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Culture Profiles

Celebrating National Hispanic Heritage Month

Save the Date | Celebrate With Us

Mark your calendars for a virtual celebration hosted by VIDA, our Hispanic and Latino employee resource group, on October 8 and stay tuned for more information.


Learn About VIDA

Being able to embrace our cultural identities and bring our most authentic selves to work is incredibly important to not only our jobs, but also to our overall wellness. In collaboration with VIDA, we’re proud to observe National Hispanic Heritage Month from today, September 15, to October 15, which celebrates and recognizes the tremendous histories, cultures and contributions of Americans whose ancestors came from Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean and Central and South America.

Members of VIDA strive to promote awareness and understanding of the Hispanic and Latino culture for the purpose of innovation and community stewardship. Similar to other Bozzuto ERGs, like LIFT, VIDA offers employees of similar backgrounds a chance to connect and build a community that extends beyond their usual work team, while also offering opportunities for education, professional development, engagement, empowerment and charitable opportunity. As the executive sponsor of VIDA, Bozzuto Management Company (BMC) Regional Vice President Adanise Cross’s goal is to continue employee outreach, increase employee engagement and marketplace reach and expand Bozzuto’s Latino and Hispanic bench for future leaders.

“This group has given me a sense of belonging and comfort knowing that Bozzuto understands the importance of diversity and inclusion in order to succeed,” she reflected.

If you are interested in joining VIDA or another ERG, please visit Teleskope, the online platform that manages our ERG membership. If it’s your first time using the platform, please click “Sign Up” and follow the prompts to create your account.


VIDA Employee Perspectives

Jessica Gonzalez-Griffin, BMC Regional Vice President 

Tell us about yourself. 

I am a Puerto Rican woman who was born and raised in Boston during my younger years, and I have lived in the DMV since 10th grade in high school. I started my career in property management with Bozzuto as a sales and marketing associate from 2004-2010. I am a “Bozzuto Boomerang” who returned as a regional manager in early 2017. My hobbies revolve around diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI)-related efforts and traveling with my family. I am also obsessed with watching movies at the movie theater.

Tell us about a time that you stepped out of your comfort zone for an opportunity. What was the outcome? 

I actually just stepped out of my comfort zone late last year when I decided to raise my hand to leave the Northern Virginia market for a Washington, D.C. portfolio. Although the markets are close, I considered myself to be a seasoned Northern Virginia expert since I had 15 years in that market, and thought of myself to be the opposite of that for D.C., since I had merely dipped my toe in that market throughout the years. I was excited about the opportunity, but very nervous about learning a whole new market filled with new employees, clients and co-workers. The outcome was a tremendous blessing. Not only did I join a team of amazingly supportive and talented peers and employees, but it also resulted in a promotion.

What are some of the projects you’ve either worked on or led that you are most proud of? 

I feel blessed to have had the opportunity to work on many projects at Bozzuto. My time as regional manager of the WashREIT portfolio holds a special place in my heart because I considered us to be in the trenches on several complex and large assets, such as Riverside and The Wellington. Because we worked so hard, those team members became like my family—it’s a portfolio I will always hold near and dear to my heart. However, I didn’t expect to fall equally in love with the D.C. projects I currently oversee. I truly can’t pick a favorite project, but each one in my portfolio has an interesting element to it—Monroe Street Market and Everton, City Market at O and 880 P, i5 Union Market, The Hepburn, The Channel, Incanto and The Banks. The sites are gorgeous and my teams are beyond amazing. In conclusion, asking me this question is like asking me to choose who my favorite child is—it’s impossible and I love them all the same for different reasons.

 As far as Bozzuto DEI efforts and employee resource group (ERG) projects, I am particularly proud of my work with the Diversity and Inclusion Forums, VIDA, Rise by Bozzuto and the Courageous Conversations series.

What are some of the challenges you’ve experienced in a professional setting as a Hispanic/Latino individual? How did you overcome them? 

I do not have a specific experience that I can remember at the moment. My life at Bozzuto has been filled with countless blessings. I will say that as a Latina/minority woman, I have always felt a certain amount of pressure to do more and be more. It wasn’t enough to be good or work at the same pace as others—I had to be great or go home. My parents would say this to me countless times growing up, so I think it’s something I have always remained self-conscious about. In many ways, being Latina has benefitted me also because I could serve as a helper and/or a soft place to land for my people.

 What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received? 

The best advice I have ever received is to always remember where I come from, and to value and honor my people. 

 What is your favorite or most meaningful cultural tradition? 

If you have ever met a Puerto Rican, you’d know that we turn everything into a celebration that includes food, music and laughter. There is nothing I love more than gathering with my family to cook empanadas, alcapurrias (stuffed fritter made with taro and green banana), pasteles (Puerto Rican savory pastry), arroz con gandules y tostones (yellow rice and pigeon peas with fried plantains), pollo guisado (chicken stew), bistec encebollado (steak and onions), etc., while singing and dancing to some traditional salsa music from Jerry Rivera, Marc Anthony and the greats. 

How have you been practicing wellness or self-care during this time of pandemic and social injustice? 

This is a tough one. I have sometimes gone the unhealthy route of eating and denial. This year has really been tough on me and there is no way I can lie about that. Attending online church more has done a lot of good for my soul. Another thing that has helped me is feeling like I can give back through mentoring, volunteering my time for DEI-related efforts and just being available and open to any of my co-workers and fellow employees. I have also taken conscious efforts to enjoy my kids and family more. Extra time with them has been healing. I remain busy and remind myself that everything happens for a reason, and all storms will pass.


Erik Rodriguez, Maintenance Manager, CURV 

Tell us about yourself. 

I’m from San Pedro Sula, Honduras. I came to the U.S. four years ago, entered the visa lottery and got my green card. I worked for a cleaning company before, but I got maintenance certifications, applied to be a maintenance technician at The Lenox in Jersey City, New Jersey and got the job.

 Tell us about a time that you stepped out of your comfort zone for an opportunity. What was the outcome? 

In my country, I am an industrial engineer. And here, I always want to continue growing. That’s why I’m now working as a maintenance manager in Florida.

 What are some of the projects you’ve either worked on or led that you are most proud of? 

I am now a maintenance manager. I just moved to Florida two months ago, and I would like to validate my degree that I earned in Honduras here. But this has to wait to be finished because of COVID-19.

 What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received? 

Never give up on your dreams. Anything is possible. 

 What are some of the challenges you’ve experienced in a professional setting as a Hispanic/Latino individual? How did you overcome them? 

When I came here, my challenge was to overcome my fear of speaking English. Now, it’s totally different—I’m bilingual. I practice every day, because the only way to get ahead and have a better future is to speak English.

 What is your favorite or most meaningful cultural tradition? 

The traditional food from my country such as Baleadas and pollo chuco and Honduran folk dance.

 How have you been practicing wellness or self-care during this time of pandemic and social injustice? 

I’ve been following the rules of personal care in order to prevent and avoid contagion. 


Daimy Alvarez, General Manager, ParkLine Miami 

 Tell us about yourself. 

I was born and raised in Miami, Florida and am proud to be a Cuban American. I have been with Bozzuto for seven months now and am thrilled with the work culture within the company. I love to dance, travel and spend time with my family. I have two beautiful daughters, an amazing husband and a very handsome goldendoodle.

Tell us about a time that you stepped out of your comfort zone for an opportunity. What was the outcome? 

I would say taking on my first lease-up community was definitely stepping out of my comfort zone of managing stabilized communities. I wasn’t sure if I wanted to do it, but now, three lease-ups later, I am glad I accepted the challenge. I love the fast-paced, have-to-get-things-done type of environment. I love being able to start from scratch and see the project flourish into a successful and profitable community.

What are some of the projects you’ve either worked on or led that you are most proud of? 

I am proud of every single project I have worked on. They have all had their challenges, but I was able to overcome them all and achieve the ultimate goal for every project. 

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received? 

Be consistent. Never give up. Always meet deadlines. 

What are some of the challenges you’ve experienced in a professional setting as a Hispanic/Latino individual? How did you overcome them? 

What I have noticed in prior companies is that Hispanic people were never considered for corporate-level positions, no matter how good they were. It brings me joy to see not just Hispanics but also a diversity of people represented within the corporate positions at Bozzuto. It’s inspiring! It motivates me to know that our hard work will not go unnoticed because of the color of someone’s skin or the accent of their voice.

What is your favorite or most meaningful cultural tradition? 

One of the most meaningful traditions of my culture for me would be celebrating Noche Buena, also known as Christmas Eve. Everyone always looks sharp, you can smell the pork roasting from down the street and you hear the domino tiles being mixed over the sound of very loud salsa music. Everyone is happy, dancing and enjoying each other’s company. 


Adanise Cross, BMC Regional Vice President 

Tell us about yourself.  

I was born in Puerto Rico and moved to Kissimmee, Florida when I was 15 years old and a junior in high school.  I went to Florida State University and graduated with a bachelor’s in business administration (BBA) in Hotel and Restaurant Management. From there, I moved to Atlanta, Georgia, where I lived for about nine years before moving to the Washington, D.C. area in 2003. I was hired by Bozzuto as a regional portfolio manager in 2013 and promoted to regional vice president a few years later. I am the first Latina to hold that position at Bozzuto. In my spare time, I like to run and spend time with my son, husband and dog, Eva. While I consider myself a very outgoing and social person, I also enjoy being alone in silence, usually reading.

Tell us about a time that you stepped out of your comfort zone for an opportunity. What was the outcome?  

The one time that comes to mind was when I was accepted to attend Florida State University (FSU). The school invited me to join a summer program for students for whom English was a second language (also known as English to Speakers of Other Languages, or ESOL) before the beginning of the fall semester. I was 17 years old at the time and had only been in the U.S. for two years, knowing very little English. At that time, FSU’s Hispanic enrollment was below 3%, but I took the opportunity and it opened many doors for me in the future. The most recent time I stepped outside my comfort zone for an opportunity would be about 10 months ago, when I made the decision to move my family to South Florida to join Bozzuto’s efforts of expanding south.

What are some of the projects you’ve either worked on or led that you are most proud of? 

Moving to Florida for the company has brought me a lot of pride, especially now that I’ve have time to understand the market and the needs of our company in South Florida. I do take pride in being in this market, where many of our employees look and sound like me and see someone who can give them hope for the future—someone who can speak their language and communicate with them in the language that they feel the most comfortable. Launching VIDA has brought me a lot of pride as well. But the one thing sticks out most when I think of how proud I feel is seeing employees in my portfolio get promoted. That is really my biggest accomplishment and contribution to Bozzuto.

How have you been practicing wellness or self-care amid this time of pandemic and social injustice?  

We are lucky enough to work for a company that understands how the pandemic and the social injustice that we are experiencing is affecting all of us.  A company that understands that we are all coming to work and can’t leave those aggravations and the sense of despair behind.  A company that’s not scared to make a statement that might be controversial to some. I’ve relied on my peers, friends and family and feel encouraged when I read communication from our leaders about our company’s stance on all of it. I also use running as my way of letting go and releasing stress. I also find myself reading and learning more about not only my own culture but also about the different cultures that are represented at Bozzuto. Lastly, I find myself discussing the situation with my family and educating my son about not only social injustice but also how we got here and how we can move forward.

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