Last week, I had the pleasure of attending the Urban Land Institute’s Fall Meeting. I had been to other ULI industry shows and meetings, so with schedule (or rather app) in hand, I was prepared to absorb as much knowledge as I could from the colleagues and experts that I would have the chance to both listen to and network with.
I was fortunate to be local to the meeting and a member of the Washington Council, so I decided to take advantage of the Urban Plan pre-meeting workshop. This was an exciting hands-on event that gave participant teams the opportunity to act as developers and “build” a community within the parameters outlined in our city’s RFP. An additional challenge to this activity was the fact that the Urban Plan facilitators assigned roles to each team member that was outside of our daily positions. For example, rather than taking on a marketing role in the project, I was the City Liaison. My primary responsibility was to review the City Council’s goals outlined in the RFP.
Wednesday, the show began in earnest. As a local, I didn’t take advantage of the many tour options across the region, but I did have the opportunity to avail myself of several Kickoff Your Education mini sessions. These short 20-minute classes covered topics such as Driving a Customer-Centric Digital Transformation. The variety of networking activities available to attendees were both fun and engaging. The only problem was deciding to which event I wanted to go and how long to stay.
To attend the greatest number of sessions, my colleagues Kathi Scharf, Betsy Sheppard, Matt Pomrink and I decided to divide and conquer. Our VP of Client Solutions, Kathi Scharf, especially enjoyed the NE Corridor event, while Betsy Sheppard, President and CEO Gilbert & Sheppard Group was kept busy as a member of the Lifestyle Residential Development Product Council. It was a wonderful opportunity for all of us to re-connect with friends and to make new alliances.
Thursday was full speed ahead with an assortment of topics including: Diversity and Inclusion, Reinventing Social Nodes, and a “real-life” Shark Tank.
Friday was my final day and an early 7:30 am start at the new member breakfast. This was a great chance to chat with others who had been members for less than a year. Although it was the last day, the topics didn’t fail. My favorite sessions looked at the past in the “Culture and History as Catalysts for Urban Regeneration” and to the future in “Future of Real Estate Technology”.
In conclusion, the ULI Fall Meeting was a great blend of fun and facts. The people I met were from a broad cross section of both public and private sector entities, but all of us came with the same desire to learn about the latest real estate and development trends. ULI definitely delivered and I am looking forward to the Spring Meeting. See you in Toronto!