Global Chief Executive Officer

Req Number: VG0ZAG
Location: Washington, DC
Posted: 2/14/2024
Category: Government/Not-For-Profit : Not-For-Profit
Job Type: Permanent

Position: Global Chief Executive Officer
Organization: Urban Land Institute
Location: Washington, D.C.
Reports To: Global Chair and Global Board of Directors 
Direct Reports: 
Chief of Staff
Chief Financial Officer
Chief Initiatives Officer
Chief Marketing Officer
Chief People Officer
EVP, ULI Learning
President, Americas
CEO, Asia Pacific
President, ULI Foundation

The Urban Land Institute (ULI) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit membership organization focused on research, education, and the development of best practices for the real estate industry. Founded in 1936, it now has 49,000 members based in the Americas, Europe, and Asia Pacific that represent the entire spectrum of land use and real estate development disciplines working in private enterprise and public service. A multi-disciplinary real estate forum, ULI facilitates an open exchange of ideas, information and experiences among industry leaders and policymakers with a goal of creating healthy, equitable and sustainable communities. ULI is a place where leaders grow professionally and personally through sharing, mentoring, and problem solving.

The business of ULI is under the direction of its Global Board of Directors. It serves as the principal policymaking body of the Institute with responsibility for managing the strategic direction and affairs of the organization and for oversight of all fiscal, management, and legal operations and activities. In addition, the ULI Global Governing Trustees serve as the high-level leadership group responsible for representing and serving as the voice of the broad and diverse membership in substantive matters facing the organization in the execution of its mission.

ULI provides a myriad of options for member engagement. Many members engage at the local level through activities supported by District Councils in the Americas, or through the National Councils positioned across the major real estate markets in Europe and Asia Pacific. Approximately 3,800 members participate in product councils that have been created in all three regions to provide more focused discussion and interaction on particular real estate sectors or critical real estate topics. In addition, each region annually conducts one or more major conferences to allow industry leaders to connect and debate the preeminent issues faced by its communities.

The Institute also includes three Centers – the ULI Randall Lewis Center for Sustainability in Real Estate, the ULI Terwilliger Center for Housing, and the ULI Center for Real Estate Economics and Capital Markets, which complete research and deliver practical thought leadership to members and community leaders. The ULI Learning unit delivers a wide variety of real estate education programs for students ranging from high school students to executives. Finally, the ULI Foundation plays an integral role in raising financial support for all the Institute’s activities from foundations and motivated individuals.

ULI is a mission-driven organization – its mission is:
Shape the future of the built environment for transformative impact in communities worldwide.
To focus their energies and enhance their impact, ULI has established three mission priorities:
1. Educating the next generation of diverse real estate leaders.
2. Decarbonizing the real estate sector and accelerating the path to net zero.
3. Increasing housing attainability in communities around the world.

Delivering Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
Deeply entrenched across ULI is a commitment to attract and foster the best and brightest minds by providing a fair and equitable playing field where students and professionals can excel. In addition, ULI is leading by example to effect change within the industry. Over the past few years, ULI focused on attracting membership and leadership to better represent the communities it serves. ULI also concentrates on helping the wider industry increase equity and inclusion by fostering honest conversations, publishing new insightful research, and inspiring support and expansion of programs, policies, and practices that increase diversity, equity, and inclusion.

The ULI Women’s Leadership Initiative is a high-impact effort dedicated to increasing the number and visibility of women leaders throughout ULI’s vast network and commercial real estate industry. The initiative was born at a time when women were under-represented, especially in leadership and executive roles. Working to address this gender imbalance in the industry, WLI focuses its efforts on connection and leadership opportunities. It also offers networking and mentoring as well as other resources for members.

The ULI Staff is comprised of 330 highly motivated members, with 38% based in the global headquarters in Washington DC, 15% based in multiple international markets (London and Hong Kong are the respective regional headquarters), and the remainder of the team located throughout the Americas. As would be expected from the breadth of their activities, the team includes individuals with a variety of skills and expertise.

ULI’s Shared Values:
1. They are all one team, and the team comes first. They have shared goals and succeed or fail together. Prioritize the good of ULI and its mission. Be responsive and collaborative.
2. Pursue excellence. Take pride in the work you do. Aim high and do great work. Look for ways to improve things every day.
3. Be positive. Assume positive intent. Work hard and have fun. Embrace a can-do attitude.
4. Act with integrity and respect. Do the right thing even when no one is watching. Treat people the way they want to be treated. Take ownership and do what you say you are going to do.
5. Embrace diversity and inclusion. Create a welcoming environment. Seek diverse people and perspectives. Attract and engender the next generation of real estate leaders at the local, national, and international levels. Value differences.

ULI seeks a dynamic and inspirational Global CEO to drive impactful change, foster collaboration, and elevate ULI’s global influence in shaping sustainable communities. The successful candidate will lead implementation of ULI's global mission and strategic direction, leveraging their diverse network and extensive experience in leading national and global initiatives. The CEO will champion ULI's mission priorities, emphasizing carbon footprint reduction, affordable housing, and DEI/ESG education and recruitment, while enhancing ULI's position as a thought leader in the global real estate sector. ULI is a complex, multi-faceted organization with dichotomies that must be managed, embraced, respected, and synergized such as:

1. Working to build and strengthen the internal ULI team making it an exemplary Not-for-Profit Membership Organization and simultaneously an exemplary Mission Driven Thought Leadership Organization.

2. Broadening ULI’s day to day value proposition at the District Council/local level while strengthening ULI’s impact on large global issues of our day.

3. Supporting the unique characteristics of each region, recognizing the differences, and developing specific strategies for each while creating a common global platform.

4. Meeting the needs of early career members looking for professional growth and simultaneously meeting the needs of seasoned real estate leaders looking for ways to give back and have impact.

5. Building trust with internal stakeholders, member stakeholders, and donor stakeholders, even as there may be different messages used and different priorities expressed.

6. Elevating ULI’s brand to both the world and to the people around the corner.

7. Elevating stewardship, organizational capacity, and growth of the ULI Foundation, with a hands-on approach to key donors and supporters.

8. Unifying all the parts of ULI, building a “One ULI” culture without homogenizing the important differences.

Key Responsibilities include:

Strategic Leadership and Vision: Develop and execute a clear and compelling global strategy that aligns with ULI’s mission and leverages and responds to the needs of the organization's robust 49,000-member network. Thoughtfully balance mission-driven goals with membership-focused initiatives.

Advance the ULI Culture: Develop and lead a global team with a deep passion and commitment to achieving organization-wide goals. Foster a diverse organizational culture, embracing different perspectives, nurturing a collaborative environment, and enhancing member and employee engagement while ensuring accountability at all levels.

Global Mission Advancement: Passionately advance ULI's global mission priorities, which currently include advocating for affordable housing, reducing the carbon footprint, and promoting DEI/ESG education and recruitment, while also recognizing and advancing the regional and trade-based initiatives that drive membership and community engagement.

Foundation: Advance the ULI foundation goals and promote giving at all levels to support the ULI mission and member engagement, while ensuring proper oversight of Foundation funds and contracts.

Stakeholder Engagement: Listen and learn proactively from diverse stakeholders to foster creativity, innovation, and collaboration both within and beyond ULI's membership. Serve as a connector of knowledge, ideas, and networks.

Financial Management: Focus on strategic growth to ensure financial sustainability while expanding ULI's global presence and impact. Drive profitability and ensure accountability with financial rigor, leveraging the Board for strategic input. Cultivate a philanthropic culture, focusing on fundraising to amplify mission delivery.

Board Relations: Partner with the Global Board of Directors in a collaborative and transparent manner, by cultivating trusting relationships and ensuring consistent communications toward achievement of organizational goals and objectives.

Global Industry Representation: Serve as a global spokesperson for ULI and elevate ULI’s reputation and brand globally.


*Clarify and articulate ULI’s member value proposition and identify the top three most impactful priorities. Leverage member feedback and engagement in this process.

*Develop a “One ULI” culture of collaboration, innovation, and trust. Build a strong internal team of the best and brightest in the field. Evaluate and structure senior management to best execute the mission.

*Engage with district and product councils and build plans to broaden ULI’s value proposition at the council level, while leveraging the “think tank” of the Centers.

*Refine and articulate ULI’s global strategy. Strengthen the organization in Asia and Europe. Provide definitive, achievable goals to the staff globally, with consideration for regional/cultural differences.

*Enhance ULI’s influence globally on priority issues, becoming the recognized spokesperson for the organization.

*Build strong, trusting relationships internally and externally with members, donors, board members, and staff at all levels.

*Identify the strategic roadmap for ULI growth and long-term fiscal stability; promote growth by enhancing ULI resources dedicated to both increasing corporate memberships and improving renewal rates of existing individual members, in particular populations that are traditionally underrepresented.

*Define and cement ULI’s role with respect to DEI and build the short-term action plan to enable change in the industry


The CEO will be an accomplished visionary leader who will guide ULI’s future growth, relevancy, and impact. They will passionately advocate for the organization before diverse audiences globally. The CEO will have a demonstrated record of accomplishment for collaborating with various stakeholders to forge a robust vision for a global organization in a dynamic environment and leading organizational transformation to achieve desired outcomes.

The CEO will possess executive presence and influence skills, essential for garnering the trust and engagement of ULI’s Global Board of Directors, Global Governing Trustees, Regional Boards, membership, staff, and other external constituencies nationally and globally.

They will ideally have at least ten years of executive-level leadership experience for a globally focused organization. The successful candidate will have a solid record of reliable delivery and general management experience, either as a CEO or with a proven record of successfully leading several functions. The CEO will be responsible for evolving ULI’s operating model and structure and lead the Executive Leadership Team to maximize effectiveness and innovation.

Additional qualifications include the following:

*A passion for and commitment to improving the quality of the built environment, thereby exemplifying ULI’s strategic principles and mission.

*An innovative strategic thinker who can anticipate trends that impact ULI and translate these insights into action.

*Proven experience developing and executing an organizational strategic plan in conjunction with a Board and staff, monitoring its effectiveness and relevancy, and demonstrating agility by “course correcting” as necessary.

*An ability to collaborate effectively with a volunteer Board of Directors, building trusting and transparent relationships.

*A charismatic leader who galvanizes a global team, develops top talent, is culturally and politically astute, demonstrates a high degree of emotional intelligence, and ensures a high performing leadership team is aligned to succeed together.

*A proven track record with managing across different cultures and work with professionals from a diversity of backgrounds.

*An ability to bring people together to not only achieve shared outcomes but also improve the institution’s capabilities, overall strength, and resilience.

*A proven record of promoting diversity, equity, and inclusion in all aspects of leadership.

*An exceptional communicator and public speaker who will serve as a leading voice of the ULI. An active listener who proactively engages diverse points of view.

*Outstanding relationship building and networking skills, key to forging and sustaining positive national and global alliances and partnerships aligned with the interests of ULI. The ability to connect with and secure results from government policymakers, corporate leaders, partners, industry associations, donors, Board members, and staff.

*Demonstrated “partner-focused” leadership necessary to be effective within the organization and among a membership of highly motivated professionals with a diverse set of skills and perspectives.

*A confident, measured, and data-driven decisionmaker who operates with appropriate speed and conviction and can navigate ambiguity.

*Technology savvy with an understanding of how to leverage new tools to better serve members.

*A demonstrated ability to fundraise effectively on a significant scale. Ideally, the CEO will have philanthropic fundraising experience and a track record of participating in major capital campaigns, including negotiating and managing gifts agreements. Experience with engaging and managing relationships with donors.

*Effective in conflict resolution and collaborative decision-making.

*Global experience and a proven ability to quickly understand market or geographical nuances. Multi-cultural savvy and diplomacy.

*An understanding of nonprofit management as a business and how to create value in that environment is a plus.

*A lifelong learner who embodies the values and attributes ULI espouses to members.

*Impeccable reputation for ethical behavior and integrity.

  • Washington, DC residency strongly preferred.
  • Extensive domestic and international travel, of more than 30% of working hours.

An undergraduate degree is required, and an MBA or other advanced degree is preferred.

ULI is prepared to pay a market competitive and performance-driven compensation package.


Anthony LoPinto
Managing Partner & Global Real Estate Sector Leader
917 494 8093 (mobile)

Lorraine Lavet
Senior Client Partner & Association Practice Leader
703 919 6540 (mobile)

Sam Schear
Senior Associate, Real Estate
202 236 5851 (mobile)

 Emily Lynch
 Senior Project Coordinator
 703 498 7227 (mobile)


Korn Ferry shall provide equal employment opportunity to all qualified candidates, and will refer candidates without regard to race, color, religion, national origin, sex, age, disability, veteran status or any other legally protected basis.