JFRE Vice Chair Jessica Morgan Paves Way for More Women in Development

Jessica Morgan, JFRE vice chair, Courtesy of Jessica Morgan

Jessica Morgan first joined the Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia’s Jewish Federation Real Estate group in 2017, because of its commitment to connecting a diverse network of real estate professionals while simultaneously raising support and awareness for Jewish causes and values.

“I got involved with JFRE because I loved the mission and everything that JFRE stands for,” said Morgan, a principal at Lubert-Adler, an institutional real estate investment manager in Philadelphia. “The funds that JFRE raises specifically address real estate and capital improvement needs – causes that are relatable and resonate with me.”

Last fiscal year, the JFRE Fund granted $759,459 to 24 capital projects such as surveillance cameras, infrastructure upgrades and other safety needs in Greater Philadelphia, Israel and Ethiopia.

Morgan now serves as JFRE’s Executive Committee vice chair, where she works to bring together younger real estate professionals and create a more inclusive space for the underrepresented groups in the industry. On March 12, Morgan led a panel with three prominent women developers: Julia Dranoff, managing director and chief operating officer at Dranoff Properties; Prema Katari Gupta, CEO of Center City District; and Lindsey Scannapieco, founder and managing partner of Scout.

JFRE hosted a panel featuring prominent women in the development industry. From left: Jessica Morgan, Prema Katari Gupta, Lindsey Scannapieco and Julia Dranoff.
Courtesy of Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia

The women discussed their recent development projects and offered advice for women in a male-dominated industry, such as apologizing less, taking credit where it is due, leaning into their identities and supporting the other women around them.

“I was so excited to be moderating a panel with these women I admire so much,” Morgan said. “I couldn’t wait to hear the perspectives of Julia, Prema and Lindsey, and to be in a room with more women than I’m typically used to at real estate events.”

The Jewish Federation sat down with Morgan and asked her about her involvement with JFRE, what it means to be a woman in real estate and how she gives back to her Jewish community.

How has JFRE helped you grow as a professional?
As a principal at Lubert-Adler, there are so many people who are members of JFRE who touch our business regularly. From operating partners to lenders and lawyers, JFRE has given me a platform to connect more deeply with the people I do business with day in and day out.

How are you making JFRE a more welcoming space for new members?
We are always looking for new members and thinking about how to diversify JFRE so it continues to reflect the Greater Philadelphia real estate community. Hospitality to others — hachnasat orchim — is a core Jewish value JFRE embraces. We strive to create a welcoming, inclusive and collaborative environment.

We’ve been working to expand programming to cover the breadth of topics relevant to our community and highlight various voices that make JFRE great. Additionally, I know I can speak for the entire executive committee when I say that we would be happy to sit down with any prospective member and talk to them about why JFRE has been so meaningful to each of us.

What has it taken for you to get to where you are in your career in a male-dominant industry?
Be true to who you are — if the passion and excitement is there, you will thrive and succeed. I have learned to have thick skin over the years, but at the end of the day, your merit is most important and will take you a long way, regardless of gender.

Who is a woman who has inspired you in your personal or professional life?
My mom has always been a huge inspiration. She is the CEO of a major lighting business and an amazing mom, wife and friend to everyone around her. She seemingly has figured out how to do it all, and I only hope I can follow in her footsteps.

Why do you give to the Jewish Federation?
The Jewish Federation is always at the forefront of the various crises facing the Jewish people – they can efficiently identify areas of need and figure out how to get it there as quickly as possible. They touch so many different peoples’ lives, both in Greater Philadelphia and Israel.

They have created an amazing community of Jewish people in the region, one that I feel very fortunate to be a part of. Now, more than ever before, supporting the future vibrancy of the Jewish people is so important, and I know the Jewish Federation’s work is directly impacting that.


The Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia strives to make a more inclusive community for all, welcoming the participation of Jews across the religious spectrum, interfaith couples and families, and people of all abilities, backgrounds, gender identities and sexual orientations.

The Jewish Federation’s JFRE group brings real estate professionals together to learn, network, hear from the brightest minds in the business — and make the Jewish community, locally and around the world, a better place to live through capital and security grants.
To learn more about JFRE, visit jewishphilly.org/jfre or contact JFRE Program Manager Alan Lepore at [email protected] with any questions.


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