By  on May 7, 2007

Bill Clinton headlined the International Council of Shopping Centers conference in Las Vegas last May, giving a far-reaching speech that touched on the economy and went far beyond.

The former president also spoke about global warming, philanthropy and his experience raising money for victims of the 2004 Asian tsunami, which underscored the theme of individuals being able to make a difference. He clearly hit a nerve.

The best guest speakers sometimes are individuals with a depth of knowledge and experience in real estate development. Another case in point from last year's convention is Steve Wynn, president and chief executive officer of Wynn Resorts. Wynn, who talked about the early days of his career that led to the development of the Mirage. He held the audience rapt as he discussed his attention to the tiniest details when building the Wynn Las Vegas.

The ICSC conference from May 20 to 23 in Las Vegas will feature a mix of speakers, both outsiders and industry veterans. They include Tour de France champion Lance Armstrong, entertainer Ray Romano, veteran ABC News Washington correspondent Sam Donaldson and Terry Lundgren, chairman, president and ceo of Federated Department Stores.

Armstrong's address promises to be inspirational. The cyclist won the Tour de France a record seven consecutive times, from 1999 to 2005. This was accomplished after he was diagnosed in 1996 with brain and testicular cancer and underwent surgery and extensive chemotherapy.

Armstrong knows a thing or two about marketing. With Nike, he founded the Lance Armstrong Foundation in 1997. The charity's yellow rubber "Livestrong" wristbands, introduced in 2004, have been a major success, raising millions of dollars for the fight against cancer. The bracelets also spawned a fleeting fashion trend where young people wore stacks of bands on their wrists.

Romano, who starred on the CBS hit sitcom "Everybody Loves Raymond," will perform at a private dinner on Sunday to celebrate the ICSC's 50th anniversary. The dinner will benefit the ICSC Educational Foundation. A glimpse of Romano's humor can be seen on a promotional video on the ICSC Web site.

The self-professed mall rat said that he and his friend, John, "loved going on shopping sprees as teenagers. We had a great relationship with the shopping center staff. In fact they helped me train for track." Romano says this as the video shows two young kids running through a mall. "To this day, whenever I'm on the road I always stop at a shopping center no matter where I am. I can never tell how to get these things off," he says, tugging at a security tag.

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