Winter Leadership Summit Focused on Impactful Chapter Leadership and Igniting Brilliance in Communication

February 2, 2016
Written by: CREW Network

Attendees were greeted with sunny skies and spicy salsa as they gathered in San Antonio for the 2016 CREW Network Winter Leadership Summit, held Jan. 28-29 at the San Antonio Marriott Riverwalk. More than 260 leaders from CREW Network's 72 chapters across the United States and Canada participated, making it the largest Winter Leadership Summit gathering to date.

Hosted by CREW San Antonio, the event featured a full program of chapter best practices and knowledge exchange, updates on CREW Network initiatives, a dynamic leadership training, and multiple networking opportunities.

In her welcome to the group, CREW San Antonio President Cheryl Pyle thanked CREW Network for providing an affordable opportunity for members to gather for valuable networking and leadership development. CREW Network Leadership Summits and the CREW Network Convention and Marketplace are made possible by the support of CREW Network sponsors, who underwrite 50 percent of the attendee event cost.

Chapter Leadership Circle sponsors are also key supporters of CREW Network Leadership Summits and the annual Distinguished Leaders Roundtable, a thought-provoking, exclusive event held at the CREW Network Convention and Marketplace featuring some of the industry’s most highly accomplished women.

Ignite brilliance in your communication

The highlight of the 2016 summit was a dynamic development training by internationally acclaimed speaker, author and executive-development expert AmyK. A former executive of a billion-dollar global consumer products company, AmyK is a catalyst for producing sustainable solutions to a leader’s most pressing challenges.

Attendees took away cutting-edge concepts and practical tools to implement immediately to be a more effective speaker and communicate with impact. Notable points from AmyK’s training included:

  • Aligning brilliance – how to start with strengths and get focused on solutions, not problems
  • The unity of command – we are more loyal to the team we play on than the team that we lead
  • The intertwining of mind traits and belief systems
  • Question-based agendas lead to more profitable outcomes 

Many attendees took the opportunity to meet AmyK and purchase her latest book, The Secrets Leaders Keep, an Amazon bestseller. Following the training, AmyK provided a handful of digital resources available for CREW Network members to download.

Learning to lead a chapter

Leadership Summit attendees gained valuable knowledge and best practices to lead their chapters with focus and relevance. In the delegate training and council meeting, CREW Network and chapter leaders shared valuable tools including chapter playbooks, a new video resource and speakers directory.

A panel discussion on membership retention and value was led by Dana Kreis Glencer, CREW Detroit President; Cara Nelson, CREW Boston President-Elect; and Beth Stout, Triangle CREW President-Elect. Debra Gilbreath, CREW Houston Past President, served as moderator. Chapter leaders were given the opportunity to ask questions and share best practices. Panel dialogue included:

  • Renewal process best practices
  • Being strategic with your programming to keep members engaged
  • Hard choices regarding membership criteria and member-only events
  • Keeping retired and 25-plus-year members involved
  • Ways to educate new members about CREW Network and Foundation 

New in 2016

To grow and strengthen our business network and brand awareness, CREW Network has created a new video to educate and recruit members and potential partners; promote diversity in commercial real estate; and highlight the benefits of joining our organization. This resource was made available in early January to CREW Network members for download and can be shared online via the CREW Network website, YouTube channel and Facebook page at any time.

The six-minute video, “The Time is Now for Women in Commercial Real Estate,” features CREW Network CEO Gail Ayers, CREW Network President-Elect Alison Beddard and CREW Network Foundation scholar Erica Chan. Members are encouraged to utilize this evergreen resource throughout the year.

In addition, CREW Network will be featured in the In America public television documentary hosted by James Earl Jones this March.

In late January, the CREW Network Speakers Directory was launched as a one-stop resource to tap the vast expertise and talent within the CREW Network membership and position members for future speaking opportunities. This web-based directory, strategically linked to and populated by our CREWbiz member data, is a new resource both for chapters seeking expertise and for members to promote their industry thought leadership.

In March, CREW Network will release its third benchmark study measuring 10-year progress for women in commercial real estate. CREW Network benchmark studies are considered the most extensive research to date that looks at compensation, career satisfaction, work-life balance, career advancement and other issues, differentiated by gender, within the industry.

Key findings from the 2015 survey:

  • Women continue to gain ground in commercial real estate. In 2015, more women were hired to fill senior, senior vice president, managing director and partner positions than in 2010. 
  • In addition, women now have the same number of direct reports as men. 
  • While more women are in senior roles than ever, they are not advancing into the C-suite as men do – and most are not vying for the top roles. Forty percent of men surveyed aspire to the C-suite, while just 28 percent of women want the top jobs. The majority of women surveyed — 47 percent — aspire to senior vice president or partner level. 
  • Women’s career satisfaction and feelings of success in the industry increased across all specializations in 2015. Women with higher commission-based pay reported the highest satisfaction levels.
  • When it comes to workplace challenges, women listed "lack of a company mentor/sponsor" as the No. 1 barrier to success. Men and women both listed “relationship with internal mentor" as the No. 1 factor for future success.
  • The income gap is still prevalent in commercial real estate. The gap is shrinking at the entry level, but widening as years of experience and position responsibilities increase.

CREW Network Nominating Committee delegates confirmed 

In official CREW Network business, delegates at the Council Meeting unanimously approved the five members recommended to serve on the Nominating Committee. The selected committee members were:

  • Sally A. Longroy, CREW Dallas
  • Bari Nichols, CREW Washington DC
  • Jackie Pueppke, CREW Omaha Metro
  • Courtney Ryan, CREW Denver
  • Tara Steell, CREW Calgary

Lynn McDowell of CREW Philadelphia will serve as first alternate. The five delegates will join CREW Network President Laurie Baker, President-Elect Alison Beddard, Past President Lori Kilberg and CEO Gail Ayers in selecting the slate of three directors and the president-elect for the 2017 board of directors.

Inaugural Certificate in Leadership class 

The first CREW Network Certificate in Leadership class was held Jan. 28 in San Antonio and facilitated by Dr. Michael Sacks, an Associate Professor in the Practice of Organization & Management at Emory University. In his full-day training, Sacks implemented case studies and group work in instructing:

  • Strategic Engagement in Organization
  • Financial Balance Sheets and Fiscal Accountability
  • Matching Trends with Strategic Plans and Implementing According to ROI for your Company

The class concluded with networking and Q&A with CREW San Francisco member and 2005 CREW Network President Ginger Bryant, COO at Sares Regis Group. View the class video and Facebook and Flickr photo albums.

Chapter Challenge continues to fuel CREW Network Foundation fundraising

As a result of the continued success of the CREW Network Foundation Chapter Challenge, overall individual donations have climbed from 3 percent in 2012 to an outstanding 23 percent in 2015.

The CREW Network Foundation inducted seven supporters into the Women of Vision donor program last year, including the 53rd and most recent inductee, CREW Chicago member Goldie Wolfe Miller.

Networking at its best

Networking opportunities were aplenty in San Antonio. Attendees enjoyed networking receptions on the famous Riverwalk, lunches, dine-arounds and breaks throughout the two-day event. Small group leadership meetings also provided delegates, chapter presidents and general members the opportunity to meet with CREW Network leaders to discuss CREW Network initiatives, as well as chapter successes and challenges. 

Upcoming events

CREW Network's next leadership gathering will be the Spring Leadership Summit, June 16-17 at the Detroit Marriott at the Renaissance Center in Detroit, Mich. Registration will open in late April.

The upcoming CREW Network Convention and Marketplace, Oct. 19-22 in New York, N.Y., promises a strong lineup of speakers and programs for the four-day event. Featured speaker information will be released soon!

In 2017, the Winter Leadership Summit will be held in Hollywood, Calif., and the Spring Leadership Summit in Toronto. Houston was also introduced as the host city for the 2017 CREW Network Convention and Marketplace.

You don’t have to be a delegate to take advantage of the leadership learnings offered at the summits and convention. Participation is open to all!

Social media and meeting resources 

Additional coverage of the event may be found on CREW Network's social media channels by searching #CREWsummit.