The First-Ever Recipient of the Gary Whitelaw Strength in Diversity Award
Melissa Daly‐Buajitti (MREI Candidate 2022) is the inaugural winner of the Gary Whitelaw Strength in Diversity Award.
Established in June 2021 by BentallGreenOak (BGO), this award draws on Gary Whitelaw’s continuing commitment to improving diversity and representation in Canada’s commercial real estate industry by investing in future leaders.
“I am so honoured to be the very first recipient of this substantial and socially meaningful scholarship,” said Daly‐Buajitti. “It will make a significant impact on my career ‐ giving me the opportunity to participate in this prestigious program and allowing me to also focus on my studies, networking and extracurricular leadership activities.”
“We are in year one of a very exciting, decade-long journey to provide meaningful opportunities for aspiring leaders in real estate from diverse backgrounds,” said Gary Whitelaw, former CEO of BentallGreenOak. “On behalf of BGO, I wish to congratulate Melissa Daly-Buajitti on this wonderful achievement and we hope that her example will inspire many more people from underrepresented communities to explore pathways to a rewarding career in our industry. We are rooting for Melissa and are looking forward to being a source of guidance for her throughout her academic and future professional pursuits.”
The Gary Whitelaw Strength in Diversity Award provides an annual scholarship of $25,000 to support students enrolled in Schulich’s Master of Real Estate and Infrastructure Program or the MBA specialization in Real Estate and Infrastructure, to aid their research and related scholarly and creative activities. To be eligible, students must identify as Black, Indigenous or female and demonstrate leadership potential. Recipients of the award will be short‐listed for the opportunity to interview for a paid internship program following graduation through BGO’s Built to Lead Program, and also be provided with the opportunity for an optional mentorship with a senior team member from BGO.
“On behalf of the entire Schulich community, I wish to congratulate Melissa on becoming the inaugural recipient of the Gary Whitelaw Strength in Diversity Award,” said Detlev Zwick, Interim Dean of Schulich. “What is especially valuable about the BGO scholarship is the fact that, in addition to generous financial support, it removes additional barriers by providing students with the possibility to gain vital industry experience and networking opportunities.”
“I am committed to using the lessons, opportunities, and relationships I gain through this opportunity to make a positive impact in the industry,” said Daly‐Buajitti.