Read, Watch, Listen & Act: Filipino American History Month 2023
Join ULI San Francisco as we celebrate the experiences and contributions of Filipino Americans in October.
Get to know some of the ULI San Francisco members who work hard behind the scenes to develop the events and initiatives for which our District Council is known. These industry leaders come from a variety of real estate land use sectors and lend their expertise and time to drive the work of our committees. We’ve asked these committee co-chairs to answer questions about their involvement with ULI San Francisco.
Ken Kecskes, NEXT Vice Chair
Partner | K&L Gates LLP
Q: How did you first get involved with ULI and your committee?
I joined NEXT because of its cohort program. Cohorts are groups of 10-12 professionals that meet once a month for a year for site tours, deep dives into a particular issue, and social connection. It’s a great model for establishing deeper relationships in San Francisco’s real estate community. Similarly, I pursued membership on a national product council to build long term relationships with decision-makers in the development and financing of mixed-use and master planned communities.
Q: What’s a memorable connection you’ve made through ULI?
The many friendships I’ve made through the NEXT cohort program have made me feel more connected to our real estate community. I led a NEXT cohort through the pandemic and that group – we called ourselves “The Pandemic Crew” – got creative about meeting in person when that was not an easy thing to do. We would meet outside on the Presidio lawn with our beach chairs in a socially distanced circle just so that we could remain connected. That dedicated spirit to our people is a hallmark of NEXT and I won’t forget it.
Q: What keeps you engaged with ULI SF and what are you most excited about in the near future?
The amazing people keep me engaged with ULI SF. The professionals in our real estate community lead the nation in their respective fields. I learn so much from them, professionally and personally. As for the future, I am excited about the impact ULI SF can have in raising awareness of how hard the business community here works to balance the needs of all of the various stakeholders and make the Bay Area the leading place to work, innovate, and raise a family.
Q: What do you hope to accomplish in the next year?
I have been a champion for increasing diversity in NEXT cohorts and my product council. I want to continue to work hard on this. We need more thoughtful, experienced and resourceful leaders from diverse communities who can bring perspectives we might not immediately appreciate. It’s also very important to balance providing excellent content with opportunities for people to authentically connect in a social setting. In my view, what keeps people invested in ULI for the long term is the professional and personal relationships that are formed through quality time together.
Q: What’s your leadership philosophy/style?
I am a real estate transactional and land use lawyer. That background has stressed the importance of defining objectives, understanding how to pursue the big picture without losing sight of key details, and working with people to achieve a common goal. When in a leadership role, I feel it is also essential to establish a welcoming environment for communication among team members, to work hard to achieve consensus, and then to follow through with execution that relentlessly and resourcefully pursues excellence – whether it is outstanding content with compelling take-aways or it is intentionally pursuing memorable relationship formation opportunities.
Q: Outside of work and ULI, what do you enjoy doing?
I’ve completed both sprint and Olympic distance triathlons recently. I decided to pursue triathlons because it makes cycling and mountain biking with friends easier, I like to run when I travel, and I feel more confident when I am swimming in a lake and surfing in the ocean.
Q: What’s at the top of your ‘bucket list’?
To find time to play guitar again, and to play in a band in a small club in New Orleans or Nashville. I know some very talented folks in our Bay Area real estate community that I would recruit to join me!