CRE Midwest

Sam Zell and Debra Cafaro to headline Commercial Real Estate Forecast

Chicago-based real estate icon Sam Zell, chairman of Equity Group Investments, and Debra Cafaro, chief executive officer, Ventas, Inc. will be the headline speakers on January 24, 2012 at the 10th Annual Commercial Real Estate Conference. The event is produced by Illinois Real Estate Journal and the Real Estate Publishing Group, and will be held at the Chicago Marriott Downtown.

Chicago-based real estate icon Sam Zell, chairman of Equity Group Investments, and Debra Cafaro, chief executive officer, Ventas, Inc. will be the headline speakers on January 24, 2012 at the 10th Annual Commercial Real Estate Conference. The event is produced by Illinois Real Estate Journal and the Real Estate Publishing Group, and will be held at the Chicago Marriott Downtown.

“It’s a milestone year for the conference, and there is no better way to celebrate 10 years of the conference than by having Sam Zell and Deb Cafaro as a key part of the program,” said Mark Menzies, publisher, Real Estate Publishing Group.

Zell and Cafaro will open the conference with a “fireside chat”, discussing the state of the commercial real estate and finance markets in Chicago, the US and across the globe

“We expect a conversation that will be both entertaining and enlightening,” said Menzies.

Illinois Real Estate Journal and the Real Estate Publishing Group have been producing the annual forecast event since 2002. In addition to the headline fireside chat between Zell and Cafaro the conference will feature three general session panels and a series of concurrent breakout sessions. The three general sessions will include a state of the market panel, a legal issues impacting real estate panel and a commercial real estate lending/capital markets panel. The concurrent sessions will cover the specialty markets are likely to include panels on the suburban and downtown office, industrial, retail/hospitality and investment markets.

Organizers expect to have more than 50 speakers as part of the program. The conference begins at 7 am with registration, networking and a continental breakfast. The fireside chat with Zell and Cafaro is expected to run from 8:15 to 9:00 am.

Sam Zell is chairman of Equity Group Investments LLC (EGI), the private, entrepreneurial investment firm he founded more than 40 years ago. Mr. Zell’s investments span industries and continents, and include interests in real estate, energy, logistics, transportation, media, and health care, among others.

He is recognized as a founding father of today’s public real estate industry after creating three of the largest real estate investment trusts (REITs) in history.

A native Chicagoan, Mr. Zell holds a bachelor's degree and a J.D. from the University of Michigan. He began his career in real estate as an undergraduate at the University by managing apartment buildings throughout Southeast Michigan. Mr. Zell is an avid skier, racquetball player and enjoys riding motorcycles. He is a frequent contributor of articles to various publications, and is often heard as a keynote speaker throughout the United States and Europe.

Debra Cafaro has served as CEO of Ventas since 1999 and as Chairman of the Board of Directors since 2003. In 2011, Ms. Cafaro was named one of the Top 25 Women in Healthcare by Modern Healthcare and one of the Women to Watch by Crain's Chicago Business.  She was also voted to Institutional Investor's "2011 All-American Executive Team." In 2010, Forbes named Ms. Cafaro one of the ten "Best CEOs."

Ventas has acquired $11 billion in assets within the last year, taking its total to more than $20 billion. Under her leadership, Ventas had the distinction of being the best-performing publically traded company of the past decade by earning a 2000 percent shareholder return in that period.