After spending nine years in the Washington, D.C., area, a fortuitous meeting in 1994 brought Laurie Baker back to her hometown of Houston and into a new career in commercial real estate. Baker has always recognized opportunity when it knocks.
In navigating her role as Senior Vice President with well-known multi-family REIT Camden Property Trust, Baker was inspired to reach out to others for knowledge and advice during the economic downturn — and she found CREW Houston members welcoming and willing to share their expertise.
Baker joined CREW Houston in 2007 and became more deeply involved through volunteering for chapter committees including programs, business roundtables and special members-only events. In 2012, she was honored by CREW Houston as one of the Top 15 Women in Commercial Real Estate and by Real Estate Forum as a Woman of Influence in 2014 and 2015.
Baker joined the CREW Houston board in 2011 as Director/Delegate and became President of CREW Houston in 2014. She remains involved at the chapter level in addition to her duties as CREW Network President.
She has two children with husband, Chris, and the family enjoys outdoor activities including skiing in Colorado and relaxing at Lake Livingston. Her family is very supportive, and she “packs it in on the weekends.”
In managing a busy schedule and family, Baker notes that the balance of time is precious, and her access to nearly 10,000 CREW Network members assists in leveraging her time by providing resources at her fingertips. She notes that she can always depend on a CREW colleague to be quick with a response or help her to make an important connection.
The apple often doesn’t fall far from the family tree. Her daughter, Lauren, has decided to pursue a career in commercial real estate. Through CREW Network connections, Lauren has found internships and mentors in the industry and was a 2015 CREW Network Foundation scholarship recipient.
During Baker's term as CREW Network President, many exciting programs and events will launch in 2016, including the publication of a benchmark study in late March highlighting hard industry facts from the last five and 10 years. This October in New York City, the CREW Network Convention and Marketplace will celebrate the “Power of the Network" and Women of Impact.
Baker believes diversity brings value, and CREW Network is at the forefront of achieving greater diversity in the industry. She sees the potential for CREW Network to grow beyond our current North American borders in the coming years to increase the power and diversity of the network globally. Baker and the CREW Network leadership have a vision for international members-at-large assisting women across the globe and establishing global business relationships and international resources through CREWbiz.
Watch Baker's video profile on the CREW Network YouTube channel.
Deborah S. Steinmetz, FASID, FIIDA, is principal at Steinmetz & Associates, which provides architecture, interior design and planning services to clients in the southeastern United States. She has been a member of CREW Atlanta since 2002 and CREW New Orleans since 2004, and served on the 2015 CREW Network Communications & Editorial Committee.