To be the chairman of the Young Men’s/Women’s Real Estate Association is a tricky balance.
The organization is one of the city’s oldest and most prestigious real estate groups, both as an incubator of sorts and a gathering point for some of its top brokers and landlords.
Despite its title, one of the running jokes inside the YM/WREA is the amount of gray hair in the audience at its monthly luncheons, which are well-known for featuring top guests in real estate and related industries.
The job of anyone who takes the reins of the organization, hence, is to strike a tricky balance between maintaining the group’s traditions while maintaining its appeal to the fresh crop of talent that will keep it vital.
At the start of the year, David Berke, an executive at the real estate services firm Cushman & Wakefield, took over as the chairman of YM/WREA after previously serving on the group’s board. Like many in the long line of those who have headed the organization, Mr. Berke views the group as an opportunity to mesh personal and professional excellence, philanthropy with career development.
Mr. Berke, who is 29, is involved in the non-profit New York Cares, a group that helps connect city residents with opportunities to do various types of volunteer work depending on their interests and skills.
His experience with and connection to that organization promises to bolster YM/WREA’s already-strong credentials as an organization involved in giving to those less fortunate. Every Thanksgiving, members of the group staff a kitchen that provides free Thanksgiving meals to the hungry, an event that Mr. Berke has participated in for years.
“Last year I was the one who got to cut the onions,” he said. “I think I must have cut literally 50 pounds worth for the dinner.”
His tenure signifies an increasingly popular calling among young real estate industry professionals to take a more active hand in giving to the needy.
“David has proven himself to be a great leader and tremendous supporter of the association,” Michael Rudder, YM/WREA’s vice chairman said. “He has found the perfect balance of maintaining the traditions YM/WREA has in place, while expanding our outreach to the community through his involvement in New York Cares and other organizations.”