Lisa Downing has spent over 25 years developing her expertise in urban development on local, national and international levels. Ms. Downing’s work has spanned the areas of education, youth and community development in academic and philanthropic settings; and, executive leadership, organizational management, real estate and economic development in the business sector.
Ms. Downing has worked for esteemed non profit organizations such as: New School University, the Academy for Educational Development, the Annie E Casey and Ford Foundations and Africare. At Africare/Nigeria she lived and worked abroad in Kaduna State, Nigeria where she was the Program Administrator for a Women’s Economic Development initiative that focused on teaching health, financial literacy and income generating skills to urban and rural women. At the corporate, Fortune 100 level, Ms. Downing has worked in Executive Leadership and Succession Planning targeting the top 400 executives at American Express and, in Global Real Estate Operations at Citi which managed a real estate portfolio of 73M sq ft.
For the last 15 years Ms. Downing has spent her time in real estate in brokerage (residential and commercial), Marketing, Sales and Leasing capacities at Warburg Realty Partnership and also in Real Estate Development: Sales, Marketing and Project Management at Cogswell Realty Group and Jerome Stone Development; the latter, was an affordable housing initiative conjunction with NYC’s Housing and Preservation and Development (HPD). In 2010, Ms. Downing launched Connections Real Estate Services Inc. a boutique real estate brokerage and consulting firm. She has sold and leased over $27MM of realty spanning over $80,000 sq ft.
Currently, Ms. Downing serves on Manhattan’s Community Board 10 where she has held leadership roles serving as the Chair of Land Use and Vice Chair for Historic Preservation and Landmarks. Ms. Downing also serves on the Upper Manhattan Empowerment Zone’s (UMEZ) Economic and Physical Development, Workforce Development and Small Business (BRISC) committees. To date, UMEZ has made investments of up to $242M in support of urban infrastructure in Upper Manhattan.
Ms. Downing was a Patricia Roberts Harris fellow at New School University and an International Foundation for Education and Self-Help (IFESH) Fellow for her exemplary leadership in public service; she was bestowed the James Kuhn Diversity in Real Estate award at New York University. She holds a Master of Science degree in Urban Policy Analysis in Management from New School University and, a Master of Science degree in Real Estate Finance and Investments from New York University.