Panelist Spotlight: Philip Payne

ULI Advisory Services-20


Now having been on Advisory Services panels, I would say this program is what ULI is all about. If you really want to experience ULI, you need to be on a panel.”


What are some of the rewards of serving on a panel?

I find it intellectually rewarding to spend a week with a group of people, all experts in their respective fields, most of whom I’ve never met before. Together, you look at a problem and hear how people with different backgrounds and perspectives understand it. From that cross-disciplinary experience, you learn and open up your field of vision so that you have a much broader view when you go to look at your next problem yourself.

What are some of the challenges you’ve faced while serving on a panel?

The number one—and most people need to be aware—is that the idea that you’re going to get a little bit of time to coordinate with your office while you’re gone is a joke. Once you’re there, you’re there. Actually, that’s the thing that I like: You go in, and for a week you really only think about one thing. All the other stuff that’s going on in the background goes away. Everyone focuses and works hard; that collaborative effort is fun. The part I like more than anything is that your ideas are not necessarily accepted. There’s lots of discussion. If you’re a person who thinks you’re the smartest person in the room, then these panels are not for you. You have to go in and be willing to take some criticism and take some challenges. You get to go in and voice your ideas, and people from different backgrounds say no and tell you why and you work through it together. The biggest challenge is just the time commitment and the time away from your own work. But on a more personal level, it’s that you’re part of a group. A lot of us tend to be very strong individuals and when we get in a group and really start squaring off, it is an interesting educational experience.

How have Advisory Services panels had an impact on your work?

A lot of us get a very myopic viewpoint of how we do our business. When you get in these panels, the diversity of opinions, backgrounds, and expertise broadens your view. That carries over from the panels into your everyday business—trying to open up your eyes and look with a broader field of vision at what you’re trying to do. Maybe the way you’ve been looking at it is not the best way.

What would you say to a ULI member who is considering participating in a panel for the first time? Any words of encouragement or advice?

I’ve been involved in ULI for a long time. I’ve been involved in lots of different levels and different councils. In fact, I founded a council. So I’m very committed to the council process, national ULI, and committees. Prior to my first panel, I would have said that the council experience is what ULI is all about. Now having been on Advisory Services panels, I would say the advisory panels are what ULI is all about. If you really want to experience ULI, you need to be on a panel.

Favorite panel memory?

There’s a level of camaraderie that develops over a week, and you truly become friends with the people on the panel. But the strangest thing is that my favorite memories consist of being up at midnight or 1:00 in the morning trying to work out your presentation that’s due the next morning. Everybody’s so intent on getting it right. I love that intensity and that joint feeling of commitment to producing truly quality work. It’s a wonderful experience.

What are your professional interests?

Workforce housing, sustainability, and resilience.

What was your childhood dream job?


What was the first concert you ever attended?

I went to see Rod Stewart in Richmond, Virginia before anyone knew who Rod Stewart was.

Ready to Learn More?

Paul Bernard
Executive Vice President, Advisory Services

Tom Eitler
Senior Vice President, Advisory Services

Deb Kerson Bilek
Vice President, Advisory Services

Paul Angelone
Senior Director, Advisory Services

Lauren Callaghan
Director, Advisory Services

Jacqueline Canales
Director, Advisory Services

Kelsey Steffen
Director, Advisory Services

Georgia Gempler
Senior Associate, Advisory Services

David Zehr
Senior Associate, Advisory Services