Getting to Know Who’s NEXT vol. 2
Featuring Ada Chan, co-chair of the Americas NEXT Leadership Steering Committee, and Ron Silverman, senior adviser of the Committee.
We sat down with two NEXT groups last month: NEXT Arizona and NEXT Mexico. Though at different stages of building a presence in their respective cities, both are committed to connecting peers to learn, inspire, and collaborate.
NEXT Arizona co-chair Stephanie Handley provided insights into the well-established NEXT Arizona group, and NEXT Mexico chair Adela Rangel, along with fellow colleagues who provided information about the opportunities in forming a new NEXT group in Mexico’s Tri-Cities—Monterrey, Guadalajara, and Mexico City.
How many members are in your district council?
How many NEXT members are in your district council?
When was your NEXT group started?
Arizona: 8 years ago
Mexico: 1 year ago
Why did your district council start a NEXT group?
Arizona: Great opportunity to promote knowledge sharing and foster peer-to-peer relationships with those in the industry.
Mexico: To engage with the NEXT age group who are considered mid-career and share information with those in the same mid-career journey.
What have been the benefits to your district council and the cohort members of having a local NEXT group?
Arizona: Engagement from those within their mid-career and providing more meaningful connections than traditional networking opportunities. Also, the NEXT group is structured by dividing members into peer networking flights of 10 to 12 individuals with different areas of focus within the industry—from attorneys to general contractors. Roughly 10 meetings take place a year and groups are switched each year, which allows members to build new connections.
Mexico: So far nonmeasurable. It has attracted new membership, but the commitment to the events attendance hasn’t been as expected due to COVID restrictions recently lifting in Mexico. Collaborated with WLI [ULI’s Women’s Leadership Initiative] to engage with members who are within the NEXT age range.
What challenges have you experienced and/or are currently experiencing with the NEXT group?
Arizona: Great membership numbers but staying fresh with new event ideas each year is a challenge.
Mexico: First in-person event, a discussion broadcast, was held in the spring and involved 30 people from the Tri-Cities (Monterrey, Guadalajara, and Mexico City). It was a challenging time because of COVID and mask mandates. Based on engagement levels, leaning toward changing the broadcast topics to disruptive case studies like smart construction and sustainability.
How have you been able to schedule events? NEXT members often have more intense travel and personal calendars.
Arizona: Monthly meetings are scheduled based on the availability of the members for each smaller group. This allows for regularity and higher attendance. Each event is thoughtfully planned and considered for members’ lifestyles, from holiday happy hours to family-focused picnics in the spring.
Mexico: Involving the Tri-Cities sounds challenging to engage members from three different cities in person, but there are more than 20 flights each day and flights are available every 30 minutes, so it is very normal for people to take a quick flight to events and meetings.
Can you briefly describe a great NEXT program that you’ve hosted—your signature event or an event that has led to meaningful connections?
Arizona: Each year we host an all-group meeting with Chris Camacho, the CEO of the Greater Phoenix Economic Council (GEPC), leading economic development organization, who shares his insights in a casual environment. This low-key discussion allows for great conversation surrounding the local and national economy, a peek at the political environment and the effects it has on local and regional business and is a deep dive into how our state/city is competing against other metros for new company locates. This individual is highly regarded in the community, so this conversation in a more intimate—and private—setting is always a draw. Individual groups have hosted private tours of unique projects in town, offering behind-the-scenes access many wouldn’t get, as well as bringing in corporate coaches to spur goal setting, personal and professional development.
Mexico: The committee’s proposal is to activate in the Tri-Cities. We broadcast an interesting discussion, including the seven committee members from the three cities. The sustainability discussion had a great conversation on ESG [environmental, social, and governance practices] for smaller developers. We all learned a lot: everyone left the conversations with valuable and relevant information and insights.