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A passion for equity and access

Matt Paschall helps craft new services that embed diversity and inclusion into our real estate advisory business model

A passion for equity and access

One of Matt Paschall’s favorite artists, the French DJ, Kaytranada, likes to experiment with genres and avoids categorization. Matt shares that desire to experiment. In the kitchen, he’s discovering new ways to cook, in his workouts, he’s adding yoga to his exercise routines, and in his work, he is helping pioneer new services at Baker Tilly.

A senior associate in our real estate advisory practice, Matt was interested in real estate from an early age. He was born and raised in the Washington, D.C., metro area where his mother was chief diversity officer for Wells Fargo and his father brokered residential real estate. Family dinner table discussions included the challenges Black Americans faced in society, especially when it came to building wealth through real estate ownership.

After graduating with a degree in real estate from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where he studied the intersection of social justice and economic development, Matt was looking for a career where he could act on his passion for helping people of color build wealth and gain access to the real estate industry.

He found his fit as a real estate developer services advisor with Baker Tilly, where, shortly after joining our firm, he also co-founded the Baker Tilly Black Community, a space where Black authenticity and community can thrive in a time of remote work and virtual meetings.

A new set of services, grounded in equity

Matt also took the initiative to create programming for his team around topics including bias, police brutality, the racial wealth gap, the role of housing authorities in facilitating residential segregation, and the opportunity gap. “Following the murder of George Floyd, as conversations opened up, we educated our team on the unique role we play in the affordable housing industry and some of the historical and social realities that inform

that space,” he said. “We brought diversity and equity conversations directly into our practice, with support from my manager, Nate Pekul, and Partner Don Bernards."

The conversations led to more understanding, and to a concrete business result: Matt and his team began to formalize a set of services addressing three main barriers to entry for real estate developers of color:

  • Access to capital
  • Access to relationships in the real estate industry
  • Access to education and knowledge of the Low Income Housing Tax Credit program

Matt’s team launched Underrepresented Developer Services in the Midwest to address these issues, starting with an educational and networking workshop, DevelUP, that took place in April, 2022 for underrepresented developers. The team plans to take their services to other developers in Chicago, Minneapolis and beyond.

Fulfilling his goals, and our strategy

Matt hopes that by developing these programs, Baker Tilly will inspire other companies to rethink their strategies towards diversity, equity, and inclusion, not just in the name of social equity, but also as a successful business strategy.

Matt is bullish on the potential direction of these services, and our firm. “I believe this work can help reshape the commercial real estate and finance industries,” he said.