CREW Network Recognizes Industry Leaders with 2016 Circle of Excellence and Impact Awards

October 21, 2016
Written by: Laura Lewis, CREW Network

Contact: Laura Lewis, CREW Network

NEW YORK – Commercial Real Estate Women (CREW) Network honored excellence and outstanding professionals in commercial real estate with the 2016 CREW Network Circle of Excellence and Impact Awards, presented October 20 and 21 at the annual CREW Network Convention and Marketplace.

Walmart Realty, a division of Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., was named recipient of the Circle of Excellence Award, CREW Network’s top honor, which recognizes individuals and companies who consistently deliver excellence, and whose efforts advance the commercial real estate industry and show support for the organization's mission. Inductees demonstrate excellence, integrity and innovation, and serve as thought leaders, change agents and champions of diversity.

Walmart Realty has been a strong and continuous sponsor of CREW Network’s Career Zone for the last 11 years. Walmart is steadfastly committed to women and diversity around the globe. In September 2011, Walmart launched its Global Women’s Economic Empowerment Initiative to improve women’s lives around the world. Since the launch, the Walmart Foundation and international businesses have contributed more than $122 million in grants for women’s workforce training, small business growth and development around the world.

Between FY2013 and FY2016, Walmart sourced a total of $16.46 billion from women-owned businesses. Women comprise 56 percent of Walmart’s 2.3 million associates and represent 43 percent of its U.S. management. Walmart has twice the number of female corporate officers (31 percent) as the Fortune 500 (15 percent). In addition, Walmart has more female board members (25 percent) than the S&P 500 average (19 percent).

Carl Crowe, Vice President of Construction Walmart, and Carole Baker, Senior Director of Construction, Walmart, accepted the award on behalf of Walmart Realty.

The Career Advancement for Women Impact Award honors a CREW Network member who consistently exemplifies the organization’s commitment to elevating the status of women in commercial real estate by working to advance the careers of other women. This award is presented to a member whose actions had a significant impact on one or more women, giving them the skills or confidence to pursue and succeed in new opportunities.

2016 Career Advancement for Women Impact Award Honorees

Jill Bosco, Managing Principal for Clifton Larson Allen, is currently mentoring nine women through her company’s formal coaching program; one woman in the CREW Network Certificate in Leadership program; and numerous others informally.

One of her mentees said: “I am one of dozens, if not hundreds, of women who feel Jill's unconditional support in the advancement of my professional and personal life. She pushed me as a young lawyer to make scary and challenging career moves, including asking for more compensation, and switching firms when the time was right.”

Since Bosco attended her first CREW Network convention in 2013, she has made the business case to her firm annually to send as many women as possible. This year, she secured the firm’s support to bring 15 of her colleagues to convention in New York City.

In addition, under Bosco’s leadership as chapter President in 2016, CREW Orlando has had its most successful year - in both sponsorship and member retention and outreach.

The second Career Advancement for Women honoree is the CREW Seattle and Sound Leadership Series Task Force, comprised of:

  • Kris Beason, CREW Seattle and Sound
  • Ginger Bryant, CREW San Francisco
  • Anne DeVoe Lawler, CREW Seattle and Sound
  • Lori Hill, CREW Seattle and Sound
  • Shawn Rush, CREW Network Member-at-Large
  • Angelia Wesch, CREW Seattle and Sound

The Leadership Series is an eight-month course comprised of highly-interactive sessions focusing on key leadership topics. The curriculum for the series was conceived and developed by the Task Force based on the unique challenges they have faced throughout their careers in commercial real estate. Each Task Force member contributes over 200 hours per year to keep the Leadership Series impactful and on track.

The results achieved and experiences shared among participants over the past three years have been astounding. Participants complete a development plan with ongoing support from a Task Force member, and progress, such as salary increases and promotions are tracked.

The Economic and Community Improvement Impact Award honors a CREW Network member or members who played a pivotal role in a real estate project that had a significant and measurable positive impact on the community.

2016 Economic and Community Improvement Impact Award Honorees

In July 2014, JLL’s Atlanta office won an assignment to lead Mercedes-Benz in their consideration of relocating their North American headquarters. After a visit in August, Atlanta made the short list, and in late October a two-day tour was scheduled – and the decision was made. A fast and furious sequence of negotiations flew through the holiday season and into the New Year. On January 5th, 2015, the temporary headquarters location was secured and the commitment was made to make 12 of the 76 acres in Sandy Springs Mercedes’ future permanent headquarters.

Combined, several CREW Atlanta members were integrally involved in the transaction from start to finish, from identification of property and opportunity to sale to title to zoning to acquisition.

Ellen Smith represented Mercedes-Benz in connection with zoning and land use entitlements. JLL brought Mercedes-Benz to Atlanta, and Shannon Price was on the relocation team that introduced them to their future home. Sandy Zayac represented the Fulton County Development Authority in the issuance of sale-lease back tax incentive bonds. Amanda Calloway handled title insurance in association with the transaction and issued policies to the Authority and to Mercedes-Benz. Lisa A. Crawford’s firm represented Ashton Atlanta Residential, LLC in connection with the negotiation of the purchase and sale agreement with the land seller. Aileen Almassy of Cushman & Wakefield represented the owner in a three-year lease with Mercedes-Benz for their temporary space.

Thought of as the biggest economic development victory since the relocation of UPS from Connecticut in 1991, and potentially the most significant in the city’s history, Mercedes-Benz USA’s commitment to Atlanta has affected the city in many ways. There have been hundreds of high-paying jobs created, more than $100 million in capital investments committed between two office locations, a housing boom around the headquarters site, and the 27-year naming rights deal for the iconic new home of the Falcons, Mercedes-Benz Stadium.

The Entrepreneurial Spirit Impact Award honors a CREW Network member who has achieved a unique career success or milestone as the result of taking a risk. The individual is willing to step outside of the box to create something new or different, and provide services, develop products, or improve practices by organizing, developing, or deploying available resources in an innovative way.

2016 Entrepreneurial Spirit Impact Award Honoree

Diane Butler has led her team to take the necessary risks to position Butler Burgher Group as one of the top five commercial real estate firms in the U.S. Since re-launching Butler Burgher Group in 2009, the company has rapidly grown into one of the leading national valuation, advisory and assessment firms, with 21 offices and over 200 employees, providing services in all 50 states.

As Chairman of BBG, Butler has spent the last two years taking major steps to position the company for its next stage of development. In 2014, she led BBG to acquire Leitner Group out of New York City, the second largest firm in the area. The affiliation allowed BBG to have a strong presence in the New York region, while providing Leitner Group with a national footprint. Then in 2015, Butler and her team completed a strategic recapitalization with Silver Oak Services Partners, providing the additional capital resources and expertise needed to continue building the company as one of the leading, independent appraisal firms in the market.

Her nominator, Teresa Giltner, said that Butler “leads BBG thoughtfully, strategically and with grace, and has taken BBG to a new level. BBG’s growth is phenomenal but also very intentional.”

Butler served as 2012 CREW Network President, is a CREW Network Foundation Woman of Vision, and currently serves as Chairman to the board of The Real Estate Council.

The Member-to-Member Business Impact Award honors a CREW Network member who exemplifies the power and spirit of CREW Network and consistently demonstrates an extraordinary commitment assembling member talent, resulting in measurable business for other CREW Network members.

2016 Member-to-Member Impact Award Honorees

The 2016 honorees have worked together over the past four years on four different apartment community developments in Jacksonville, Fla., totaling 1,058 units. Development costs of their two latest apartment projects totaled over $130 million. Through the collective efforts of Connie Menor, Executive Vice President of the development company, Perimeter Realty and Fort Family Investments, and Laura Gonzales, Senior Vice President of the lender, BBVA, these developments came to life.

As a result, Duval County, Florida, will gain over $2.3 million in annual real estate taxes and increased jobs directly related to these two apartment communities.

While the most recent project collaborations included a five-person CREW Jacksonville team, loyal relationships have continued to grow to foster future business growth opportunities. Gonzales, Menor, and their CREW partners are in the process of working on two future apartment developments.

About CREW Network

CREW Network is the industry's premier business networking organisation dedicated to advancing the achievements of women in commercial real estate. CREW Network members comprise more than 10,000 professionals worldwide and represent nearly all disciplines of commercial real estate – every type of expert required to "do the deal." Follow CREW Network on FacebookTwitterLinkedInYouTube and Instagram, and visit CREW Network at

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