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November 1, 2022
Welcome to Ron Pressman, who joins Urban Land Institute as the Global CEO. Ron most recently was the CEO of TIAA Institutional Financial Services, leading the company’s long-term vision for delivering financial security for institutional clients. The company was founded in 1918 and serves over five million members. Prior to TIAA, Ron served in various leadership roles across GE’s financial services and industrial business, including roles as CEO of GE Capital Real Estate, and GE Energy in Europe, Africa, the Middle East, and Southwest Asia, based in London.
Additionally, Ron has served on several non-profit boards, including A Better Chance, which serves as a preeminent resource for identifying, recruiting, and developing leaders among underrepresented young people of color throughout the United States. He is deeply committed to ULI’s three priorities – decarbonization, housing, and educating the next generation of diverse leaders.
Ron assumes the Global CEO role in place of Ed Walter, who announced his retirement in April.
Let’s get to know Ron better, as his leadership and passion for making a difference will make ULI even more focused and further aligned with the evolving needs of the built environment.
1. What attracted you most to ULI?
ULI had me at “hello”! I’ve always admired ULI and its high-impact conferences, education platforms, and leading research. But ULI’s Mission Priorities were the ultimate hooks. I could not be more excited to work with a great ULI team and our 46,000 members globally toward these goals and objectives.
2. You have led global companies across different industries. As a leader, how did you navigate change internally and externally?
Change has been such an essential part of my career and life. The world has undergone a fundamental change over the past 65 years, and my career has been chock-full of changing roles and responsibilities. The most crucial element in navigating change is listening and getting a 360-degree view of what is happening to help guide the best course of action. Many views change as tricky, and it can be. It can also be a highly energizing moment to reflect, respond, and excel. ULI’s mission will involve much change management to succeed. We will need the entire team to help drive the culture change necessary to achieve our goals.
3. What makes you passionate about the built environment and our industry?
The commercial real estate industry has so much history to support our society. It is a true societal pillar underpinning significant cities, suburban environments, and rural communities. The built ecosystem is full of creative minds and folks with a great can-do attitude. It is easy to be passionate about returning to work with this community. Executing our mission can help extend the commercial real estate industry’s contributions to our world in meaningful ways.
4. We have a global staff that is committed to fulfilling our mission. Can you tell us ways you would like to engage with staff from around the globe in the coming days and months?
I’m excited to get to know all our ULI colleagues in the days, weeks, and months ahead. While we have all learned to excel in a virtual world, I hope to have the opportunity to meet with our teams in person when possible. I look forward to hearing about the excellent work across the Institute directly from those leading the thinking on our strategic goals.?
Everyone at ULI plays a vital role in our success. I want to meet everyone and learn about their accomplishments and how we can be even better. We are doing several things to help me quickly get up the learning curve, from one-on-one meetings to informal lunch sessions.
5. What is the best advice you’ve received in your career that has helped you succeed as a leader?
Dream big! Set ambitious goals! Empower your teams to perform. Surround yourself with the best and brightest talent. Leverage diverse thinking and maximize performance by building an inclusive culture. Set a clear vision and critical operation strategies, ensuring the organization is aligned well for success. Rewarding outstanding performance, learning from missteps, and never forgetting to refresh/reinvent your goals and objectives to reflect a changing environment is essential.
6. When thinking about spaces and places, do you have a favorite place you like to visit or spend time in?
My favorite personal spaces are New England’s seacoast and the Colorado mountains. From a business and traveling standpoint, my favorite spots include the great cities of the world: vibrant, high-energy cities with terrific art, culture, and history where people are pursuing exciting careers and personal interests. Most important and satisfying is sharing those places and great experiences with my family and friends.
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