Regency Partners With USC Ross Program To Establish Employee Empowerment Fund

Regency Centers has joined forces with the University of Southern California to establish an Employee Empowerment Fund. The fund is an annual donation that provides an opportunity for at least one local Regency employee to attend the USC Ross Program in Real Estate.

The Ross Program in Real Estate is a certificate course established in 1993 to enable members of underrepresented groups and those who invest resources in emerging communities to build a foundation toward leadership in real estate finance and development. The program is offered under the USC Lusk Center for Real Estate.

Throughout the intensive, four-week program, students come together to gain industry knowledge and solve complex real estate challenges. Graduates go on to play roles in numerous commercial, retail, residential, and mixed-use developments throughout Southern California and across the nation.

I’ve had people tell me the course has changed their lives,” said Mary Peralta, Program Manager, USC Ross Program. “The development sector is one of the biggest money-making sectors when it comes to land use, and it’s been largely closed off to women and people of color. Alongside organizations like Regency Centers, we’re trying to change that by providing more knowledge, understanding, skills, connections, and access.

The culmination of the course is a real estate development project, where teams of students are taken to a real piece of property in Los Angeles and tasked with coming up with the highest and best use of the land. Teams then present their pitches to investors, community members, and stakeholders — as they would in the “real world.”

Erika Omana, Senior Property Manager, was the inaugural recipient of the Employee Empowerment Fund. She and her colleagues beat out four other teams to earn “Best Development Proposal” for the winter 2024 session of the USC Ross Program in Real Estate.


Overall, I 10/10 recommend the program,” said Erika Omana, Senior Property Manager. “I gained an incredible amount of knowledge and now understand the business from a completely different perspective. I’d recommend it to anyone who wants to take their real estate career to the next level. I hope to use my education to help create a better world for those around me, especially underrepresented Latinas in the real estate industry.

To learn more about the USC Ross Program in Real Estate, visit