Advisory Services: A Way to “Really Give Back”

From providing recommendations to Toa Baja, Puerto Rico, on how to prepare for extreme weather events to evaluating how to “stitch” downtown Atlanta back together with new streets, buildings, and parks, members participating in ULI’s Advisory Services program got as much out of serving on panels during fiscal year 2019 as they gave to the communities seeking advice.

The panel experience—which typically involves long hours evaluating often-tough assignments, meeting with local stakeholders, and developing detailed recommendations—was widely viewed among the participants as well worth the time, yielding significant benefits in terms of professional development and opportunities to learn as well as share expertise.

“It’s an excellent program and has obviously stood the test of time,” said panelist and leading ULI member Richard Krochalis, commissioner of the Seattle Design Commission. “You can connect with your colleagues and really give back. The Advisory Services program is a great way to stay involved within ULI as a contributing member.”

The Advisory Services program “brings together leaders from across the fields of real estate and land use policy to exchange best practices and help serve the community’s needs,” said leading member Michael Bloom, sustainability practice manager at R.G. Miller Engineers Inc. in Houston. Bloom, who served on the Toa Baja panel, described the experience as “very rewarding and intense.”

  • “You can connect with your colleagues and really give back. The Advisory Services program is a great way to stay involved within ULI as contributing member.” 

    – Richard Krochalis, Advisory Services panelist
  • “If you are a new member or you don’t know what ways there are to get involved, Navigator is your opportunity to say, ‘This is what I am interested in doing. What do you have for me?’”  

    – Richard Krochalis, Advisory Services panelist

Members who serve on panels are integrated into communities, helping the people who live there gain a fresh perspective and consider innovative solutions for complex land use and real estate development challenges. Leading member Wei Huang experienced firsthand the benefits of working closely with community stakeholders when she served on the Stitch panel in Atlanta. “No matter the end result of the project, I already see how this week-long assignment has positively affected and engaged the local community,” said Huang, cofounder of Novus Real Estate in Glendale, California.

Panel recommendations—provided in presentations as well as subsequent reports—serve to share knowledge among members as well as the communities requesting panel assistance, Bloom explained. “Whether you are a professional service provider, a developer, or any other professional within the ULI family, you benefit. As ULI members, we are all interested in best practices and lessons learned, so having a report that tells the story will certainly make for better projects, activities, and outcomes in the future.”

In fiscal year 2019, more than 100 members, including Krochalis, Huang, and Bloom, applied to serve as Advisory Services panelists through a submission to Navigator. Launched in spring 2017 and exclusive to members, Navigator helps members find and connect with ULI opportunities to lead and volunteer by providing access to approximately 500 different ways to get involved across the organization, on a local or global level. Sixty percent of Advisory Services panels in fiscal year 2019 recruited one or more panelists through Navigator.

“If you are a new member or you don’t know what ways there are to get involved, Navigator is your opportunity to say, ‘This is what I am interested in doing. What do you have for me?” said Krochalis, who has served on three panels as a result of using Navigator. “I found the process of applying through Navigator very easy. view it as electronic networking.”  

Visit Navigator to find information on serving on an Advisory Services panel or other ways to get involved in ULI.  

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