Ian Ritter is online content manager at GRS Group

Ian Ritter is online content manager at GRS Group

Lots of networking, interesting booths and major deals take place at the International Council of Shopping Centers’ RECon show every year in Las Vegas. It’s right around the corner now, from May 22nd to the 25th.

With so much going on, not to mention evening networking events, it is easy to forget that there are several educational sessions that are extremely worthwhile.

The meat of these events starts on Sunday, the 22nd.

Some keynote speakers aren’t all that relevant to an event’s industry and are there more to gain celebrity traffic. But former NBA star Magic Johnson is speaking at 1 p.m. that day. A lot of former athletes are very savvy real estate investors, and he is one of them. His venture, Canyon-Johnson Urban Funds, has pretty much defined success in urban real estate.

A lot of people think that online e-tailers are destroying the brick-and-mortar retail industry. But the CEO of Zappo’s, Tony Hsieh, is speaking at the event later that day. One of the most popular online retailers around trying to revitalize downtown Las Vegas with its new headquarters. His perspective will be very interesting, and there is a happy hour that will include a tour of the work Zappo’s is doing, at 4:30 p.m.!

Monday is the start of #ICSCLive!, which is when Jesse Tron, the great communications director at ICSC, will be interviewing some of the biggest names of retail real estate, such as Joe Cosenza, the vice chairman and president of Inland Real Estate Acquisitions, which has significant retail holdings. These will take place in the Las Vegas Convention Center lobby throughout the next two days.

Another great Monday event is sure to be “The Future of Retail,” which starts at 4:30 p.m., in the Westgate Hotel. This will have some of the most creative retail real estates executives, as well as some pretty significant tenants, speaking about how the industry will shape up in the future.

There are some interesting events on Tuesday, too. At 9 a.m., in the Westgate Hotel, there will be a session on “How to Optimize Revenue Through Destination and Tourism.” Speakers will discuss the pluses of non-traditional retail venues not anchored by a grocery store, or a big-box tenant.

Later that morning, at 11 a.m., there will be some interesting information about how leasing are calculated. Called “A Closer Look at Leasing Financials: The Numbers Behind the Deal,” it will show the ramifications of how transactions are executed.

Finally, on Wednesday, which can be a bit slower at RECon than the previous days, there are three sessions that start at 10 a.m. for the next couple hours that zero in on career advice for retail real estate professionals, such as what veterans of the industry would do differently in hindsight, time-management skills and resume and interview coaching.

It can be hard to focus at RECon, not to mention the fact that it’s hard to focus on ANYTHING in Las Vegas that clearly, but there are several great educational sessions that can give one a good understanding of the retail real estate sector: You can look at the full RECon agenda here.