• Sam Zell
  • Eric Newman
  • Kim Hourihan
  • Ed Owens, III
  • Andrew Garrett
  • Billy Butcher
  • John Lippmann
  • Steven Stuart
  • Meighan Phillips
  • Peter Ciganik
  • Warren de Haan
  • Paul B. Fine
  • Joel Breitkopf
  • Paul Hughson
  • Lawrence Selevan
  • Chester P. Lee
  • Richard Recny
  • Clarke Hitch
  • Jay Neveloff
  • Joe Williams
  • Gabe Marans
  • Aaron Kraus
  • Krystyna Blakeslee
  • Will Hutton

Speaker Profiles

Sam Zell

Founder, Chairman -Equity Group Investments

Sam Zell is a global, industry-agnostic entrepreneur and investor. He has a long track record of turning around troubled companies and assets, leading industry consolidations, and bringing companies to the public markets. His current investments are in logistics, health care, manufacturing, agribusiness, energy, and real estate. 

Sam is the chairman of Equity Group Investments, the private investment firm he founded more than 50 years ago. He also chairs three companies listed on the New York Stock Exchange: Equity Residential, an apartment REIT; Equity LifeStyle Properties, a manufactured home community and resort REIT; and Equity Commonwealth, an office REIT. 

Sam also founded and chaired Equity Office Properties Trust, which was the largest office REIT until its 2007 sale for $39 billion in the largest leveraged buyout at the time. In addition, he introduced the first Brazilian and Mexican real estate companies, respectively, to the New York Stock Exchange through Equity International, a private investment firm he founded to focus on real estate businesses in emerging markets. 

Sam is an active philanthropist with a focus on entrepreneurial education. Through the Zell Family Foundation, he has led the sponsorship of several leading entrepreneurship programs, including the Zell Lurie Institute for Entrepreneurial Studies at the University of Michigan Ross School of Business, the Zell Fellows Program at Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management, and the Zell Entrepreneurship Program at Reichman University in Israel. The Zell Global Entrepreneurship Network (ZGEN) unites the students and alumni of these programs, providing connections, opportunities, mentorship, and support. Sam also sponsors the Samuel Zell and Robert Lurie Real Estate Center at University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School. He holds a JD degree and a BA from the University of Michigan.

Sam was recognized in 2017 by Forbes as one of the 100 Greatest Living Business Minds. That same year, Sam debuted his book, Am I Being Too Subtle? Straight Talk From a Business Rebel
(Penguin Random House), in which he shares fundamentals and philosophies that made him a
self-made billionaire.



Eric Newman

Treasury Manager, City of Stamford

Eric is responsible for treasury, investment management, and pension fund accounting. He serves as a Trustee on the Classified Employees Retirement Fund Board, Other Post- Employment Benefit (OPEB) Board, Defined Contribution Retirement Plan Board and City’s Investment Advisory Committee. Eric is a Trustee on the Town of Fairfield Employee Retirement Board and Joint Retirement Investment Board. Prior to entering government finance, Eric held finance positions at Royal Bank of Scotland, IBM Global Financing, Arnhold and S. Bleichroeder, Price Waterhouse and Soros Fund Management. Eric received his B.B.A. in Accounting from Adelphi University; Certificate in Investment Banking from New York University, M.B.A. in Finance from Sacred Heart University and is pursuing a Corporate Finance Certificate at Harvard University. He is a Certified Public
Accountant (CPA) and a Chartered Global Management Accountant (CGMA).

Kim Hourihan

Chief Investment Officer, CBRE Real Estate Investment

Kim Hourihan is Chief Investment Officer for CBRE Real Estate Investments (“REI”). In this role, she is responsible for the overall investment strategy for REI, including investing CBRE capital into CBRE Investment Management investment programs and Trammell Crow Company development deals.

Kim previously served as CIO – Americas Direct Real Estate Strategies for CBRE Investment Management and Portfolio Manager for one of the firm’s comingled funds. As CIO, Kim was responsible for the product strategy of the Americas. As Portfolio Manager, she was responsible for all aspects of the fund, including strategy, acquisitions, disposition and fund management. She also has served as a Managing Director and the Portfolio Manager for two international sovereign wealth fund clients, with total assets under management of more than $4 billion representing 11.7 million square feet. In this position, Kim was responsible for client relations, portfolio management, asset management, acquisitions and dispositions.

Kim is passionate about strategic thinking, continuous learning and creative problem-solving for her clients. She enjoys the tangibility of real estate, the challenge of launching new entities and the opportunity to support and coach senior talent. 

Prior to joining CBRE Investment Management in 2007, Kim was Senior Vice President at Starwood Capital Group. Previously, Kim was Partner and Regional Director at TA Associates Realty. Prior to that, she was Senior Vice President at the Georgetown Holding in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, directing multiple acquisitions ranging from a bank in Geneva to a magazine in Hong Kong. Kim began her career in 1990 at U.S. Trust Company where she was responsible for construction lending on real estate.

Kim earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from Boston College and a Master’s degree in Business Administration from Harvard University. She is a member of the NCREIF Reporting Standards Board and was named one of PERE’s 2021 Women of Influence.

Ed Owens, III

CEO, CERS Board of Trustees - Kentucky Public Pensions Authority

Ed Owens, III is the Chief Executive Officer of the County Employees Retirement System (CERS), a multiple-employer, cost-sharing defined benefit pension plan with more than 260,000 nonhazardous and hazardous members. CERS participating employers include local governments (county and city), school boards, and eligible local agencies in Kentucky.

Mr. Owens is a former community and government affairs specialist at Fifth Third Bank and a former senior regulator at the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland. Most recently, Mr. Owens was a consultant for Project Golden Eagle, a group of African-American businessmen seeking to acquire a publicly-traded middle-market company. He also consulted with litigation attorneys regarding banking issues and regulations and assisted startup and early-stage companies with establishing corporate governance protocols, banking relationships, and additional funding opportunities.

Prior to that, he was a senior vice president at Fifth Third Bank in Cincinnati, where he led both community and governmental affairs efforts. Mr. Owens also worked as a senior examiner at the Cleveland Fed, where he communicated Reserve Bank findings to corporate boards of directors and executive management, conducted fair Lending and Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) investigations, and consulted with large bank members on strengthening risk management protocols and increasing net operating income.

In addition, he previously worked as a trial attorney at the Commodity Futures Trading Commission and was an Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney with the Fayette County Attorney’s Office. He earned his law degree from the University of Kentucky College of Law, and prior to that his Bachelor’s in Marketing from the University of Kentucky.

Andrew Garrett

Senior Principal, Real Estate, IMCO (Ontario Pensions)

Andrew Garrett is Senior Principal, Real Estate at IMCO. He is responsible for growing the global real estate portfolio through strategy development, proactive asset management, and new investment partnerships. His primary focus is overseeing teams of asset managers and expanding the portfolio with new development partners in major global cities.

Before joining IMCO in 2019, Andrew spent more than 12 years at Cadillac Fairview (CF), where he was Director, Real Estate Development. In that role, he built and oversaw the team of specialists that evaluated and prioritized development-related growth opportunities to meet the long-term objectives of CF’s owner, Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan.

Andrew holds a Global Executive MBA from Kellogg School Management and a Real Estate Development Certification from MIT Centre for Real Estate.

Andrew sits on the board advisory committees for real estate private equity firms KingSett Capital, Royal York Hotel LP, Carttera, and Forgestone Capital. He also founded a B Corp social enterprise and serves on the management committee of the Urban Land Institute, supporting and advising on social purpose real estate projects.

Billy Butcher

Partner and Chief Operating Officer, KKR Global Real Estate

Billy Butcher (New York) joined KKR in 2004 and is the Chief Operating Officer of KKR’s global real estate business. Mr. Butcher serves on KKR’s real estate investment committees and leads the firm’s investments in real estate corporate platforms globally. Mr. Butcher previously co-led U.S. real estate acquisitions, and before helping to establish the firm’s dedicated real estate investment business in 2011, he worked in the Firm’s corporate private equity business in the U.S. and Asia. Prior to joining KKR, he was at Goldman, Sachs & Co. He holds an A.B., summa cum laude, from Princeton University, and an M.B.A. from the Stanford University Graduate School of Business, where he was the Henry Ford II Scholar and an Arjay Miller Scholar. Mr. Butcher is actively involved in a number of non-profit organizations and currently serves on the Board of Peer Forward, which is committed to enabling broader college access to U.S. high schoolers through positive peer influence.

John Lippmann

Managing Director - NYL Real Estate Investors

John is the Head of Structured Debt at New York Life Real Estate Investors and Portfolio Manager of the Madison Square Structured Debt Fund. He oversees the production of highly structured real estate loans across New York Life Real Estate Investors’ national platform, including construction, bridge and mezzanine financing, and he is part of the debt leadership team which prices and approves all real estate loans.  Additionally, he is responsible for special servicing and manages financings and interest rate hedging strategies for the real estate equity platform.

John joined the firm in 2010. Previously, he worked in the real estate groups at FTI Consulting and Eurohypo AG. He began his career in the Real Estate and Lodging Investment Banking group at JPMorgan Chase. 

John earned a B.A. from the School of Public Affairs at American University and an M.B.A. from the Stern School of Business at New York University, where he also taught as an adjunct assistant professor in the Master of Science program at the Schack Institute of Real Estate for over a decade.

Steven Stuart

Managing Director - Fortress Investment Group

Steve Stuart is a Managing Director at Fortress Investment Group and is Head of the
Commercial Real Estate Debt team, which he started in 2002. In addition, he started a
Fortress sponsored PE firm and returned to Fortress as a partner in 2016. Prior to
Fortress, he worked in the real estate groups at Deutsche Bank and Goldman Sachs,
where he started his career in 1986.

Meighan Phillips

Managing Director, Portfolio Management - Principal Global Investors

Meighan is a managing director, portfolio management for Principal Real Estate Investors. Meighan joined the portfolio team for the Principal U.S. Property Account in August of 2006. She is responsible for execution of portfolio strategy, client and consultant communication and provides oversight for portfolio reporting, analytics and attribution. She joined the firm in 2005 and prior to her tenure on the Account, Meighan was an acquisition analyst for Principal Real Estate Investors. She received an MBA from the University of Iowa and a bachelor's degree in finance with a concentration in investments from Drake University. Meighan serves on the Board of Directors of NCREIF and is a member of the NCREIF Fund Index ODCE Investment Policy Committee.

Peter Ciganik

Senior Managing Director - GTIS Partners

Peter Ciganik is a Senior Managing Director of Strategy, Research and Investor Relations at GTIS and leads the Investor Relations and Client Services functions across the Firm’s investment vehicles. In addition, Mr. Ciganik is responsible for the Firm’s macro and investment research, global strategy and new business development.

Mr. Ciganik’s experience in the real estate industry began in 2002. Prior to joining GTIS in 2007, Mr. Ciganik worked with Morgan Stanley Real Estate Funds (MSREF) in London, and with Lehman Brothers Real Estate Partners (LBREP) in New York.

In his prior engagements, Mr. Ciganik was responsible for the evaluation, financial modeling and due diligence of equity and mezzanine debt investments, participating in the acquisition of over $800 million of individual and portfolio assets. Before LBREP, Mr. Ciganik worked with Lehman’s Corporate Strategy and Acquisitions group, and as a business analyst with McKinsey & Co. in Frankfurt and New York.

Mr. Ciganik graduated summa cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa from Harvard College and received an M.B.A. from the Stanford Graduate School of Business. Mr. Ciganik is a member of Urban Land Institute (ULI) and Pension Real Estate Association (PREA).

Warren de Haan

Senior Managing Director and Co-Head of Originations - ACORE Capital

Tony Fineman is a Senior Managing Director and Co-Head of National Originations for ACORE Capital. Mr. Fineman is responsible for overseeing the originations platform, and for sourcing, originating, structuring, underwriting and closing commercial real estate financing opportunities. Mr. Fineman has more than 25 years of experience in the commercial real estate business, having closed more than $25 billion in loans across all product types.


Prior to joining ACORE, Mr. Fineman was an Executive Vice President with Brickman and a principal at Hillcrest Finance, where he was responsible for originating and structuring debt and equity investments. Prior to Brickman, Mr. Fineman held various positions in commercial real estate finance including a senior role with Wachovia Bank, where he structured and closed complex commercial real estate finance transactions often involving multiple lenders and tranches of debt, and a role as a banker with Nomura Securities in the mid to late 1990s.


Mr. Fineman has also spent a significant amount of time on the equity side of the commercial real estate business where he was involved in the development, ownership, management and operation of commercial real estate, including in senior roles with Centres Inc. and Terranova Corporation, and in his time with Brickman. Mr. Fineman began his career in commercial real estate as an attorney representing institutional and private clients in a wide range of commercial real estate transactions, including finance, acquisitions, dispositions, leasing, development and land use.


Mr. Fineman received a B.S. in Electrical Engineering from Drexel University and a J.D. from the University of Florida. Mr. Fineman serves on the board of enCourage Kids Foundation. Mr. Fineman is married to Lori and they have two children, Mia and Rocky.


Paul B. Fine

Managing Director

KKR & Co.

Paul Fine (New York) joined KKR in 2015 and is a member of the Real Estate team. He is responsible for sourcing and executing debt investments across KKR’s real estate credit strategies. Prior to joining KKR, Mr. Fine was a director at Cantor Fitzgerald where he helped to set up the real estate finance platform and was responsible for loan originations. He began his career at Credit Suisse in the real estate finance group. Mr. Fine graduated from Cornell University, magna cum laude, with a B.S. in Applied Economics and Management.

Joel Breitkopf

Principal - Alchemy Properties

Joel Breitkopf, Principal of Alchemy Properties, has been in the real estate industry his entire professional career. Joel is involved in all aspects of Alchemy’s developments and investments including acquisition, finance, design, construction, marketing and strategic planning and is a principal of Alchemy – ABR Investment Partners which acquires existing commercial buildings in select major markets. He joined Alchemy in 1993. Previously, he was an executive at Commercial Bank of New York and was Vice President of Acquisitions and Finance for Himmel+Meringoff Properties. In this capacity he oversaw opportunistic acquisitions and structured bank workouts in the early 1990’s. Joel was also a real estate loan officer at Chemical Bank Realty and, prior to that, an analyst at LaSalle Partners, a national real estate advisor.

In 2013, Joel started a music therapy program for Veterans with PTSD, called Healing our Heroes, at the Music Conservatory of Westchester where he is now the President of the Board of Trustees. He was also President of B’nai B’rith Real Estate, and has been affiliated with numerous other industry groups and charities. Joel has financed well over $2 Billion in real estate transactions and has acquired over 3,500,000 square feet of real estate during his career. He has lectured at the Yale University School of Architecture, the University of Pennsylvania, the Wharton Graduate School of Business, Cornell University and has been an Adjunct Professor at New York University’s Master’s Program in Real Estate. Joel is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania with a B.A. in Economics.

Paul Hughson

Executive Managing Director- Island Capital

Paul Hughson is an Executive Managing Director of C-III Capital Partners (an affiliate of Island Capital). Mr. Hughson serves as head of Principal Investments for C-III Capital Partners which encompasses C-III’s capital deployment activities for debt and equity investments as well as C-III’s Commercial Mortgage platform. Mr. Hughson serves as the Chief Investment Officer of   C-III Recovery Fund Series I, II, and III, a series of value add private equity vehicles formed to capitalize on the opportunities within the C-III platform.  In addition, Mr. Hughson serves as the President of C-III Commercial Mortgage and the head of real estate lending for Exantas Capital Corp., a public mortgage reit managed by C-III. Mr. Hughson joined Island Capital Group in 2009 and serves as an Executive Managing Director and the Co-Chief Investment Officer.


Before his affiliation with Island Capital, Mr. Hughson was a member of the Lehman Brothers Global Real Estate Group for 15 years where he was the head of global credit distribution. Mr. Hughson joined Lehman in 1993 to develop Lehman Brothers’ conduit securitization platform and subsequently became responsible for Lehman’s proprietary and client based CMBS and CRE CDO securitization businesses, as well as Lehman’s line of credit and term loan business and bridge equity businesses.


From 1986 through 1993, Mr. Hughson practiced real estate law with Thacher Proffitt & Wood. Mr. Hughson received his J.D. from the University of Virginia and his B.A. from Tufts University.

Lawrence Selevan

CEO- Chesterfield Faring, Ltd

Lawrence J. Selevan is responsible for the overall direction of the Firm. Mr. Selevan has more than 40 years of experience in real estate investment banking, investment management, principal ownership, and capital markets activities. During his career, Mr. Selevan has executed $15 billion (plus) in transactions for both US domestic and offshore institutional and private clients, including US REITs, pension fund, fund managers, global investment banks, private family home offices, and Sovereign Wealth Funds.

Prior to the Firm, Mr. Selevan was the CEO of Garrick Aug, Director of Fund Management for Sumitomo Real Estate, Managing Director at Fieldstone, Inc. and the merchant banker for a private family office.   He has moderated several conference panels every year specifically referencing private equity, distressed opportunities, special opportunities, and global infrastructure project finance.  He has worked on projects throughout the world including the US & the Americas, Europe, Africa, and Asia.

Chester P. Lee

Partner - Duane Morris LLP

Chester P. Lee is co-chair of Duane Morris' Real Estate Practice Group. Mr. Lee practices in the area of real estate law, providing strategic and legal advice for all types of commercial real estate transactions. Mr. Lee has represented both lenders and borrowers in secured financings and loan restructurings, including construction loans, Real-Estate-Owned properties (REOs), leasehold financings, debtor-in-possession loans, exit financings, project financings and mezzanine debt.

Mr. Lee also has counseled clients acquiring, disposing and/or developing real property, including ground-lease and sale-leaseback transactions (including sale-leasebacks involving call centers and medical facilities). Many of these matters involved purchases of multiple sites located in numerous jurisdictions. He has represented many foreign investors (including those from China, Russia and France) in their initial acquisitions and developments of projects in the United States (such as retail and manufacturing sites). He also has worked with landlords, tenants and subtenants in the leasing and subleasing of real estate assets, including built-to-suit facilities, retail locations and warehouse and distribution centers.

Mr. Lee has represented international and domestic investors in natural resource acquisitions, including uranium and coal mining projects. Mr. Lee has counseled clients in the financing of energy assets such as wind farms and propane gas distribution facilities.

Mr. Lee is a 1982 graduate of Harvard Law School and a summa cum laude graduate of Columbia University.

Richard Recny

Director of Asset Management- Time Equities

Rick Recny, Director of Asset Management. Mr. Recny has worked for TO since 1987. His duties include the supervision of the development, management, and leasing of over 39 million square feet of industrial, office, residential and retail space, the creation and the maintenance of management systems and controls for the portfolio; the development and evaluation of asset management strategies for each property within the portfolio; and the origination and analysis of new office, retail and industrial property acquisitions. In addition, Mr. Recny oversees the sustainability initiatives for all buildings within TEl's portfolios, the construction department, and the entitlement process. Most recently, Mr. Recny has spearheaded TEl's efforts to invest in the renewable energy sector. Prior to Mr. Recny's appointment to TEl, he worked for the Local Development Corporation of East New York as its Executive Director ('79-'87). Mr. Recny created and developed the most highly regarded local development corporation in the State of New York, developing the organization from a staff of one and an annual budget of $20,000 to an organization with a staff of thirty-two and an annual budget in excess of $2.5 million. In conjunction with the City of New York, he planned and supervised the development of the 102 acre East Brooklyn Industrial Park, created the first industrial business improvement district and one of the State of New York's first Economic Development Zones. Mr. Recny is a graduate of the University of California at Berkeley and an MSUP candidate at Columbia University

Clarke Hitch

Managing Director - Blackstone

Clarke Hitch is a Managing Director in the Blackstone Real Estate Debt Strategies Group, where he is involved in sourcing, underwriting, negotiating and structuring senior loans, mezzanine loans, preferred equity and other debt investments across all asset types and geographies throughout the U.S.

Prior to joining Blackstone in 2013, Mr. Hitch worked at Morgan Stanley in the Commercial Real Estate Lending Group.

Mr. Hitch graduated from Duke University with an AB in Public Policy.

Jay Neveloff

Partner - Chair, Real Estate New York - Kramer Levin

Jay A. Neveloff advises a broad range of clients involved with the development, ownership and financing of real estate projects, including high-profile mixed-use, commercial, retail, and residential projects in New York City and throughout the country. A nationally recognized transactional lawyer, Jay represents institutional and private equity funds, as well as other investors, in joint ventures, in the acquisition and sale of property, including portfolios of properties, and in connection with a broad variety of developments. He also represents major international funds and financial institutions in commercial lending transactions, preferred equity investments, loan restructurings and workouts.

Jay’s most notable transactions include high-profile projects in New York City, such as the Waldorf Astoria, representing the owner in several aspects; Disney-ABC, representing the company in the sale of its primary New York City campus and in the relocation of its New York headquarters to a 1.2-million-square-foot complex with office and studio space being developed in Tribeca; the acquisitions of 452 5th Ave. and 576 5th Ave.; CIM in the development of 432 Park Ave. and related matters; multiple parties involved in the development and financing of Central Park Tower; and Time Warner Center, representing Related-Apollo in the $1.7 billion development of the premier mixed-use complex in Columbus Circle. Jay represented Saint Vincent’s Catholic Medical Center in the sale of the main hospital campus; New York Life Insurance Co. in the sale of Manhattan House, a residential complex comprising an entire block on the Upper East Side of Manhattan; and the Ponte family in numerous Lower Manhattan transactions. He also led the sale of Stribling & Associates to Compass and the sale of The Sunshine Group to NRT Corcoran.

In another notable and unique project, Jay represents an owner of Broadway theaters in the sale involving a mixed-use building in Times Square, in which the seller retained ownership of the landmarked theater currently at street level. As part of the purchaser’s redevelopment of the property, the purchaser intends to lift the theater by up to 30 feet above its current location to allow for retail space at street level, and will renovate the theater for the seller. 

Jay has played an integral role in advancing state and local legislative and policy changes on behalf of clients, including representing the owner of multiple large residential complexes and the owner and developer of major sports entertainment venues. He has had significant involvement in the adoption of federal and state legislation, including the adoption of amended Section 365(h) of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code (preserving the integrity of leasehold financings), the limitations enacted in 2016 regarding the Interstate Land Full Disclosure Act and other property-specific legislation, as well as New York State executive orders relating to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on real estate, and is regularly invited to review and comment upon, often in advance, pending New York State legislation related to real estate.

Jay regularly advises clients in the hotel and hospitality industry on the acquisition and development of properties, as well as on loan restructurings. He has been involved in several unique hospitality-related products for several clients, including the iconic Plaza Hotel and the St. Regis Hotel. He represented Starwood Hotels in the sale of several hotels including the Sheraton Manhattan and the retail portion of the St. Regis, and advised Korman Communities in the acquisition of the Smyth Hotel.

Jay also has deep experience in workouts and restructuring of properties in every asset class, including condominiums, hotels, commercial properties, hospitals and senior care facilities, in New York and other cities. Recently, he led a team of Litigation, Bankruptcy, Land Use and Real Estate lawyers in a financing, mezzanine foreclosure and bankruptcy involving a large development site near Sutton Place in Manhattan, and successfully defended the client against attempts to stop construction by rezoning the site. He has also advised both NYU-Langone Medical Center and Mount Sinai Hospital, as well as other not-for-profits and owners, in several leasehold condominium transactions.

On a national scale, Jay has facilitated the development of numerous regional and local shopping centers and other commercial projects throughout the country. He represented the owners of Starrett City, the largest federally subsidized housing complex in the United States, in a major capital transaction; represented the previous operator of Stuyvesant Town in a variety of matters; and guided the sale of a major casino hotel in Las Vegas on behalf of the owners. 

According to Chambers sources, Jay “provides very effective representation and is very pleasant to work with. He has deep expertise in New York real estate markets and is very well connected” (Chambers USA 2021). He is described as “a brilliant and dynamic individual,” “impressive — really sharp and very commercial” (2022), “one of the best real estate lawyers in New York” and “a phenomenal and very, very creative attorney” (Chambers USA 2020). He’s been lauded by clients as “very well connected, really practical and incredibly responsive” (Chambers USA 2019) and “one of our most trusted advisers” (Chambers USA 2018). Clients appreciate that “he looks after his clients, is always available and responsive, and is very knowledgeable in the business” (Chambers USA 2017). He has been ranked in Tier 1 for Real Estate by Chambers every year for more than 15 years.

Joe Williams

Co-Founder- Keller Williams Realty

Joe is the Cofounder of Keller Williams Realty International, the world’s largest privately owned real estate franchise now operating with over 200,000+ residential agents and 2,500 commercial associates in over 54 countries.

Keller Williams is the top volume and transaction producer in the USA and their reputation as a top training organization and profitable franchise operator is highly respected. Considered by their competitors as the “Southwest Airlines” of the RE industry, their disruptive business model has been chronicled twice by the Stanford Business School.

Additionally, Joe has founded two award-winning tech companies related to the real estate industry.

There is not much in terms of market cycles and external forces Joe hasn’t seen before and he shares that regularly with the outside world. Joe still maintains an active brokerage team to keep his finger on the pulse of the real estate market as well as quite active contributor in the KW Commercial division.

His development efforts of the past 15 years have spanned TX, FL and NC. Most recently, his focus has been on land acquisition and entitlement in the high growth markets within the sunbelt states.

Joe, along with his wife Janine, live in Austin, Texas where they thoroughly enjoy their four grandchildren alongside his two adult children.  His passion outside the industry is sailing, wing shooting and racquetball in that order.

Gabe Marans

Executive Managing Director - Savills

Since joining Savills in 2008, Gabe has been an integral member of the firm’s New York office while negotiating lease transactions totaling over 4 million square feet. Among his repertoire of abilities, Gabe specializes in market expertise and research, space identification, deal structuring and negotiating, new business development and financial analysis and forecasting. From new leases and subleases to relocations and renewals, Gabe can also assist companies in a variety of transaction types. In addition to Gabe’s broad range of transaction experience and skills, his attention to detail and commitment to excellence are integral to his philosophy of client service.

Gabe initiated and led the brokerage team in completing MongoDB’s 63,722 square-foot headquarters relocation and subsequent expansions in the former New York Times building. In addition, Gabe has represented noteworthy companies across a number of industries throughout Manhattan including Rubenstein Associate’s 68,432 square-foot relocation to Worldwide Plaza, Pillsbury Winthrop’s 90,000 square-foot relocation to 31 West 52nd Street, Direct Brand’s 113,000 square-foot disposition at One Penn Plaza, Ralph Lauren’s 350,000 square-foot expansion at Starrett Lehigh Building, WisdomTree’s 37,923 square-foot relocation to 245 Park Avenue and Major League Baseball Players Association’s 21,762 square-foot early lease restructure at Tower 49.

Awards, Achievements and Activities

Along with his family, Gabe helped to establish The Judah Marans Memorial Fund in honor of his brother, which raises funds to create and maintain the Judah Marans Music and Art Center at Yavneh Academy. He also serves as chairman of the board of the NYU Bronfman Center and is active with UJA-Federation of New York.

In March 2015, Gabe was named the Real Estate Board of New York’s ‘Most Promising Commercial Salesperson of the Year’ – an award which recognizes current and potential professional achievement, as well as high moral character and ethical professional behavior. He is consistently recognized as an industry ‘Power Player’ by Commercial Observer and often provides thoughtful content as a featured columnist to multiple publications.

Aaron Kraus

Vice President – Market Development and Strategy - Nuveen Green Capital

Aaron has more than ten years of experience in the energy policy and markets space. Prior to Nuveen Green Capital, he was a Director of Policy and Electricity Markets for SolarCity, one of the largest solar and energy storage developers in North America. He led national policy activities for the Commercial and Industrial (C&I) segment of the market. He focused on legislative and regulatory activities while building broad coalitions of partners and stakeholders. In addition to federal, state and local government affairs matters, he worked on project diligence and market development.

Earlier in his career, he was a member of the energy practice of Booz Allen Hamilton, where he worked on third-party financing mechanisms for renewable and energy efficiency projects, natural gas procurement, and energy-related legislative and budget matters for the U.S. Department of Defense.

Aaron received his graduate degree from Johns Hopkins University and his undergraduate degree from the University of Maryland.

Krystyna Blakeslee

Partner in the Real Estate Department and Chair of the Real Estate Finance practice group - Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP

Krystyna M. Blakeslee is a partner in the Real Estate Department and Chair of the Real Estate Finance practice group, where she focuses on commercial real estate finance and investment. Ms. Blakeslee has been the lead lawyer on some of the country's largest and most high-profile commercial real estate transactions in recent years. She has particular concentrations in the origination, acquisition and disposition (including securitization and syndication) of mortgage loans, mezzanine financings and subordinate debt, post-closing modifications, restructurings and workouts and loan sales and purchases. Ms. Blakeslee has experience in representing domestic and foreign real estate companies, funds, and institutional lenders, investment banks, life insurance companies, commercial banks, loan servicers and investors across all asset classes. Ms. Blakeslee has experience with data centers, retail, office, hospitality, assisted living/nursing care and condominium properties, as well as construction financing, TIC structures and ground lease transactions. She is also experienced in handling joint venture investments and acquisitions of real estate assets, including hotels, and advises funds in connection with their investment and financing activities in real estate.

Ms. Blakeslee is ranked as a leading practitioner in the area of Real Estate Finance (New York) by Chambers USA (2022). She is also recognized by The Legal 500 U.S. (2022) and was ranked as a "Next Generation Partner." In 2021, Ms. Blakeslee was honored as a "Notable Veteran Executive" by Crain's New York, and in 2018 she was recognized as a "Working Mother of the Year" in the October/November issue of Working Mother.

Ms. Blakeslee previously served as a sergeant in the U.S. Marine Corps and also served in Iraq.


Will Hutton

Senior Director of Acquisitions - Nightingale Properties

Will Hutton is the Senior Director of Acquisitions at Nightingale Properties, a vertically integrated and institutional-grade real estate owner-operator. Nightingale pursues investments across the risk spectrum throughout the country on behalf of their institutional investment partners.

Will has been instrumental in Nightingale’s growth in recent years. Under the direction of Will, Nightingale has become the largest privately-owned landlord in Philadelphia, in addition to one of the largest buyers of office properties in the country and in New York City. In recent years, Will has been responsible for over $6.0 Billion of transactions at Nightingale and over $3.0 Billion in New York City. Will’s recognition includes the Commercial Observer’s Top Young Professionals, Crain’s Rising Stars in Real Estate, Commercial Property Executive’s Stars to Watch, and Connect Media’s Next Generation Honoree. Will is a  graduate of Cornell University, where he majored in Applied Economics & Management and received a minor in Real Estate.