Our industry offers an array of conferences to choose from, but not all shows are created equal.

For the past few months, the multifamily executive team has assembled an all-star lineup of speakers for our annual conference, Sept. 9–11, at the Bellagio in Las Vegas. And I’m extremely proud of not only who we’ve assembled, but also how we go about the task of doing the assembling.

Many of our competitors employ a “pay for play” model, where companies are charged if they want to place a speaker on a panel. I don’t want to name names, but even if I wanted to, it would be a long list: This business model is the rule, unfortunately, and not the ­exception.

What often ends up happening is one long advertisement—if a service provider is sponsoring a panel session and puts one of its people on the panel, guess what you’ll hear about for the next hour? It’s about as informative as those half-hour infomercials, like trying to learn about human physiology by watching a Bowflex commercial.

But we don’t play that way. We think it’s cynical, cheesy, and insulting to the audience—an unholy alliance of commercial interests overtaking sound judgment.

We think speakers should be selected based on what they have to say, not on how much they’ll pay to say it. So, if you haven’t already been to our show, I urge you to come this year and experience the difference.

One of the most compelling general sessions will be our CEO Roundtable, featuring six of the industry’s thought leaders: Pinnacle’s Rick Graf, UDR’s Tom Toomey, ACC’s Bill Bayless, MAA’s Eric Bolton, Riverstone’s Walt Smith, and Home Properties’ Ed ­Pettinella. This brain trust will discuss the biggest opportunities and threats facing the multifamily industry, with questions partly written by you (more on that later).

Another special session will be our Concept Community keynote, the culmination of a project focused on student housing. First, J Turner Research surveyed tens of thousands of students to find out their housing wants and needs. Next, that data were colored by our industry partners, American Campus Communities and Fountain Residential. Then, our architect partners, Humphreys & Partners and KTGY, used that data to render virtual student housing communities, which will be unveiled at this session along with the exclusive research.

We’ll also feature keynotes from tech visionary Kevin Slavin (check out his video at TED Talks) and noted housing economist Christopher Thornberg, who back in 2005 warned about an unsustainable single-family bubble to highly pessimistic crowds (I was in one, and he blew me away).

But it’s not just the general sessions—some of our break-out sessions (there are 15 in all) offer just as much star power.

For instance, “Premium Risks: Acquisitions in the Age of Ultra-low Cap Rates” includes Alan George, Equity Residential’s CIO; Wes Fuller, Greystar’s executive director of investments; and CityView president Sean Burton. Our GSE session features current Freddie Mac head John Cannon and past Freddie Mac head Mike May. Our data-mining session features Don Davidoff of D2 Demand Solutions; our ancillary-income panel offers Riverstone’s Gardner Rees; and our green panel has Alliance Residential’s COO, Brad Cribbins. These are just some of the more than 90 confirmed speakers (check out the full list at www.mfeconference.com).

Finally, as mentioned, I’m hoping to “crowdsource” many of the questions I’ll ask our CEO roundtable, and I need your help. Have a question you’d like one or all of them to answer? Shoot me an e-mail at jascierto@hanleywood.com, or contact us on Twitter by searching for #MFEC. MFE