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The annual VCU Real Estate Trends Conference 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 over 100 sponsors and 1,500 registrants for a phenomenal 2022 VCU Real Estate Trends Conference! Please save the date for next year's conference - October 12, 2023 at the Greater Richmond Convention Center.


Register now as a 2023 Sponsor! View all sponsorship details here: RETC Sponsor

2023 speakers

Coming soon!


Past speakers

Real Estate Keynote Speaker

Suzanne Mulvee serves as Chief Strategy Officer at GID, a vertically-integrated investor, operator, developer and Fiduciary with more than $26B in assets under management, including more than 46,000 apartment units and 25 million SF of industrial space across the U.S. Mulvee is responsible for creating actionable insights into economic drivers, capital market trends, and real estate fundamentals to maximize risk-adjusted returns across real estate cycles. Additionally, Mulvee leads the firm’s business intelligence team which is tasked with mobilizing data into actionable insights for business leaders.

Prior to joining GID, Mulvee was a Director and Real Estate Strategist at CoStar Portfolio Strategy and PPR. There, she was a consultant to some of the largest investment managers, life insurers, pension funds, banks, and private equity funds in the U.S., providing independent expertise in real estate market, portfolio, and mortgage risk analysis. She regularly speaks to industry organizations, is often quoted in the national press, and has appeared on CNBC. She earned a B.A. cum laude in Financial and Managerial Economics from the University of New Hampshire, and holds the CFA designation.

Keynote Speaker


Peter Zeihan 

Peter Zeihan is a geopolitical strategist, which is a fancy way of saying he helps people understand how the world works. Peter combines an expert understanding of demography, economics, energy, politics, technology, and security to help clients best prepare for an uncertain future.

Over the course of his career, Peter has worked for the US State Department in Australia, the DC think tank community, and helped develop the analytical models for Stratfor, one of the world’s premier private intelligence companies. Peter founded his own firm — Zeihan on Geopolitics — in 2012 in order to provide a select group of clients with direct, custom analytical products. Today those clients represent a vast array of sectors including energy majors, financial institutions, business associations, agricultural interests, universities and the U.S. military.

With a keen eye toward what will drive tomorrow’s headlines, his irreverent approach transforms topics that are normally dense and heavy into accessible, relevant takeaways for audiences of all types.

Peter is a critically-acclaimed author whose first two books — The Accidental Superpower and The Absent Superpower — have been recommended by Mitt Romney, Fareed Zakaria and Ian Bremmer. His latest third title, Disunited Nations: The Scramble for Power in an Ungoverned World became available in March 2020.

Peter’s fourth book, The End of the World is Just the Beginning: Mapping the Collapse of Globalization, becomes available in June 2022.

Mary Ludgin from Heitman

Mary Ludgin, Heitman

Mary is Heitman’s Senior Managing Director, Head of Global Research and an equity owner of the firm. She is a member of the firm’s Board of Managers, Global Management Committee, North American Private Equity Valuation Committee, and Private Equity and Debt Investment Committees. She is the author of numerous articles and research studies relating to real estate markets, portfolio management and strategy. Prior to joining Heitman, she was an urban planner for the City of Chicago and she worked in retail site location.

Mary received an AB from Vassar College and an MA and PhD from Northwestern University. She is a Governing Trustee of the Urban Land Institute and sits on its Global Board of Directors. Mary also chairs ULI’s Chicago District Council. Among other professional affiliations, she served two terms on the board of the Pension Real Estate Association and was its president. Mary is also a former president of the National Council of Real Estate Investment Fiduciaries. She was named a fellow of the Homer Hoyt Institute in 2000, is a docent for the Chicago Architecture Foundation and is a member of the board of the Metropolitan Planning Council of Chicago.

Mary’s presentation at the 2019 VCU Real Estate Trends Conference has been made available by clicking the link below:

VCU Trends Conference October 2019 Mary Ludgin

Greg Lindsay from NewCities

Greg Lindsay

Greg Lindsay is the incoming director of applied research at NewCities and director of strategy at its mobility offshoot, CoMotion. He is also a non-resident senior fellow of the Atlantic Council’s Foresight, Strategy, and Risks Initiative, a visiting scholar at New York University’s  Rudin Center for Transportation Policy & Management, and co-author of Aerotropolis: The Way We’ll Live Next.

His work with Studio Gang Architects on the future of suburbia was displayed at New York’s Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in 2012. His work has also been displayed at the 15th and 16th Venice
Architecture Biennales, the International Architecture Biennale Rotterdam, and Habitat III.

Greg is a partner at FutureMap, a geo-strategic advisory firm based in Singapore, and has advised Intel, Samsung, Starbucks, Audi, Chrysler, Hyundai, Tishman Speyer, British Land, André Balazs Properties, Emaar, Aldar, and Expo 2020, among many other organizations. He was the inaugural urbanist-in-residence at URBAN-X — BMW MINI’s urban tech accelerator.

Greg’s presentation from the 2019 VCU Real Estate Trends Conference is available by request for attendees of the event only.  Please email to request a copy.

Elliot Eisenberg, Ph.D from GraphsandLaughs LLC


Elliot Eisenberg, Ph.D. is a nationally acclaimed economist and public speaker specializing in making economics fun, relevant and educational.  Dr. Eisenberg earned a B.A. in economics with first class honors from McGill University in Montreal, as well as a Master and Ph.D. in public administration from Syracuse University.  Eisenberg is the Chief Economist for GraphsandLaughs, LLC, an economic consultancy that serves a variety of clients across the United States.  He writes a syndicated column and authors a daily 70-word commentary on the economy that is available at

Dr. Eisenberg has spoken to hundreds of business groups and associations, often as keynote speaker on topics including economic forecasts, economic impact of industries such as homebuilding and tourism, consequences of government regulation, strategic business development, and other current economic issues.  Dr. Eisenberg has been invited to testify before lawmakers and is often asked to comment on proposed legislation.  His research and opinions have been featured in Bloomberg Businessweek, Bureau of National Affairs, Forbes, Fortune, and many other publications.  He is a regularly featured guest on cable news programs, talk, and public radio.

Dr. Eisenberg was formerly a Senior Economist with the National Association of Home Builders in Washington, D.C.  He is the creator of the multifamily stock index (the first nationally recognized index to track the total return of public firms principally involved in the ownership and management of apartments), the author of more than ninety-five articles, serves on the Expert Advisory Board of Mortgage Market Guide and is a regular consultant to several large real estate professional associations, hedge funds and investment advisory groups.

Elliot’s interests include keeping the rate of restoration of his 65-year-old house ahead of its rate of deterioration and doting on his daughter. He loves ice hockey and talking economics with crowds large and small!



Steve Weikal from MIT Center for Real Estate

Steve Weikal

Steve Weikal is Head of Industry Relations at the MIT Center for Real Estate, responsible for managing relationships between the Center and its global network of industry partners and nearly 1100 alumni of the MIT Master’s in Real Estate Development (MSRED) program, in 43 countries. He is also a lecturer and researcher, focused on innovative new technology and business models that disrupt the traditional ways of developing, transacting and managing real estate.

Steve is the Founder of MIT Real Disruption, a successful series of conferences discussing the impact of emerging technology on the real estate industry, and he sits on the advisory boards of three real estate technology start-ups. Steve has spoken extensively about real estate disruption at conferences for AFIRE, IREM, SIOR, CCIM, CoreNet, and BOMA, and has been quoted by numerous media outlets, including BuzzFeed, TechInsider, the Boston Globe, GlobeSt. the Real Reporter, and Anuario Inmobiliario LatinoAmerica.

Steve holds a Master’s of Science in Real Estate Development (MSRED) and Master’s in City Planning (MCP) from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and a law degree from Suffolk University Law School. He is a licensed attorney, a licensed real estate broker, and a LEED Accredited Professional.


Prior to his position at the MIT Center for Real Estate, Steve was Vice President of NOW Communities, a Concord, MA-based developer of new residential neighborhoods that merge the best of traditional design with 21st-century energy technology. Before graduate school, Steve was National Media Tour Producer for Martin Scorses’s The Blues, for WGBH Boston, was Manager of Partner Acquisition at Curl, a VC funded tech start-up launched to commercialize a new coding language developed at the MIT Lab for Computer Science (LCS), and was a Founding Partner
of Sonoma Coast Vineyards, maker of award-winning Pinot Noir from the Extreme Sonoma Coast of California. He began his real estate career restoring and redeveloping historic theaters in Detroit’s Fox Center entertainment district.

2023 Conference Committee

Committee Chair

  • Kim Kacani


Speakers Chair

Sponsors Chair

Hospitality Chair

Lunch Sessions Chair

Committee Members


“Psychology of Money” author Morgan Housel discusses the financial power of behavior, patience at VCU Business event

“Psychology of Money” author Morgan Housel discusses the financial power of behavior, patience at VCU Business event

Tuesday, February 28

The conversation, led by Markel CEO Tom Gayner and hosted by the Kornblau Real Estate and Risk Management and Insurance Programs at VCU, centered around the concepts of risk and how steady investments pay off over time.

Interdisciplinary real estate panel discusses industry predictions at 2023 Kornblau Real Estate Market Outlook

Interdisciplinary real estate panel discusses industry predictions at 2023 Kornblau Real Estate Market Outlook

Thursday, February 2

The webinar welcomed experts from commercial and residential real estate and construction, economic development, community revitalization and more.

VCU presents 30th annual Real Estate Trends Conference

VCU presents 30th annual Real Estate Trends Conference

Thursday, September 29

Data expert from GID and the author of “The Accidental Superpower” will be this year’s speakers.

VCU Kornblau forum provides in-depth look at residential housing market

VCU Kornblau forum provides in-depth look at residential housing market

Thursday, April 14

Over 800 attendees attended the second annual spring housing forum

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