Speakers & Panelists


Mary Ludgin, Senior Managing Director & Head of Global Research, Heitman

Mary LudginMary is Heitman’s Senior Managing Director, Head of Global Research and an equity owner of the firm. She is a member of the firm’s Board of Managers, Global Management Committee, North American Private Equity Valuation Committee, and Private Equity and Debt Investment Committees. She is the author of numerous articles and research studies relating to real estate markets, portfolio management and strategy. Prior to joining Heitman, she was an urban planner for the City of Chicago and she worked in retail site location.

Mary received an AB from Vassar College and an MA and PhD from Northwestern University. She is a Governing Trustee of the Urban Land Institute and sits on its Global Board of Directors. Mary also chairs ULI’s Chicago District Council. Among other professional affiliations, she served two terms on the board of the Pension Real Estate Association and was its president. Mary is also a former president of the National Council of Real Estate Investment Fiduciaries. She was named a fellow of the Homer Hoyt Institute in 2000, is a docent for the Chicago Architecture Foundation and is a member of the board of the Metropolitan Planning Council of Chicago.


Jason Geer, Managing Director, Head of Dispositions and Financing, Invesco Real Estate

GeerJason is a Managing Director and Head of Transaction Services for Invesco Real Estate (IRE). In this role, he directs the legal and contract administration functions, and his responsibilities include negotiation of legal agreements, such as purchase and sale contracts and loan documents. He also controls due diligence management, including legal, environmental and engineering assessments, acting as a liaison with legal counsel. Under his supervision, the Transaction Services team oversees project construction, ensuring conformance to client criteria and closing of investment transactions and final transition to the asset management group. Jason is currently a member of all three of IRE’s Investment Committees (equity, structured debt and financing). Previously, Jason served as Managing Director and Head of the Disposition, Financing and Legal team, where he oversaw the closing of more than $40 billion in transactions. During his tenure at IRE, Jason has also held the roles of director of underwriting, dispositions officer and acquisition analyst. He developed and implemented many of the financial/analytical modeling tools utilized by the underwriting and valuations groups. He has decades of real estate experience including debt and equity transactions for all major property types and investment strategies. Mr. Geer earned a BBA in real estate and finance from Southern Methodist University.

Josh Jeffers, President and CEO, J. Jeffers & Co.

JeffersJosh Jeffers founded J. Jeffers & Co. in 2012 with a goal of building a different kind of real estate firm.  One that embraces real estate development as a powerful vehicle for enhancing communities and creating value for both our investors and communities. Prior to forming the company, Josh worked in the private equity real estate industry, starting his career in the acquisitions department of Walton Street Capital in Chicago. Josh’s transactional experience includes over $1.4 billion of commercial real estate investments in U.S. and international markets, and spans office, retail, multifamily, industrial, hospitality, and mixed-use asset types.  Josh earned a Master's Degree in Public Policy from the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, and a BBA in Finance and Real Estate from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. 

Scott Marshall, President & Chief Development Officer, Hana (a CBRE company)

MarshallIn October 2018, CBRE launched Hana, a new flexible space offering designed to meet the needs of enterprise and high growth occupiers. Operated as a wholly-owned subsidiary of CBRE, Hana’s core offering is a plug-and-play flexible office solution that features occupier team suites (Hana Team), meeting and conference space (Hana Meet) and coworking space (Hana Share). Scott Marshall serves as Chief Development Officer & President for Hana, where he brings extensive experience in and insight into the evolving needs of real estate investors and occupiers. Prior to this new role, Scott’s career within CBRE has included numerous other executive and leadership positions, including serving as Americas President Investor Leasing, where he oversaw the service delivery of more than 800 CBRE professionals and nearly $40 billion in transactions in 2017. He also served as head of CBRE’s Industrial & Logistics Services business in the Americas, encompassing all aspects of CBRE’s supply chain and logistics business in the United States, Canada and Latin America, overseeing more than $30 billion in industrial transactions and nearly 400 million sq. ft. of U.S. industrial properties. Scott holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Business Administration from Bradley University. He is actively involved in industry and community organizations, including being a current member of the Society of Industrial and Office Properties (SIOR) and a past member of the Board of Directors of the National Associate of Industrial and Office Properties (NAIOP), Chicago Chapter. Scott currently serves on the Board of Directors of Mend A Heart and is a past board member of the March of Dimes, Chicago-Area.

Kim Liautaud, Managing Director, Head of US Commercial Real Estate, BMO Harris Bank NA

LiautaudKim joined the BMO Harris Bank CRE team in June 2012 as relationship lender on the private institutional lending team.  Most recently she held the role of team lead for the Chicago mid-market and institutional commercial real estate lending teams at BMO Harris Bank focused on providing construction, acquisition and bridge loans as well as corporate lines of credit and subscription lines to institutional sponsors nationwide. Prior to joining BMO Harris Bank, Ms. Liautaud worked at Merrill Lynch Capital in the commercial real estate group providing senior first mortgage debt and mezzanine debt to commercial real estate owners and developers, spent 13 years at Heller Financial, Inc. holding various positions within the institution including 10 years in commercial real estate.  Kim is a member of CREFC, and serves on the finance committee for SOS Children’s Village Illinois. She graduated from Illinois State University with a BS in accounting.

Kevin R. Smith, Instructor of Practice, Marquette University; retired Senior Managing Director, Head of Americas at PGIM Real Estate (Prudential Financial, Inc.)

SmithKevin is Instructor of Practice in Marquette University’s nationally-ranked real estate program, where he teaches the capstone real estate cases course. He retired in 2018 as managing director at PGIM Real Estate and Head of the Americas where he was responsible for the development and implementation of the strategy and oversight of PGIM Real Estate’s businesses in the United States and Latin America.

During his 36-year career with Prudential, Kevin also held roles as senior portfolio manager for PGIM Real Estate’s core equity and value-add funds, head of investment underwriting and operations for the U.S. Transactions group, and management of separate account portfolios for pension fund clients, as well as a series of smaller, closed-end funds.  

Kevin has a bachelor’s degree in economics and political science from Willamette University, and a master’s degree in city and regional planning from Harvard University.  He serves on several boards, including the Willamette University Board of Trustees and the Marquette University Center for Real Estate Advisory Board.

Michelle Panovich, Senior Partner and Principal, Mid-America Asset Management

PanovichMichelle is one of the Senior Partners with primary responsibility as one of the operating partners of Mid-America Asset Management, Inc. Michelle has over 35 years of real estate construction, development and management experience, with the last 33 years concentrated in the shopping center industry. Ms. Panovich is responsible for development services, client coordination, construction management, receivership services, property management and accounting for Mid-America Asset Management, Inc.

 Ms. Panovich holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Business from Davenport University; an Associate Degree in Art from Grand Rapids Junior College, is a member of the International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC) and Women in Retail Leasing (WIRL). Ms. Panovich also serves on the Marquette University Center for Real Estate Advisory Board (Chair 2019-present), the Marshall Bennett Institute of Real Estate at Roosevelt University in Chicago, Illinois, and the College of DuPage Foundation Board (past president).