Some 200 young retail real estate executives came to Toronto last week for ICSC’s annual NextGen Conference. Among the highlights of this year’s event was the announcement of ICSC’s 4 Under 40, a group of rising stars chosen to represent the best of the industry’s young talent.
This year’s honorees were Jay Drexler, national vice president of leasing, Oxford Properties Group; Jeff Preston, managing director, North American Development Group; Lee Schaffler, executive director, J.P. Morgan Asset Management; and Rachel Wein, founder and president, WeinPlus.
“Our committee is thrilled and excited to continue the legacy of 4 Under 40 with a very bright and talented group of men and women who are proven leaders from a variety of backgrounds, including leasing, asset management, development and consulting,” said Whitaker Leonhardt, chairman of the ICSC Next Generation Leadership Board and a senior director in the Orlando, Fla., office of commercial real estate brokerage HFF. “This award means that these four individuals are regarded by their peers as leaders within the retail real estate industry — not only for their professional accomplishments, but also for their outstanding reputation and contributions to the industry through ICSC volunteering or mentoring or other ways of giving back.”
Wein, for one, is a model of the enthusiasm among today’s young professionals. Her passion for retail real estate is palpable. “I like that it has such a big impact on our economy and that we work not only on the physical real estate side but [also] with retailers that are really robust, and many of them [are] on the forefront of change in the rapidly changing consumer economy,” Wein said. “I have always felt a kinship with retail. It helps that I am [a member of] the target demographic for most of these retailers too.”
Clearly, whatever the future may hold, Wein appears to be eager to make a significant mark. “I want to contribute to a team that is pushing our industry forward,” she said. “I think of things in terms of people, process and systems. If you can get those three things right, there is really no limit to what you can do. And I do think that there is a lot of change yet to come.”
Look for in-depth profiles of each of this year’s 4 Under 40 honorees in the September issue of SCT.