ULI’s ongoing evolution as a member-driven, member-focused organization was discussed by Americas Chairman Trish Healy during a general session presentation at the Spring Meeting. Healy pointed to parallels between the willingness of ULI members and the residents of Detroit to embrace a new course for the future.

“ULI’s emergence as the global real estate organization did not happen by chance. Our members, much like Detroit’s citizens, reflected on the changes of our demographics, changes in workforce, and changes in lifestyle preferences. We considered resources—sometimes flush and at other times constrained. And then proactively, and sometimes reactively, we acted to bring about change,” she said.

Among the positive changes highlighted by Healy:

  • A wider range of members as speakers at the Spring Meeting, reflecting the breadth of ULI’s thought leadership, and programming based on member feedback on the areas of most interest.
  • An expansion of product councils. Nine new product councils, chaired by some of ULI’s most illustrious leaders, are meeting for the first time in Detroit, affording 250 more members this unique ULI experience.
  • An emphasis on strengthening member engagement with member-facing technology. Healy noted that Navigator, the online tool that matches members to volunteer opportunities, now offers more than 8,000 individual opportunities for volunteering at ULI.
  • An emphasis on engaging ULI’s senior leaders through the Key Leaders program, and investments in all member networks with a Leadership Program to improve connections between networks.
  • A focus on planning for the next generation of leaders, including the announcement of Ralph Boyd as ULI’s new Leadership Fellow. In addition, Healy acknowledged the leadership of the Kresge Foundation and seven additional foundations that supported scholarships to include real estate professionals who otherwise might not have attended the Spring Meeting.

“This direction is based on your premise that members are our unique product, and our members’ knowledge and expertise are ULI’s content,” Healy said. “You, the member, asked for a more connected, more transparent, and more measured ULI. And your voice is needed now as we begin the prioritization of resources to maximize impact.

“It is no accident that we are in Detroit at this moment. Reimagining the future, redirecting efforts, and turning that vision into reality is what ULI and Detroit are all about: resilience and impact in a diverse and more inclusive world.”