Ushering in a new real-estate industry leadership

By Amor Maclang, 08-21-2018

HAVING been approached by three of the executive officers of the Urban Land Institute (ULI), a prospective member recently asked if we in the Urban Land Institute were like the Masons, in part, I think, because of the zeal and passion we have for the organization and also for recruiting new members, especially those who we feel are aligned with our values for building better cities and communities.

While I am, perhaps, the only non-developer that sits in the board, I take incredible pride in serving the board and the industry that has nurtured me for more than a decade. In my multiple roles in communications, marketing, PR, destination and property branding, as well as risk issues and crisis management, the real-estate industry has been a veritable sandbox for me in many of my work in technology, tourism and even advocacies.

ULI Philippines held its official turnover of leadership on July 19 at the Alta all-day dining restaurant of Ascott, Bonifacio Global City. Raymond Rufino, co-president of The Net Group, formally stepped down as the national chairman of the local chapter of the international real-estate organization to pass the baton to Delfin Angelo Wenceslao, chief executive officer of D.M. Wenceslao and Associates.

Rufino was proud of his accomplishments in his past two years serving as the chairman, noting it as a privilege. His efforts spearheaded projects, such as the establishment of the Women's Leadership Initiative (WLI), chaired by The Net Group's Co-President Tina Samson, the ongoing PropTech Series, which focuses on upcoming real-estate technology innovations, the UrbanPlan program launched at De La Salle University and De La Salle-College of Saint Benilde, and the inaugural Capital Markets Forum. He attributed the success of the efforts with the Executive Committee, composed of Full Members of ULI that tackled each initiative with fervor-together we had created a strong, robust and energized National Council.

Among these committee members who served for the leadership was Wenceslao, who was previously handling the Membership committee.

"He was our Chair for Membership during the greatest membership growth period in our history and has been an active and engaged ULI member," Rufino said. "I have no doubt that ULI Philippines will soar to even greater heights under his leadership."

The Urban Land Institute (ULI) is an international, membership-based nonprofit research and education organization.

Founded in 1936, the Institute now has more than 40,000 members worldwide, representing the entire spectrum of land use and real-estate development disciplines working in private enterprise and public service. ULI Philippines, the local chapter of the global real-estate organization, embodies the mission to provide leadership in the responsible use of land and in creating and sustaining thriving communities worldwide by hosting these talks that allow discussion regarding the real-estate industry and its multiple facets.

Wenceslao was effusive to Rufino for his leadership and commitment to ULI during his tenure. "ULI's exponential growth these past few years would not have been possible without his passion for better real estate in the Philippines." Acknowledging that there was plenty of work to be done, Wenceslao asserts his confidence that his Executive committee and Advisory Board will remain committed to the Urban Land Institute's mission. Rufino will continue to sit on Wenceslao's Executive committee, as the chair of Mission Advancement. Both him and his father, Charlie Rufino, continue to be engaged with ULI as ULI trustees. As recognized land-use leaders, trustees are tasked with increasing the positive impact members make in communities around the globe. Currently they represent the Philippines in the region.

Beyond the Executive committee, there is also the Advisory Board, composed of senior members of Corporate members. Corporate members of ULI Philippines include Araneta Group, Bridgebury Realty Corp., Daiichi Properties & Development Inc., DoubleDragon Propeties Corp., D.M. Wenceslao and Associates Inc., Filinvest Group, KMC Savills Inc., Leechiu Property Consultants and The Net Group.

Wenceslao has also established the Women's Leadership Initiative  Board and the Young Leaders Group Board to encourage the subset groups of the organization to flourish further. Robert Abano, AVP for Marketing at Asia Landbest Properties Inc., is one of the board members for the YLG. "I'm grateful for this opportunity to join the ULI-YLG in promoting responsible real-estate development and thriving communities among young real-estate professionals in the Philippines," he said. "With Buds at its helm, I'm certain ULI Philippines will reach new heights and grow at an unprecedented pace in the upcoming months."

Other members of the YLG Board are Emmanuel Javier, director of Elazegui Estates Development Corp., Harly Geraldine Pow, managing director of Wellworth Properties and Development Corp.; and Nelson Roquero, principal architect of Nara Architecture Studio. Meanwhile, Julia Nebrija, program manager of the Philippines Department of Budget and Management, and Jean Jacquelyn Nathania A. de Castro, chief executive officer of Esca International Inc., sit on the WLI Board.

The Executive committee has ambitious plans for the coming year, including property events in areas such as Clark, Cebu and Davao, and a full day Real Estate and Innovation conference, technical advisory panels, and the completion of the ULI Library.

"We have come a long way, but there is still so much of our journey left," Rufino said. "With a huge construction and infrastructure boom, tough urban challenges and phenomenal growth of our cities, the mission of ULI Philippines to build better communities and cities has never been more critical."

During the leadership reception, both the past and present Executive committee members were present, including the founding chairman, Charlie Rufino. He was proud of the current growth of the organization in the country and has hopes to see it expand further beyond Metro Manila, leading the way to assist with challenges presented by the region's rapid urbanization.

As the appointed chairman of ULI Philippines, Wenceslao is committed to continuing the good work that the previous chairmen have begun. "Now, more than ever, I believe how important cities are to the societal framework of the country and the nation. I am hopeful and excited of what ULI can achieve in the country and energized to be leading the team and the effort," Wenceslao said.