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Best Minds: Special Episode – RCLCO + CEL Compensation Advisors: Talent Management in Today’s Economic Environment

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November 9, 2023 Podcast Talent Retention

How can you grow and foster talent within real estate organizations?

RCLCO announced its partnership with CEL Compensation Advisors, LLC to expand and enhance its industry-leading talent management practice, building on the CEL annual Real Estate Compensation & Benefits Survey and its compensation consulting practice.

In this special episode of Conversations with the Best Minds in Real Estate, listen to the recent webinar where leaders of the new partnership, Eric Willett, Adam Ducker, Ellen Klasson, and Jim Wright, discussed challenges real estate companies are facing today regarding talent management, trends in employee and executive compensation, and answered questions from the audience.


“…the two top of mind issues for people managing real estate organizations for 2024…will be optimizing NOI at the property level and maximizing talent within the organization.”

– Adam Ducker speaking on the broad consensus of topics raised that management in real estate organization have for the coming year


“The importance of talent development is going to become particularly more acute and it’s really exacerbated by all these shifts in how we work.”

– Eric Willett’s observation on talent expectations


View the full webinar and access the slide deck by logging into your RCLCO web portal account, or by filling out the form to the right of the webinar page and following the “watch” link that appears.


About Eric Willett, Managing Director, Management Consulting

Eric Willett is the Managing Director of RCLCO’s management consulting practice. Eric works with a wide variety of market-leading firms throughout the real estate industry to craft and execute organizational strategy, portfolio transformation, and corporate growth initiatives. Eric brings extensive experience in strategic planning and organizational improvement to projects that interface with client teams at all points in the development lifecycle. His collaboration with executive teams has resulted in transformational strategies for real estate companies across all industry sectors and a range of global markets.

More broadly, Eric regularly contributes innovative client-focused research and solutions across industry topics including risk management, alternative investment structures, and evolving consumer demographics. He is a frequent speaker and panelist at industry events and is regularly cited as a commercial real estate expert by national and regional media including The Los Angeles Times, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, and others. In addition, Eric is adjunct professor of Business Economics at the University of Southern California Marshall School of Business where he leads a course on commercial real estate strategy.

Eric previously worked as the Director of Research and Thought Leadership at CBRE, where he oversaw the delivery of forward-looking insights spanning all major property sectors. Eric graduated magna cum laude from Yale University with a Bachelor of Arts in Economics.

About Adam Ducker, CEO

Adam Ducker is Chief Executive Officer of RCLCO and oversees the firm’s Real Estate Economics and Management Consulting Practices. Adam joined RCLCO in the mid-1990s as an associate directly after graduate school and learned the trade with the firm. He is a recognized expert in strategic planning for real estate companies, investment analysis, market and financial analysis, and marketing of real estate assets. He has particular depth of expertise in high-density housing, retail/entertainment, and hotel development.

Adam is a member of the Executive Committee of RCLCO, which manages shared resources and oversees overall company strategy. He also sits on the board of the RCLCO Foundation.

Adam is a frequent speaker on topics ranging from place-making, urban redevelopment, retail trends, and in-town housing. His writing has been widely published and quoted in publications such as The New York TimesThe Wall Street JournalUrban LandReal Assets, among others. He is an active member of the Urban Land Institute (ULI), vice chair of the Redevelopment and Reuse Council, and a board member of the Terwilliger Center for Housing. A native of the New York metropolitan area, Adam received Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees from Columbia University.


About Ellen Klasson, Managing Director, Executive Search

Ellen Klasson is a Managing Director in RCLCO’s Management Consulting practice, working out of the Washington, DC office. Ellen leads executive search engagements for leadership roles at development, investment, and land use companies across all asset classes. Ellen’s consultative nature has enabled her to identify and attract talent for both traditional and nuanced roles, and her deep understanding of the business lends itself to a more analytical approach of a candidate’s viability. Working for twenty years in the real estate industry has allowed Ellen to forge long-lasting relationships with and earn the trust of both clients and candidates.

Before joining RCLCO, Ellen spent five years as a Managing Director at Terra Search Partners, a national boutique executive search firm focused exclusively on the real estate industry. Previously she worked at the Urban Land Institute as the Senior Director of Leadership, overseeing the leadership programs for the organization’s 40,000 members worldwide. Prior to joining ULI, Ellen co-directed CohnReznick’s Real Estate Development Advisory practice, analyzing real estate opportunities for developers and municipalities. She is also a former Vice President of Economic Development at Central Atlanta Progress, where she attracted new investment into Downtown Atlanta. She began her career consulting to developers while a project manager at RCLCO.

Ellen continues to be actively involved with the Urban Land Institute. She is the Past Chair of the Americas of its Women’s Leadership Initiative and now serves as Governance Chair. She is also DEI Chair of the Urban Revitalization Council (Gold Flight) and a Management Committee member of ULI Washington. She volunteers with UrbanPlan, a program for high school and college students that introduces them to the complex trade-offs of real estate development.

Ellen earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from Emory University and a Master of City & Regional Planning from the Georgia Institute of Technology.


About Jim Wright, Managing Director, Compensation Consulting

As Managing Partner – CEL Compensation Advisors, Jim Wright brings over 35 years of experience in all sectors of the real estate industry stemming from an Executive career encompassing engineering, finance, management consulting, financial restructuring, project management, and business development in private and public sector environments.  Mr. Wright has provided insightful and valuable management counsel to corporate CEOs, Senior Management, Boards of Directors, Investors, Advisors and their intermediaries.

Jim has particular expertise and is a nationally known leader in the area of executive compensation program design, plan structuring, market benchmarking, and policy for the real estate industry.  Mr. Wright works with Compensation Committees, Boards of Directors, CEOs and Senior Management on a variety of compensation, performance, management, and governance related issues.  His career has involved assignments with over 300 clients including public/private REITs, national/regional development companies, investment management firms, private equity funds, national/global brokerage/service firms, and advisors in all sectors of commercial and residential real estate.

Jim has proven strategic, analytical, operational, organizational and management skills in creating, directing and implementing successful business solutions to challenging and complex company issues.  Jim has an MBA from Case Western Reserve University; an MA (Economics) from the State University of New York; and a BS from Bradley University.  Jim is the author of articles published in Real Estate Portfolio, Boards & Directors, Real Estate Review, Urban Land, Units, and other real estate publications.



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