ULI Global Chairman Tom Toomey closed the record-breaking Spring Meeting by outlining advancements in ULI’s new strategic direction. In a general session presentation, he announced the appointment of longtime real estate executive Edward (Ed) Walter as the Institute’s new global chief executive officer and the approval of a member-created Global Strategic Plan to guide ULI’s growth and leadership going forward.

Walter, whose career spans development, capital markets, investments, asset management, and investor relations on a global scale, is the Steers Chair in Real Estate at Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business in Washington, D.C. He served most recently as chief executive officer of Host Hotels (Marriott), a Fortune 500 company. He also is extensively involved with industry organizations such as the Real Estate Roundtable and the National Association of Real Estate Investment Trusts. Walter will start at ULI on June 11.

“Ed is eager to meet members, implement the Global Strategic Plan, and position ULI for success. We are very excited to have him in this key role,” Toomey said.

He noted that the Strategic Plan positions ULI to deliver greater member value; use member expertise as the main source of ULI’s ideas and content; help members deepen the impact they are making in communities around the globe; and expand ULI’s culture of philanthropic giving.

“With this plan as a foundation, ULI will be better equipped to meet the needs of current and new members who can broaden our thinking and expand our impact in cities across the globe,” Toomey said.

According to Toomey, the approval of the global CEO and the Global Strategic Plan further reinforce a member-oriented focus that is already underway in all three ULI regions, including major meetings—the upcoming Asia Pacific Summit, 2018 Fall Meeting, and 2019 Europe Conference. (Registration is now open for the Fall Meeting.)

“Each event will be informed by members’ input to make the meeting experience even more meaningful and productive,” he said. “Member engagement is what keeps ULI at the forefront of change. It raises our profile and expands our impact.”

Toomey pointed to heightened member engagement in mission-focused programs such as Advisory Services and UrbanPlan, ULI’s urban design course offered to high school and university students, as well as public officials.

For instance, over the past 12 months, panels have advised 15 cities on urban development challenges around the globe, ranging from homelessness in Los Angeles to historic preservation in Beijing. An additional 40 cities were assisted  through technical assistance panels held by district councils. “Our Global Strategic Plan will amplify this work. It will expand Advisory Services to help cities prepare for the future, not just react to the present,” Toomey said.

The plan will also build on the success of UrbanPlan, he noted, pointing to its recent launch in Manila, Singapore, and Hong Kong, and the course’s rapid expansion in the United Kingdom, Ireland, Germany, Poland, and the Netherlands.

“These are just a few of the many ways ULI members make a difference around the globe every day,” Toomey said. “But, we must keep doing more, because building great cities is a never-ending process. And ULI’s leadership—your leadership—is needed to get it right. Together, we are ensuring a bright future for all of ULI.”