ULI’s long tradition of knowledge sharing is being enhanced by a new podcast series that features conversations with leaders in the real estate and land use industry about the experiences and motivations that have guided their career paths.
Leading Voices with ULI spotlights the unique leadership journey of innovators in land use who are making a positive difference in their communities. Each podcast tells the story of how each person is revitalizing cities and the built environment in vastly different ways—through innovative real estate development, public policy or planning initiatives, citizen activism, or community engagement projects. The initial roster of guests constitutes a kaleidoscope of the land use industry, demonstrating just how diverse and multifaceted the field is and the multiple pathways that exist to contribute to the built environment.
“So much inspiration can be found in the experiences of our members and their leadership journeys,” says Ellen Mendelsohn, series producer and senior director of the ULI Leadership Network. “This podcast allows us to hear from people who are changing cities and public policy for the better. We get to understand what got them to where they are today, the challenges and risks they faced, and the different pivot points in their careers.”
Recent episodes feature interviews with Marilyn Strickland, mayor of Tacoma,Washington, and a ULI global trustee, and Steve Wilson, cofounder of 21c Museum Hotels, a groundbreaking hospitality company that incorporates art into each of its boutique hotels. In the coming weeks, listeners will hear from Steve Leeper, president and chief executive officer of the Cincinnati Center City Development Corporation (3CDC), which helped catalyze nearly $1 billion of new investment in neglected downtown neighborhoods; Alex Gilliam, founder and director of the Public Workshop, a Philadelphia-based nonprofit that delivers youth leadership development programs focused on the themes of community building and design; and Alicia Glen, deputy mayor of New York City.
The podcast host is Matt Slepin, a ULI Foundation governor and member of the ULI SanFrancisco advisory board. As cofounder and managing principal of San Francisco–based Terra Search Partners, an executive search firm for the real estate industry, Slepin is an experienced interviewer and adept at getting people to open up about themselves. When approached about hosting Leading Voices, he seized the opportunity.
“I’m a podcast fanatic, so the chance to host this series to talk with leaders around the country about their passions and motivations has been an incredible experience,” Slepin says. “By focusing on people’s core interests and passions, the podcast offers something to which we can all relate and apply to our own careers and lives.”
Leading Voices with ULI is just one of several programs offered by the recently established ULI Leadership Network, which connects members to opportunities to enhance themselves professionally, expand their networks, and advance the Institute’s mission both locally and nationally. Mendelsohn hopes that those who tune in are inspired to deepen their engagement with ULI. “The podcast is a push to get members to take better advantage of what ULI has to offer and make a difference in their communities,” she says.
The series also serves as a testament to an evolving ULI—one that is more inclusive, more diverse, and a truer reflection of the land use industry and society as a whole, Mendelsohn says. “One of our goals is to urge people to see ULI in a different light and connect the dots on how multidisciplinary the real estate and land use industry is,” she says. “Our guests serve as role models for an increasingly diverse membership—diverse in terms of sector experiences and perspectives, and also in terms of gender and ethnicity.”
Whereas other ULI resources tend to focus on specific real estate properties or deals, Leading Voices takes a different approach, delving into the stories of the people behind the projects. The mobile-friendly podcast format lends itself to a more intimate and accessible listening experience.
“Leading Voices with ULI really focuses on the why more than on the what behind innovations in the built environment,” Mendelsohn says. “We’re really interested in understanding what motivates and inspires people to engage in the type of work that they do—which brings with it significant risks and rewards—to ultimately make cities more livable, prosperous, and vibrant places.”
Leading Voices with ULI is a new podcast launched by ULI on January 18. It explores the stories of leading innovators in real estate, land use, and public policy as they share their personal leadership journeys with series host and ULI Foundation governor Matt Slepin. Download new episodes of Leading Voices with ULI today on iTunes or at uli.org/leadingvoices.
To learn more, visit uli.org/leadingvoices.