Real Estate Graduate Study Mentorship Program

Real Estate Graduate Study Mentorship Program

The ULI Houston Young Leaders Group is proud to have established the “Phase 2 Real Estate Graduate Study Mentorship Program.” The ULI Houston Young Leaders Group is a subset of ULI Houston members under the age of 35, and as a group it strives to facilitate networking and education that will help members as they start and progress through their careers.

ULI is an international institute that is dedicated to providing leadership in the responsible use of land in order to create and sustain thriving communities worldwide. Members represent every segment of the real estate development community, including property owners, investors, advisers, developers, architects, lawyers, lenders, planners, regulators, contractors, engineers, university professors, librarians, students and interns.

The mission of this Mentor Program is to provide an opportunity for Houston Area Graduate Students (currently in a Real Estate Program, Real Estate Club, or Architecture Program) (the “Mentees”) and experienced ULI Young Leader Members (the “Mentors”) to connect, grow, and create lasting relationships by sharing their knowledge and experiences in an atmosphere of confidentiality, trust, and respect.

Please note, there is not a fee associated with the program; however all applicants must be ULI members in good standing. Interested students may find out more about joining ULI at Scholarships are available on a limited basis upon request. For information about scholarships, please contact Beth Morris at 713.349.8821 or by emailing


2015-2016 Mentors

Travis Baker – Moody Rambin
Travis Baker joined Moody Rambin’s Development Team in 2011. He works on and manages office, industrial, and retail development projects. During college, he spent his summers working at call centers, canvassing neighborhoods for realtors, and interning for homebuilders. After graduating from Clemson University in 2007 with a B.S. in Marketing, Travis returned to Houston and earned his Real Estate license. Prior to working in development, he spent three years as a broker specializing in office lease transactions.

Jeffrey Horton – Lamplight Capital & Asset Management
Jeff Horton is a founding member of Lamplight Capital & Asset Management and currently serves as the Chief Financial Officer. Prior to founding Lamplight, Mr. Horton spent 10 years working for various U.S. affiliates of the Royal Bank of Canada. His previous role was Chief Financial Officer of RBC Real Estate Finance Inc. and part of the Executive Management Team responsible for disposing of Non-Performing Loans and Distressed Real Estate. Prior to that Role, Mr. Horton served as the Regional CFO of RBC Bank in which he was directly responsible for advisory support to the President of RBC Bank in overseeing all of the Sales Businesses in managing a $20 BN Loan Portfolio and a $20 BN deposit portfolio. Prior to that role, Mr. Horton was the Director of Portfolio Management and Initiatives where he led the team that supported Executive Management in the oversight of a $3.5 Billion dollar Real Estate Portfolio and a $2.8 Billion Dollar Problem Loan and Foreclosed Real Estate Portfolio. Prior to that Mr. Horton managed various support functions including Finance, Portfolio Management, and Compliance & Credit Monitoring for the RBC Builder Finance Business Unit. Mr. Horton has a Degree in Economics from the University of Texas at Austin.

Thomas Lee – Trammell Crow Companies
Thomas Lee is a Senior Associate in the Houston office of Trammell Crow Company. He is responsible for identifying, analyzing, and originating ground-up development and value-add investment opportunities in the office sector. Thomas is also engaged in market analysis, underwriting, due diligence, financial modeling, capital structuring, lease analysis, and asset dispositions.
Tommy previously worked as Assistant Vice President for Barclays Capital, focusing on quantitative and qualitative valuation analysis of corporate credits and identification of strategic portfolio opportunities for debt-focused institutional investors, strategic investment funds and hedge funds.
He is actively involved in multiple office and community organizations, serving as a member of ULI (Urban Land Institute), and NAIOP (National Association of the Office and Industrial Properties). Thomas holds a Master’s degree of Real Estate Development and a Bachelor’s degree of Science in Business Administration both from Georgetown University in Washington, DC.

Derek Pershing – Wilson Cribbs & Goren
Derek Pershing is a Commercial Real Estate Attorney licensed to practice law in Texas. His practice includes acquisitions, dispositions, leasing, land use, and general real estate law. Prior to moving to Houston, he was a Combat Medic for the US Army and deployed to Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom V. Once in Houston, he graduated summa cum laude with a Bachelor of Business Administration and a Master of Business Administration in finance from the University of St. Thomas and went on to obtain a Juris Doctorate from South Texas College of Law. He is actively involved in many real estate organizations including ULI and CCIM and holds a Texas Real Estate Commission Salesperson License.

Carson Underwood – David Weekley Homes
Carson graduated from TCU with a degree in Finance with an emphasis on Real Estate. He obtained his real estate license while in college and started working at McDade, Smith, Gould, Johnston, Mason + Co as a land broker after school. In 2008, Carson joined CBRE in their land brokerage department. Following his stint at CBRE, Carson joined the David Weekley team in 2011 where he acts as the land acquisition manager for high density homes.


ULI gratefully acknowledges the support of Wells Fargo Foundation, founding underwriter of the ULI Houston Young Leader Mentorship Program, and the Phase 2 Graduate Student Mentorship Program.



Application Registration (ULI Members Only): Through September 25, 2015
Program: October 2015 – April/May 2016 (commencing with Kick-Off Event and ending with Wrap-Up event)

Groups are expected to meet once a month on average for the duration of the program. Most meet during the week, a mixture of before/during/after normal business and class hours, however it is up to the specific group. The Program will begin with a Kick-Off Event around mid-October that all Mentors and Mentees will attend together. At that meeting, a more detailed overview of the Program will be provided and all Mentors and Mentees will be introduced.

Additional meetings involving all mentor groups may be scheduled throughout the year, but individual groups are expected to schedule a minimum of five meetings (we encourage more if possible) on their own over the course of the Program.


Please note that the program is not designed to promote or encourage internships and/or employment opportunities. Each Group shall consist of three to four Mentees from different professional backgrounds and organizations and one or two mentors.

Each Group shall designate a Mentee that is responsible for setting up the meetings (the “Coordinator/Point Person”). The Point Person should work to ensure the group meets on a regular basis and workout meeting logistics. The role is also crucial to take the scheduling work off the Mentor’s hands.

***Each Mentee is expected to attend all the meetings; 100% attendance and participation is expected. In addition, each Mentee will be responsible for ‘running/leading’ a meeting whereby they come up with a pre-determined topic or activity, and lead the discussion and meeting. The high level of commitment that is expected from the Mentees will allow them to derive maximum benefits from the program.***

Program Size

The initial goal for the Program is 4-8 groups, each consisting of three to four Graduate Student Mentees and one or two mentors.


The Graduate Student/Mentee applicant must be committed to the Program in order to create the type of atmosphere necessary for success. 100% attendance and participation in each meeting over the course of a full year is expected. If applicable, applicants should verify with their employer/supervisor that they will be allowed the flexibility to participate in the Program prior to applying.

Mentee Application Process / Selection of Mentees

Mentees interested in participating will fill out a short application to quantify their interest in (and dedication to) the program. Mentor Program Chairs and the Young Leaders Committee Chair will review and narrow the list of applicants.  Apply here.


The Mentors will be ULI Young Leader members consisting of a variety of backgrounds and experience including development, finance, investments, and brokerage across various asset types. Each of these Mentors has completed a year of the Phase I Mentorship Program; whereby they were mentored by a leading commercial real estate executive member of ULI Houston. The Mentors view this as a great way to help spread their experience and knowledge and to educate existing and prospective real estate professionals on the dynamic industry.

Program Costs

ULI Houston will be covering the Kick-Off and Wrap-Up Event Costs. Each Mentor will be given an overall program budget for the group’s individual meetings. The individual meetings are not intended to be elaborate or decadent, rather informative and educational.

Meeting Ideas

Individual group meetings will consist of the Mentor and Mentees. Each Mentee participant will be responsible for planning one meeting for his/her group during the course of the Program.
Sample discussion topics include:

  • Professional and personal growth (five and ten year plans, life map, etc)
  • Career goals/planning
  • Personal career drivers (geography, family, age, experience, ideals, philosophies)
  • Review and discussion of offering memorandums and packages
  • Property Tours
  • Building plan drawing discussions
  • Case studies on particular projects
  • Pro forma and capital budget reviews
  • Markets, demographics, current events (capital markets, green, infill, infrastructure, etc)
  • Market-submarket tours, discuss factors driving all forms of development in market
  • Site discussions, someone familiar with project join meeting to discuss specific deal, lessons, etc
  • Happy hour/drinks


Confidentiality is absolute, in all ways and forever. This is critically important to the success of this program, and a breach in confidentiality will be treated as a resignation from the Mentor Program.