016 opened her own company Brisa Builders Development LLC, an organization focused on the development of affordable housing with faith-based organizations and church partners. Since 2016, Brisa Builders Development LLC has currently completed over 660 units of affordable housing with more than 108,575 sq. ft. of commercial/retail and community facility spaces, many with faith-based partners. The company currently has over 700 units in predevelopment in NYC including 233 units as the selected developer for the NYC Department of Housing Preservation and Development’s Brownsville RFP- Site B in 2018. In 2019, she partnered with a colleague to expand the business outside of the NYC metro area by forming Brisa Development LLC, Brisa was the winner of the City of Chicopee, Baskin Site in 2020 and the 24-acre Carriage Grove site in Western Massachusetts in 2021 as well as purchaser of properties in Rhode Island and Maine. Ericka has received several awards and citations during the course of both of her careers including, the 2009 Queens Rotary Club “Unsung Hero Award”, 2010 NYS Senate “Constituent of the Month Citation”, 2012 National Association of Professional Women (NAPW) “Woman of the Year Award” the 2015 Mayor Hall -Village of Hempstead “Woman of the Year Award ”, including recognitions from recent colleagues like the New York State Association of Affordable Housing (NYSAFAH) 2021 M/WBE of the Year and 2021 Crain’s Notable Business Woman Recognition. Ericka also provides an annual scholarship to young men from Brooklyn, pursuing college with an entrepreneurial spirit, in honor of her late father, Thomas B. Keller.