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Jeffrey F. DiModica, CFA, has been the company's President since 2014 and served as an external director of the Company from its inception in 2009 to July 2014. In his current role he leads and serves as a member of the investment committee of each of the company's business lines including Large Loan Lending, Residential Lending, Infrastructure Lending, Property Investing and Investing & Serving which have a collective $28 billion of assets under management.

Jeffrey DiModica | President & Managing Director, Starwood Property Trust

Everything a CIA operative knows about deception, you should know too. Pamela Meyer is on a mission to help people take back the truth. Pamela’s TED talk, “How to Spot a Liar,” is a worldwide sensation. With over 30 million views and translated into more than 40 languages, it is the 13th most-watched TED talk of all time. The talk is based on her bestselling book, Liespotting: Proven Techniques to Detect Deception. The stunning popularity of Pamela’s TED talk and book are solid testimony to the relevance and timeliness of her valuable work. Deception is serious business. According to studies by several different researchers, most of us encounter nearly 200 lies a day. It happens in person, on the phone, in email. It happens when buying, negotiating, interviewing, and interacting with colleagues, vendors, customers, friends, family, and others. In this environment it’s important to be equipped with the skills to protect yourself in your daily business and personal encounters.

Keynote Topic: How to Spot a Liar and get to the Truth: Through a unique exploration of cues—both spoken and unspoken—and a breakdown of politicians and celebrities lying on camera, Pamela will show you how to spot deceit, elicit hidden information and build trust in a post-truth high tech world.

Pamela Meyer | Founder, Calibrate, Inc


Don Tepman (StripMallGuy) | President and Founder, TownCentre Capital 

Don Tepman runs TownCentreCapital, a real estate fund which focuses on buying neighborhood strip centers throughout the United States, and also runs the 'StripMallGuy' account on X and LinkedIn.  Mr. Tepman started his career in 2002, and led his first strip center purchase in 2006.  He has completed 38 purchases, and raised over $150M in LP capital.  Now based in New York City, Mr. Tepman graduated from Santa Clara University with a Finance degree, and grew up in Cupertino, CA.

Workshop topic: Unlocking Social Media's Massive Untapped Strategic Potential For Business Growth. In 2021, nineteen years into his real estate career, Don created a social media brand. He will discuss the unexpected ways that social media has transformed his entire business since, the new heights his business has reached as a result, as well as social media's role as a deal-sourcing, recruiting, and capital tool. He will share ways any entrepreneur or business (large or small) can utilize social media to create tremendous value and gain an edge over the competition.

Mr. Drachman is Co-Founder and Head of Capital Markets for Waterford.  Since starting his predecessor firm, Stillwater Investment Group, in 2014, Mr. Drachman has acquired and been a partner in over $2.8 billion of office, retail, and apartment assets in Southern California. To acquire these assets, Mr. Drachman has created and developed joint venture partnerships with a variety of different capital sources including high net-worth private investors, family offices, and institutional equity funds while leveraging his strong relationships within the brokerage community to source opportunities. Previously, Mr. Drachman was a Vice President with Greenlaw Partners in Orange County, where he led the acquisitions and asset management efforts on a portfolio of commercial real estate assets throughout Southern California and Arizona.

Workshop Topic: How To Have A Successful Career In CRE: This workshop will cover the skills and mindset needed to achieve a lucrative CRE career, the process of approaching joint ventures and how CRE professionals can navigate cycles and the current climate.

John Drachman | Co-Founder & Head of Capital Markets, Waterford

James Nelson leads a group of three dozen professionals in the sale of multi-family, office, development and retail properties. Avison Young is a full service global real estate firm with 5,000 real estate professionals located in 120 offices in 20 countries. Throughout his close to 25-year career, James has been involved in the sale of approximately 500 property and loan sales for an aggregate value of over $5 billion dollars. James is passionate about real estate and helping others achieve success. Whether through his podcast or upcoming book entitled The Insider’s Edge To Real Estate Investing, videos, or blog, he advises on how to navigate and stay on top of this ever-changing market. James is on the boards of REBNY, Counselors of Real Estate, SparkYouth NYC and formerly YM/WREA. He is also a co-founder of the Real Estate Services Alliance (RESA) and the Colgate Real Estate Council. His greatest joy is spending time with his wife Allison and three sons Luke, Austin, and TJ either at home in Connecticut, up on the Cape, or travelling to their water polo tournaments on the West Coast. 

Workshop Topic: The Insider’s Edge to Real Estate Investing: James will share the themes within his new book; from how to build a strong network to get the inside scoop on deals and raising capital and closing the deal to reimagining spaces and their uses to make outsized returns.

James Nelson | Principal & Head of Tri-State Investment Sales, Avison Young

With more than 35 years of leadership experience in commercial real estate, Mitchell Schear ran two of Washington’s most influential real estate companies owning and developing some of the most iconic office and residential projects in DC. Today, Mitchell has turned his focus to PropTech, the dynamic intersection of the burgeoning new creative/tech sector and traditional brick and mortar. From 2019 - 2023 Mitchell was an Executive Partner at Camber Creek, effectively combining his passion for PropTech with his wealth of commercial real estate experience. Camber Creek is the longest standing real estate technology venture capital firm. From 2003 until 2017, Mitchell was President of Vornado/Charles E. Smith, the DC division of Vornado Realty Trust, a $20 billion real estate investment trust. From 2017 – 2020, Mitchell served as a board member for JBG SMITH, a successor company and the largest real estate company in the Washington metropolitan area. 

Workshop 1 Topic: How Proptech Is Reshaping The CRE Industry Attendees will learn how CRE is adapting to the presence of proptech and what proptech actually will have a real ROI. 
Workshop 2 Topic: Mitchell will discuss what it really takes to be a leader and ascend the corporate rankings, the lessons and takeaways from his experiences with overseeing public and private firms of varying sizes, dealing with different types of management and lessons learned from his 30+ year career in CRE.

Mitchell Schear | Former President of Vornado/Charles E. Smith

Learn more about the other brands in our executive retreat series

Simon serves as president of Ackman-Ziff, a position he assumed in 1995. Since joining the firm as an analyst in 1989, Simon has overseen the firm’s arranging of over $80 billion of debt, mezzanine and equity financings for some of the nations most sophisticated and prestigious real estate owners and developers while solidifying the firm’s relationships with key capital sources. Simon has engineered the firm’s collaborative culture which functions as a magnet for talent. He has directed its evolution as an industry thought-leader.

Simon Ziff will lead an interactive discussion with attendees, connecting sponsors directly with capital providers while helping refine their pitches as well as a workshop. Family Real Estate Businesses: A discussion around issues facing family real estate businesses from both a family and non-family member perspective

Simon Ziff | President and Co-Founder, Ackman-Ziff Real Estate Group

Kelly Sewell Nagel is the head of residential for EDENS, a leading national owner, developer, and steward of more than 100 open-air retail and mixed-use places in high- growth markets coast to coast. Prior to joining EDENS, Kelly was the founder and managing partner of Residy, a multifamily investment management platform, and was responsible for acquisitions and asset management of the venture’s investment portfolio. She has broad experience in multifamily operations, development, and investments in both publicly traded REITs and privately held firms and has developed and asset managed thousands of apartment units. Before founding Residy, she built and oversaw the multifamily platform and portfolio for a Philadelphia-based real estate private equity fund manager, managing acquisitions, dispositions, financings, redevelopment and capital expenditures, asset and property management. 

Workshop topic: Translating Excel Into The Real World: The Real-Life Implications Of Your Underwriting: Kelly will discuss the potential real-world impact of making alterations to valuations while underwriting, as well as how the design, construction and management of master-planned communities exist at the crossroads of multifamily, retail and mixed-use spaces.

Kelly Nagel | Head of Residential, EDENS

Bob Knakal has been a broker in NYC since 1984. Over that time, he has brokered the sale of over 2,329 buildings having a market value of approximately $22 billion. For 26 years of those years (1988-2014), he owned and ran Massey Knakal Realty Services which sold more than 3x the number of properties as the #2 firm in NYC from 2001-2014. Running the firm with a Servant Leadership management style, focusing on empowering everyone on the team, intensely training them and building their self-esteem, led to this overwhelmingly dominant platform. The firm was sold to Cushman & Wakefield in 2014 for $100 million. The Massey Knakal Legacy is illustrated by the fact that today in the New York City investment sales market, there are 29 companies, or divisions of companies, that are either owned by, or run by, folks who learned the business at Massey Knakal. Bob is a prominent thought leader in the commercial real estate business, frequently writing about the market, lecturing on the market and appearing podcasts and national television shows on networks like Fox, CNBC and MSNBC.

Workshop topic: How an Investor can Become the Preferred Call for Brokers in their Market. Bob will share his 40 years of experience and lessons learned closing over 2,320 investment sales deals in NYC to discuss the things he has seen investors do over the years to ingratiate themselves with brokers and become the “go-to” buyer and, conversely, the things that make them the “buyer of last resort”. He will also share tips for young investors and young brokers to put themselves in the best possible position to succeed.

Bob Knakal | NYC Investment Sales Legend
More speakers to be announced soon

Anna Wong is the Chief U.S. Economist for Bloomberg Economics. Before that she had worked at Federal Reserve Board, White House Council of Economics Advisers, and U.S. Treasury. She received her PhD in Economics from University of Chicago, and is currently based in Washington DC.

Anna Wong | Chief US Economist, Bloomberg 
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