By: Frank Futia
On Thursday, January 12th ULI New York’s Young Leaders Group had the honor of welcoming Deputy Mayor Alicia Glen for a Secrets of Success program. The event set the stage for what will be a year filled with more diverse programming, drawing from all corners of the industry.
Hosted by Silverstein Properties, the event overlooked a revitalized World Trade Center site with inspirational views befitting Glen’s motivating discussion of what makes New York a successful beacon for other cities, and her own secrets of success.
On how to be successful, Glen suggested ULI’s Young Leaders not look at their career as being a single linear lane but rather a highway. While Jane Jacobs might not approve of Glen’s metaphor, Glen considers her career path, which included a diverse range of jobs at Brooklyn Legal Aide, Goldman Sachs and posts in the Giuliani and de Blasio administrations, to be different lanes part of the same highway, all using housing to advance the city. When making career moves or shifting lanes, Glen recommends taking risks; but when choosing your next job, be sure to look at who your boss will be. Young Leaders should look to “work for the smartest person you can find” and to “work for somebody who inspires you.”
A lifelong New Yorker, Glen began her discussion with the popular John Updike quote: “The true New Yorker secretly believes that people living anywhere else have to be, in some sense, kidding.” And it is with this belief that New York is a beacon to other cities. Glen devotes her work to “continuing to improve the greatest city on earth” – and to do so, she uses her not-so-secret key principles for progressive change and building a successful city.
Affordable housing is certainly “the first thing Alicia thinks about in the morning;” with the issue of affordability key to keeping the city creative and diverse. Or as Glen likes to call it New York’s “secret sauce” and what keeps people and jobs coming here.
During the program Glen also touched on the other ingredients in her “secret sauce” which included: Growing and diversifying the economy by supporting small businesses, the technology sector, and increasing private sector employment. Reducing the city’s crime rate and embracing its history of diversity and culture. Improving education by raising test scores and implementing Mayor de Blasio’s universal pre-k initiative. As well as using smart zoning principles to incite development across the city, whether it be affordable housing in East New York or commercial office in Midtown East.
Special thanks to Lauren Racusin for organizing and to Deputy Mayor Glen for sharing her secrets of success.