I want to first thank all of you for supporting my term as Chair of ULI Washington. It has been a fantastic experience and I have great appreciation for the level of dedication and energy our member leaders and staff put into making ULI the premier real estate organization in the region. Just a couple of weeks ago we crossed a threshold to become the 2nd largest district council in the global network!
At the beginning of my two-year term, I had two personal goals related to our district council strategic plan: to create greater impact in the region through thoughtful research on the topic of housing affordability, and then influence land use policy around it; and to encourage collaboration across our affinity groups, programs and councils to strength ties between members and create greater awareness of all the significant things we do.
On the first, ULI Washington just published our report, Increasing Housing Supply and Attainability: Improving Rules & Engagement to Build More Housing. This report focuses on the time, cost and effort of entitlement processes required to develop housing, and the increasingly polarized dialog and push-back from the communities we seek to develop and improve. It outlines the barriers to building more housing across the range of affordability and offers solutions to break the log-jamb. The next step is to take the show on the road and speak to planning boards, economic development offices, politicians and policy-makers to assist them in moving forward to provide the housing we need for equitable economic health and well-being. You can find the report here.
On the topic of intra-organizational collaboration, we have encouraged affinity groups such as the YLG, NEXT and WLI to share member resources and knowledge with each other to create diverse programs that highlight members at all stages of their careers. We called upon our five Initiative Councils to work with the Trends Committee to provide compelling programs at our yearly conference and spread the word about ULI thought leadership in these topic areas. In addition, the Initiative Councils held a joint tour of NOMA in 2018 to look at specific projects through the lens of their individual subject areas of interest.
No leadership term would be complete without a few unexpected curve balls. The first was the proposal of a new National Strategic Plan that had the potential for significant impact on the district councils. Along with my counterparts in various areas of the country, we were able to provide insightful and compelling input that ultimately resulted in compromises that benefited ULI Washington while fulfilling the goals of ULI National. The second was Lisa Rother’s announcement that after 12 successful years, she planned to retire as our Executive Director at the end of this year. As previously announced, we have formed a search committee and have hired a search consultant to hire a new Executive Director that will guide and support us into the future. Lastly, we were pleasantly surprised that we would be hosting the Fall Meeting here in DC in September, which we want all of you to attend!
All in all, it has been a busy two years and I am ready to pass the baton to Jamie Weinbaum, who will become our Chair as of July 1, 2019. Jamie and I have worked closely together over the past year and I look forward to supporting his passions and priorities for ULI Washington!