Building Capacity, Confidence and Ownership with the Real Estate Co-Powerment Series | Participant Spotlight1 Comment
Mica Dawkins, a Homewood native and father of 3, participated in the 4th Real Estate Co-Powerment Series cohort in order to fuel his ongoing passion for real estate and jumpstart his career in the field of commercial development.
Since the first iteration of the Co-Powerment series launched in early 2017, we have graduated 4 unique cohorts and a total of 53 students from the program. Past participants have been representative of a multitude of backgrounds ranging from community residents looking to gain knowledge of the real estate market in their neighborhoods, to CDC/CBO staff members seeking to improve their ability to serve community members, to small business owners searching for an opportunity to expand. This broad range of participants presents an opportunity to learn across sectors while strenghtening community-driven, collaborative work that truly benefits neighborhoods. An overarching goal of the Co-Powerment Series has always been to shrink the technical proficiency gap that exists between real estate developers and the community leaders that are participating in development projects in their neighborhoods. We’re proud to support the work of our past participants – those individuals who live and work in our communities and have those communities’ best interest at heart.
Mica Dawkins, a lifelong Homewood resident, is one such participant who carries with him into the field both technical real estate skills and invaluable neighborhood knowledge that allows him to holistically address and smartly navigate the development process in Pittsburgh’s most vulnerable areas. While he only graduated from the co-powerment series in Fall 2018, Mica’s interest in real estate work has been evolving since 2012. He remembers the moment his curiosity was first sparked – while sitting on a friend’s porch, across the street from an abandoned house.
“I saw the beauty in this vacant, run-down home. I saw potential in it.” – Mica Dawkins
He began to develop an interest in complex development processes, technical real estate knowledge and data analysis, while also recognizing an opportunity to change his community. From that point forward, Mica began to read about topics in real estate development and teach himself the ins and outs of the business. However, his trajectory toward this new path was not without its challenges. Shortly after this passion first began, Mica was incarcerated for several years.
Yet, while in prison, Mica perservered and continued to learn as much as he could, never forgetting his initial excitement at the idea of transforming properties. He said that even simply watching real estate shows, including the luxurious Million Dollar Listing New York, reinspired him and made him believe that he too could embark on a career in real estate. “I could do that, too,” he said.
When he was released from prison, he worked in other jobs before finally deciding to try breaking into the real estate field. He found a partner with experience and reached out to Joshua Pollard, CEO of Omicelo and co-convener of the Real Estate Co-Powerment Series, to learn more, make connections and get his career off the ground.
“I know I will be able to make a change with real estate because I found passion.”
Since completing the Co-Powerment Series, Mica has passed his PA Real Estate exam and is in the process of officially obtaining his real estate license. He says that his goal is to use his license to generate wealth for his family and empower his community.
Mica says that anyone with an interest in real estate or community engagement should participate in the Real Estate Co-Powerment Series; but, you should also be ready to make a change.
“Be ready to make a change. You gotta make a change for yourself. Once you make that change for yourself and your family, then you can make a difference in the community.”
About the Real Estate Co-Powerment Series:
The Real Estate Co-Powerment Series is an education platform, co-created by Neighborhood Allies & Omicelo Cares to demystify the real estate development process. Through class instruction, coaching and mentorship, our goal is to demonstrate how community members, organizations, and small business owners can participate and benefit from their own neighborhood revitalization. Course topics include real estate basics, proforma development, transactional law, tax credits, financial training, land use, green building, and more. Check out the Spring course listing here. For more information on the Real Estate Co-Powerment Series, visit our website.