VCU Real Estate Trends Conference (RETC)

The annual VCU Real Estate Trends Conference (RETC) attracts real estate professionals from various industry sectors such as law, finance, construction, development, brokerage and appraisal, and it provides the opportunity to look into the future of real estate, to share their expertise, and to make and strengthen professional relationships and friendships.

Thank you to the 100+ sponsors and 1,800+ registrants of the 2023 Real Estate Trends Conference. Please save the date of October 10, 2024, for next year’s conference. We are accepting sponsorships soon! Get your name in early for maximum exposure.

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2024 sponsorship information coming soon!

2023 Speakers 

Keynote Speaker: Heather McGowan

Heather McGowan
, Strategic Consultant, Amazon Best-Selling Author, Speaker, LinkedIn’s 2017 Top Influencer on Lifelong Learning & The Future of Work

Future-of-work strategist Heather E. McGowan helps leaders prepare their people and organizations for the post-pandemic world of work. The last few years have forever changed where we work, who works, how we work and measure work, what we do for work, and, most importantly, why we work. McGowan is a sense maker, a dot connector, a deep thinker, and a pattern matcher who sees things that others miss. Heather gives people the courage and insight that illuminates their path forward.

She’s transforming mindsets and entire organizations around the globe with her message about how the next phase of work will focus on continuous learning, rather than simply learning once in order to work. Pulitzer Prize–winning NYT columnist Thomas Friedman frequently quotes Heather in his books and columns and describes her as “the oasis” when it comes to insights into the future of work. In 2020 Heather was recognized as one of the top 50 female futurists in the world by Forbes. Heather’s sessions help employees and leaders alike prepare for and adapt to jobs that do not yet exist.

McGowan has provided keynote addresses for audiences from start-ups to government organizations to universities to publicly traded Fortune 100 companies, including AMP Financial, SAP, Abbvie, Biogen, Fidelity, FIS, Mastercard, AT&T, Financial Times, Siemens, Microsoft, Google, Facebook, Kaiser Permanente, JPMorgan Chase, Lockheed Martin, MassMutual, MetLife, Best Buy, Raytheon, The US Army, Accor Hotels, Paramount, Chevron, AARP, Zendesk, Tableau, Fidelity, de Beers, Professional Beauty Association, and The World Bank among hundreds of others.

Heather addresses audiences in person from small summits for C-suite executives to large events in the tens of thousands. Her virtual talks have reached hundreds of thousands. Often quoted in the media, notably in the New York Times, McGowan serves on the advisory board for Sparks & Honey, a New York–based culture-focused agency looking to the future for brands. McGowan’s academic work has included roles at Rhode Island School of Design, and Jefferson University, where she was the strategic architect of the first undergraduate college focused exclusively on innovation. In 2019 Heather was appointed as a faculty member of the Swinburne University Centre For the New Workforce in Melbourne, Australia.

In 2022, McGowan was awarded an honorary doctorate from Pennsylvania College of Art and Design in addition to earning her MBA from Babson College and her BFA in Industrial Design from Rhode Island School of Design. McGowan is the coeditor and author of the book Disrupt Together: How Teams Consistently Innovate and a Forbes contributor. McGowan’s first book on the future of work, published in 2020: The Adaptation Advantage: Let Go, Learn Fast, and Thrive in the Future of Work, reached number three in business management books on Amazon and was named one of the best business books of 2021 by Soundview.

McGowan’s most recent book The Empathy Advantage: Leading the Empowered Workforce published in March 2023 and is a finalist for the Next Big Idea Book Club and identified as a top ten business book to read in 2023 by Business Chief.

Real Estate Keynote Speaker: David Bitner

David Bitner, Executive Managing Director of Global Research, Newmark

Bitner is responsible for the strategic vision and execution of research initiatives, focusing on thought leadership that leverages the firm’s deep, data-driven market intelligence with an emphasis on the capital markets space.

 A 10-year industry veteran, with more than 12 years of experience in the finance industry, Bitner’s client-centric research approach comprises analysis of international macroeconomic trends, real estate fundamentals and capital markets dynamics to identify potential risks and opportunities for investors.

Bitner joined Newmark in 2022 after serving as Vice President and Global Head of Capital Markets Research at Cushman & Wakefield, where he led research and strategic planning for Capital Markets. Prior, Bitner was an investment professional, specializing in global cross-asset strategy at Makena Capital, a leading endowment-style investment manager located in Palo Alto, CA.

Bitner holds a Master of Business Administration from Haas School of Business at the University of California Berkley and a Bachelor of Arts in Classical Civilizations and Economics at Duke University.

Past Speakers

2023 Conference Committee