ULI Chicago News

Young Leaders Gain Insights from Industry Icon, Gene Golub

On Thursday, July 10, forty-five young professionals gathered to meet and interact with Mr. Gene Golub, founder and Chairman of Golub & Company, at an informal and lively event which was part of the Leadership Series hosted by ULI Chicago Young Leaders.

The format for the evening was conversational so attendees were invited and encouraged to ask questions and engage in active dialogue.

Mr. Golub responded quickly to the first question of the night, “If you had $500,000 today, how would you rebuild your portfolio?”.  With a laugh, he said “Nothing!  That’s not enough to do anything.”  In all seriousness, he mentioned how the industry has become a very high end business that necessitates substantial dollars for these deals, requiring various partners.  When Gene first began in the industry, he was able to obtain mortgages for 95% of cost…that’s just not how things are today.

Mr. Golub’s quick wit, genuine passion for real estate and extensive breadth of experience, all became apparent at the onset of the evening and throughout the night’s dynamic discussions.

Gene offered insight on reaching career goals and shared how he got his start “by desire…something that’s within an individual and cannot be taught.” Mr. Golub encouraged Young Leaders to “focus on narrowing and to aim to do something you understand and are good at…if you try to do everything, you won’t be successful.  It’s easy to be all over the map, but you need to concentrate on one thing, big or small.”

Gene gave advice from the heart, not from statistics, and provided tidbits on real life experiences and lessons.  When asked what his greatest accomplishment has been, Gene candidly answered, “My greatest accomplishment is still being here and being an involved player…I wouldn’t change anything.”

Takeaways from the ULI Chicago YL Leadership Series event included group and one-on-one interactions with Mr. Golub, who, despite his multitude of accomplishments and 50 plus years in the business, remains approachable.  Mr. Golub left attendees with laughs, a sense of hope, renewed passion and excitement to continue exploring this dynamic industry of commercial real estate.

Authored by Christine Choi, John Hancock Real Estate
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