ULI’s Fall and Spring Meetings: A Microcosm of the Member Experience

ULI’s annual Fall Meetingthe largest of the Institute’s events and widely regarded as the industry’s premiere gatheringexplores a vast range of real estate issues and trends with local, regional, and global relevance, and provides unparalleled opportunities for attendees to network with professionals representing the full spectrum of industry disciplines.  

Nearly 6,000 of the world’s foremost real estate and land use leaders convened at the 2018 Fall Meeting, which was held in Boston. Each day of the meeting emphasized a separate area of focus, with one day dedicated to sharing best practices through tours of innovative developments; another day, to sharing lessons learned on leadership; and another, to sharing observations on many factors of change, including the impact of demographic and population shifts, declining housing affordability, new economic drivers, technology advancements, climate change, urban mobility, changing housing and workspace needs, and changing consumer and tenant preferences.  

Highlights included presentations by the following: 

– Keynoter Scott Galloway, professor of marketing at New York University Stern and author of The Four: The Hidden DNA of Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Google. Galloway spoke about the benefits of breaking up these mammoth tech companies for consumers and the economy in general. We don’t break them up because they’re evil,” he said. “We break up big tech because we are capitalists.” 

– Boston Mayor Martin Walsh, who cited the urgent need for private-sector involvement in housing and infrastructure initiatives. “It comes down to you [real estate professionals] who have to take part in this process. We have to think creatively.” 

– 2018 ULI J.C. Nichols Laureate Theaster Gates, who shared his creative approach to revitalizing neglected urban neighborhoods“The incredible thing that happens when you revitalize those spaces, preserving elements of their history and infusing them with new purpose, is that you create a platform for communities to participate in their own revitalization, said Gates, an artist, urban planner, and founder of the Rebuild Foundation in Chicago. Watch the video.    

– Venture capitalist Brad Greiwecofounder and managing partner of Fifth Wall, who shared observations on the promise of new technologies to create new sources of real estate capital and new ways to monetize assets.  

Camille Renshaw, chief executive officer and cofounder of B+E; and Tiffany Janachief executive officer of TMI Consulting Inc., who discussed ways that the real estate industry can become more diverse and inclusive, methods for creating and embracing greater diversity among the people served by the industry, and the importance of an inclusive real estate industry for the future. Watch the video.

  • “We want to provide members with an ‘only at ULI’ meeting experience that exceeds their expectations for knowledge sharing and leaves them looking forward to their next engagement with the Institute. 

    – ULI Global Chief Executive Officer W. Edward Walter

ULI’s 2019 Spring Meeting, held for the first time in Nashville, built on the success of the Fall Meeting, offering equally content-rich real estate sessions and ample networking opportunities. More than 4,400 members attended the meeting, setting a new attendance record for this annual full-member-only event; and more than 1,000 attendees participated in the tours, which was also a Spring Meeting record-breaker.  

Meeting highlights included presentations from the following: 

– Keynoter Kathleen Hays, global economics and policy editor for Bloomberg Television and Bloomberg Radio, who offered an optimistic outlook for the economy. “The bottom line is the economy is still growing and it’s still creating jobs,” Hays said. “There are still risks out there, but as long as the players out there managing risks are doing their jobs, we’re in good shape.”       

– A panel of Nashville business leadersRobert A. Frist Jr., cofounder of HealthStream and a founder of the Nashville Entrepreneur Center; John R. Ingram, chairman of Ingram Content Group and Ingram Industries Inc.; and Jay Turner, managing director of MarketStreet Enterprises, who discussed Nashville’s surge in popularity as a place to live, work,  invest, and develop.  

– Keynoter Jon Meachambestselling author and Pulitzer Prize winner, who urged attendees to put current political and economic uncertainties in perspective by reflecting on past times marked by equally or more challenging circumstances. 

– A panel of housing expertsAdam Ducker, senior managing director, director of urban real estate and public strategies, RCLCO; Jeremy Sharpe, chief operating officer of Rancho Sahuarita; Malee Tobias, senior vice president and chief marketing officer, Newland; and ULI Trustee Randall Lewis, executive vice president, Lewis Management, discussing the disparity between consumer housing preferences and the type of housing being built. The discussion coincided with the release of the Institute’s report, Attainable Housing: Challenges, Perceptions, and Solutions.

Immediate past ULI Global Chairman Thomas W. Toomey was honored at the meeting by the Institute’s leadership at the Global Governing Trustees dinner, which was held at Nashville’s Country Music Hall of Fame. Randall Rowe, who preceded Toomey as global chairman, said, “The Tom I know cares deeply about ULI and its mission. Every day, he is focused on how he can move ULI forward, and he has done an extraordinary job.”  

Toomey credited Rowe and previous global chairmen for laying the foundation for ULI’s successes during his two-year term, which ended on June 30, 2019. “The ULI chairmanship often revolves around the sequence of people before you who are tackling the next challenge, keeping the agenda moving, and lifting the organization higher,” he said. 

Find highlights from the Fall and Spring Meetings and other ULI events on Knowledge Finder. 

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