Spring 2013 Meeting Leadership Highlights

The 2013 Spring Meeting in San Diego featured a number of leadership activities sponsored by the Larson Leadership Initiative and the Women’s Leadership Initiative

Larson Leadership Initiative/Women’s Leadership Initiative SummitSanDiego1

The Fourth Annual Leadership Summit featured an interview with Deborah Szekely, founder of Rancho La Puerta and the Golden Door Spas in Southern California. The 91 year old is a legend in the spa industry and offered the 60+ attendees pearls of wisdom from her many years of leadership.

While the attached graphic recording captures most of Deborah’s words, the most memorable quote was: “Your time is yours until you give it away”
When Deborah was 89 she decided to create a game plan for her next decade and her new concept is “Wellness Warrior.”

When we sent out the graphic recording we asked the participants to complete the following phrases:

  • One Leadership ACTION I have taken since last week is_____________
  • The IMPACT it has had (or I expect it to have) is______________

Responses ranged from creating a 10 year plan to committing to a more engaged role within ULI. From smiling and being agreeable to focusing on creating a healthy workplace.

Pauline Nee, one of the WLI Executive Committee members said:
“Deborah is an amazing woman and it was wonderful to hear her story. One leadership action I have taken since the program is to be more thoughtful about how I allocate my time. As Deborah said, “Your time is yours until you give it away.” I appreciate that her point wasn’t to be selfish or manic, but to make time for balance in your own life first. I also took a really long walk the morning after I returned from San Diego!”“The impact the program has had already on me is pretty remarkable. I was reassured and energized to hear Deborah discuss the many “chapters” she has led over the course of her lifetime, and that she continues to take on new challenges. Since her talk, I have thought every day about how to be more productive on a daily basis while thinking big in the long term.”

Another attendee, Caroline Moore of Baltimore said, “It was the highlight of my experience in San Diego. I thought Deborah Szekely was magnificent. She had such clear profound thoughts and ideas which she shared using the fewest words. She could have been a general session speaker… she was so powerful and her thoughts so fresh. I was very honored to be there in the small setting and get the benefit of her first hand. Marilyn Taylor DID A FIRST CLASS JOB interviewing her. It was the best of ULI.”

Emerging Leader Roundtables with Sandy Apgar

Another Leadership activity at the Spring Meeting in San Diego was the 2nd Annual Emerging Leaders Roundtable, chaired by Sandy Apgar. A longtime member of ULI, Sandy is a ULI Foundation Governor, former ULI Trustee, and has chaired several ULI Councils. A frequent contributor to Urban Land, the Harvard Business Review and other publications, Sandy brought his extensive experience as a real estate advisor, professor, and Defense Department official to the Roundtable, fostering a lively-and enlightening-discussion. He recruited some of ULI’s most “seasoned” members to serve as Mentors to the 30 participants including Harry Frampton, Alex Rose, Lauralee Martin and Caroline Moore. The graphic recording captured the highlights of the discussions and Sandy will be synthesizing the findings from both last year’s roundtable in Charlotte and this year’s San Diego gathering and posting as a blog for the Larson Leadership Initiative website.



Town Hall Session—Resilience

Another Spring Meeting event was the Town Hall session on Resilience. It was described in the program this way:

“RESILIENCE”: an ability to recover from or adjust easily to misfortune or change”(Merriam-Webster)– in the past few years, we have all learned the true meaning of “Resilience” in our economy, career, environment and the cities we call home. Speakers will make brief presentations of how they have met the challenge to be resilient and then participate in an interactive discussion with ULI Trustees, Governors and the audience of how “Resilience” can mean not just bouncing back, but bouncing forward!
In a highly unique format, a collection of story tellers, provocateurs, and discussion leaders interacted with nearly 100 participants to create principles of resilience. The “speakers” included:

People of Ceremony:
Michael Horst
Toni Alexander (subbing for Debbie Orshefsky)
Story Tellers:
Peter Pappas
Vicki Mullins
Eric LarsonSanDiego3
Ed McMahon
Tom Murphy
Deborah Szekely
Table Leaders:
Sandy Apgar
Pat Callahan
Lynn Carlton
Anthony Chang
Carl Koebel
Diana Reid
Greg Senkevitch
Doug Wilson

The graphic recording captures much of the discussion.

Personal principles of resilience, inspired by Peter Pappas’ own story included:
• Openness, telling the truth (especially to yourself)
• Look to family and community
• Have a sense of humor
• Find the silver lining
• Nothing is impossible
• Talk to your dog

Principles of Enterprise resilience, catalyzed by Vicki Mullins account of Newland Communities were:
• Own the problem, be honest and compassionate
• Go in everyday with a positive look on your face
• Keep people informed
• Plan for cycles—anticipate, don’t react
• Have core values
• Be a great partner


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