Tag Archives: AZCREW

Woman holding social network balloon

Living social: Promoting individual and professional brand

Remember when Sheryl Sandberg’s “Lean In” was published in 2013? There were many tips for advancing one’s career, but one of the top five, as selected by Forbes, is to form a lean-in circle with one of the book’s online “circle kits.” In essence, it encouraged finding a group of other professional women with whom to share best practices and professional stories.

For women who work in commercial real estate in the Phoenix Metro, that group already exists as Arizona Commercial Real Estate Women, more often referred to as AZCREW.

From its monthly luncheons to its Black and White Affair, golf tournament and mentorship programming, AZCREW encourages its male and female members to build a community within the industry that’s welcoming and fosters a gender-neutral equality.

Decades before the dawn of social media, a professional network could only be built within the workplace and through networking groups.

AZCREW is one of the first such groups that catered to all women in the industry regardless of trade. AZCREW, which is celebrating its 30th year as part of the global CREW Network, hosts annual and monthly events where members can network in a professional environment.

The landscape of networking and professional awareness is changing with the increased adoption of social media, and members of AZCREW are looking more seriously at how this can integrate into existing promotion.

The Greater Good

Without visiting your company’s website, can you recite its mission statement or slogan? Can you pull its logo’s shades out of a color wheel? How about sharing some history behind your company’s origins?

Most employers have made it a policy to familiarize employees with their branding — what the company does and is working to project to potential clients.

However, in a day and age where some networking is moving to social media outlets, it begs the question of just how important it is to brand yourself as an individual?

In 2012, CREW Network surveyed 234 members and 16 executive level women using the Leadership Potential Indicator assessment tool by MySkillsProfile. The objective was to find the leadership strengths and deficiencies of its members. On average, members ranked highest in “monitoring quality” and “focusing on business.” Its lowest ranked categories were “taking risk” and “relating and networking.”

Strengthening its membership’s skills in the latter categories are a focus of the organization’s recent white papers.

Face Time Versus Facebook

AZCREW members seem to be immune to the status quo. Members of AZCREW say a perk of joining the organization is its in-person networking.

When Lincoln Property Company’s Krystal Dill was accepted to AZCREW four years ago, she joined the PR/Outreach committee. It allowed her to promote herself with a microcosm that could be applied to her business environment and the larger industry.

“Being involved in this reputable organization can provide countless direct and indirect results of self-promotion in combination with growing your network of high-quality colleagues,” she says.

Dill says in-person networking comprises about 80 percent of all professional connections, while digital networking is the remaining 20 percent.

AZCREW President-elect Christie Veldhuizen, vice president of operations at DTZ, says the split is more 90-10 for her.

“Personally, I prefer in-person networking…but I do like that through LinkedIn I am able to stay connected with people I am introduced to,” she says.

It’s more important, she says, for her company to have online promotion.

“For DTZ, online promotion through our company website and social media is very important and something we continue to expand,” Veldhuizen says. “However, I understand that with company success there are more opportunities for individual success, so promoting one is not mutually exclusive to promoting the other.”

Dill, who handles marketing for LPC says there is room for improvement.

“I greatly support social media outlets as a marketing source, communicator to the masses and promotional tool for professional purposes,” Dill says. “Personally, I have not yet utilized them to their fullest. While the outlets serve as a great supplement for networking and promotions, the in-person touches and interactions will always be essential.”

Tuned in, Linked up

According to Pew Research Center’s Internet Project Survey in 2014, half of all LinkedIn users have college educations. This is the first time such information has been reported. More than half of all adults who use the internet are active users of two or more social networks. While Facebook is the most popular of the social media sites, Twitter and LinkedIn have seen jumps in usage by adults year over year since 2012. In fact, according to the study, LinkedIn is the second-most used social media network after Facebook.

“The thought leadership in CRE on social media seems male dominated, so room exists for female voices in the conversation,” says Barbi Reuter, COO of Cushman & Wakefield | PICOR, and Tucson CREW and CREW National board member. “I’m surprised not to see more, as we are typically connectors, and engagement is key to success in the social sphere. I do see a higher presence for women in LinkedIn than Twitter. Women’s voices are more predominant in Twitter in the retail and marketing spheres, than in finance and pure brokerage.”

It may just be about getting it right.

“Some users abuse social media by utilizing the outlets to post content that is not ‘public worthy,’” says Dill. “Unfortunately, these spammers affect the overall perception of social media in today’s culture. This has led to misunderstandings that using social media is ego-driven and selfish. Social media should be used to be promote confidence and personal publication via meaningful content.

“One of the best aspects of this industry are the incredible women mentors at our fingertips,” Dill says. “Their counsel and expertise has been invaluable as I’ve navigated my way through my career thus far. With their guidance, I have successfully asked for raises and/or modifications for my position. Social media has served as the communication tool to inform the market of my promotion and/or title change(s). These days, I believe this is how most of our network is informed. It creates community and a sense of place among the industry. I should have done those things sooner!”

Two young woman working on a new creative design

AZCREW: CREW Network Pays it Forward

A lot can happen in 15 minutes. Advice can be offered. New appointments saved. Minds can be changed. Coffee can be retrieved between meetings. For many executives, time is priceless.

Time is how many members of AZCREW “pay it forward” these days, through mentorship programs and networking functions. However, AZCREW’s national parent, CREW Network, has been, quite literally, paying it forward since 1998. Awareness and donations are rising among CREW chapters, according to the 2014 CREW Foundation annual report, which illustrated a record-breaking year.

“We’re very proud of our foundation,” says Maureen Anders, the founder of CREW Foundation and its chair in 2004. She is part of a group known as the Women of Vision. Each member has personally given $10,000 to CREW Foundation. Anders has given four times the minimum entry.

“We regrettably find women don’t hear about careers in commercial real estate unless their families or someone they knew (worked in the industry),” says Anders.

Current CREW Foundation President Gail Ayers is also a “woman of vision” and says the scholarship selection committee has nearly 40 chapters represented. Many of the chapters are also donating more to the cause of funding young women’s pursuit of a commercial real estate education.

“The foundation’s role is to ‘pay it forward’ and encourage more women to get involved in the commercial real estate industry,” says Christie Veldhuizen, president-elect and Foundation Champion for AZCREW, and designated broker of operations at DTZ.

AZCREW’s chapter goal for 2015 is to get 50 percent of its membership to donate to CREW Foundation, she says. AZCREW is a silver supporter, meaning it donated between $5,000 and $9,999.

In addition to scholarship opportunities, Ayers says, members sometimes will host CREW Career workshops for young women, where they can learn through a project development simulation about the different roles available in commercial real estate.

You can never make connections too quickly, Anders adds.

“I’ve been a (CREW) member since 1988 and would continue forever,” she says. “My success was the fact that I was so well-connected. Anytime my company needed anything in the country (I could call on CREW). Law enabled me, but mostly CREW.”

Samantha Pinkal, senior pre-development and marketing manager for Weitz, has been a member of AZCREW for two years and chairs the programs committee. She says her career was greatly influenced by female mentors in college, including Jokake’s Rozlyn Lipsey and Caliente Construction’s Lorraine Bergman.

“(It’s valuable) for women, especially young women looking at their career options, to see role models,” says Pinkal, who mentors Arizona State University students and interns at Weitz.

Pinkal, who graduated with a degree in construction management, began her career at Weitz as a project engineer. She said it was through the mentorship of project managers that she realized she wanted to shift into business development.

“They helped me do a lot of personal development coming out of college,” she says. “They really helped guide me to this position that suits me better.”

Pinkal recommends other young professionals also build alliances with senior managers who can see and build upon an individual’s strengths often before she knows what they are.

“Without mentors, you have no light down the path you’re going down,” says Pinkal. “You’re just following this path you’re going down. … They offer you advice, (such as) ‘Here are your strengths and things I recommend you explore,’ rather than learning the hard way.”

When CREW was founded, Anders says, it was to create a solid entity through which members could share, mentor and give back.

“We provided many ways for the women to give back,” Anders says. “They do it anyway, but we wanted to have it more organized in CREW. You can either give to the foundation monetarily or you can become directly involved like UCREW or CREW Careers. … I love helping other women succeed. So … every dollar I have given them was extremely well-spent. … Paying it forward is essential, but I’m still available whenever…if (mentees) need something, they call me. It’s about always being there.”

It’s not hard to sell the executive salary, which, according to CREW’s most recent benchmark study, falls around $175,000. In 2013, more than $120,000 was donated to yield $50,000 in scholarships. CREW has worked with more than 60 scholars, and every graduate has had a job. Many of them end up working after an internship.

“Look at what we can accomplish when we put 10,000 women’s focus in one direction,” Ayers says.

That said, men are the fastest growing sector of CREW. There are currently two male presidents of CREW chapters. Gail even hints that she has bought up a few domain names in case the group becomes more gender neutral.

Photo by Mike Mertes, Az Big Media

CREW Network holds an open door for women

AZCREW may be celebrating its 30th anniversary as a CREW Network chapter, but its sister chapter to the south has only been around since 2003. Barbi Reuter, a charter member of CREW Tucson, has held numerous roles in CREW Tucson, including two stints as director of the board and is currently serving a two-year term on the national CREW Network Board of Directors. Through this affiliation, CREW Tucson is helping put Arizona real estate on the national stage of an organization with 9,500 members in the U.S.

Why did you join CREW Network and what keeps you a member? 
Besides being a joiner and serial networker, I joined CREW Tucson to be part of a senior network of commercial real estate professionals intent on driving business in a supportive environment. The idea of being part of a start-up chapter was energizing.

How do the local chapters’ relationship with the national network affect Arizona and local industry members? 
Local chapter members, whether from Tucson, Phoenix or any of our other 70 chapters, tap a powerful network available at a moment’s notice. CREW Network members represent every discipline needed to complete a transaction or a ground-up development. I’ve received inbound referrals from members of Pittsburgh and Denver CREW chapters and have referred business out to members of CREW New Mexico, CREW Los Angeles and many others. Because CREW has experience requirements, the membership base is very senior – skilled, professional and diligent. Nearly half have more than 15 years of experience, while more than a third of our members have 20+ years in the business. Nothing beats face time and networking “in real life” in this electronic world, so attending CREW Network’s annual convention in the fall is always a power-packed, energizing event, as are the two leadership summits held each year.

What are some of the topics or advocacy efforts CREW Network works on that Arizona could benefit from? 
CREW Network is known as the industry’s thought leader when it comes to women in CRE. We lead from facts and conduct benchmarking studies every five years, including 2015. Results highlight compensation, career satisfaction, work-life balance, career advancement, and other issues, differentiated by gender, within the CRE industry. We are also publishing a white paper on working with executive recruiters, developing a leadership certificate program, and, through our foundation, funding scholarships for women in the industry. From an advocacy standpoint, CREW Network has a seat at the real estate roundtable – an exclusive group of industry and association leaders guiding policy with a cohesive industry voice.

Are there any issues that you think should see more of a dialogue in the next 12 months? 
Improved financial results for firms with diverse leadership from the board room to other senior ranks receives well-deserved attention now. Expanding this message and the systems to ensure paths of opportunity are a high priority, in my mind. This ties well with the timing of the white paper.

Has CREW Network had a direct influence on your professional growth?
CREW Network has done so very much for me. Not long after participating in CREW’s C-Suite Mentoring Program, I was promoted to COO of my firm. Leadership opportunities at the local and national level hone my skills, expand my learning and connections and open doors. In turn, I am thrilled when I can open doors for others.

The New Crew: AZCREW

Vicki Williams is the senior vice president of commercial real estate at Alliance Bank of Arizona, where she has worked since 2004. She is the 2014 president of AZCREW, the Phoenix chapter of CREW Network, and former chair of AZCREW’s programs committee. Williams has been the vice president on the board of trustees for Childsplay, Inc., a professional theater company that produces plays for young audiences.

Vicki Williams AZCREW

Vicki Williams

What kind of movement toward leadership roles are you seeing among the phoenix chapter’s members? How does this compare to the industry when AZCREW was founded 30 years ago?

Having been a part of AZCREW in the late 1980s and early 1990s, I am honored to have witnessed firsthand the evolution of both the local commercial real estate industry and also AZCREW’s evolution into a highly professional and more mature organization. In the early years, our membership was dominated by women in the fields of title and lending. Today, AZCREW is a well-known and respected part of the metro Phoenix real estate scene. We now have many more members involved in brokerage, law, architecture, asset management, construction and development. Moreover, a good number of these women are in senior leadership positions, including some who have founded and currently own businesses. That was certainly not common 20 years ago.

The quality of both our programs and networking events is phenomenal. Attracted by our high caliber speakers and timely topics that include development case studies, industry updates, financial market panels, and other topics impacting commercial real estate in the Valley, non-members and guests are coming to our luncheons in larger numbers than ever before. When we ask respected members of our local real estate community to speak, we receive enthusiastic responses. They know who we are and support our mission. I find it gratifying that we are able to have more female speakers, which is indicative of women’s increased leadership within the industry. Incidentally, other industry groups are also including women on their panels, which is great to see.

Our monthly special events are also in high demand as they include mixers at popular venues, brown bag networking lunches and an annual golf tournament where a portion of the proceeds benefit a local charity.

How does AZCREW make an effort to affect gender inequality among leadership in the CRE industry?

We champion the advancement and success of women in commercial real estate industry through four key areas: leadership, professional relationships, education and excellence. CREW Network, our parent organization, funds research into women’s representation in the commercial real estate industry nationally, including representation in leadership and managerial positions. Paid for in part through our local dues, CREW Network produces highly respected white papers that are now being referenced by other commercial real estate industry groups who are also seeking more participation by women in their own organizations. AZCREW and CREW Network also raise funds to provide scholarships for young women looking for careers in commercial real estate. Specifically, we have an annual signature Black & White event in November to raise funds for local scholarships and for CREW Foundation, which is our parent’s arm that provides scholarships at a national level.

Clearly there are challenges in attracting a younger membership to get involved and also to help them advance their careers in real estate. We continue to strive to close the gender gap by leveraging the talented and successful women leadership in our own ranks.

What is the most important thing people need to understand about AZCREW?

What people need to know most is that AZCREW is part of a national and dynamic organization with more than 75 chapters and 9,000 members in the U.S. and Canada, whose resources and influence have a significant impact locally and nationally. For example, CREW Network’s annual national convention held each fall features five-star national speakers presenting important market trends and is a great platform for building relationships and sharing ideas with women from other metropolitan areas. Open to all CREW Network members, this convention is truly an inspiring experience even for those whose business is primarily local. Last year, there were close to 1,000 in attendance. Simply promoting the benefits of our parent network to both our members and prospective members is an opportunity to increase engagement.

What was a memorable mentoring experience?

I didn’t have a mentor in the field of commercial real estate, per se, but did have a formal mentor when I got my first banking job in Arizona, fresh from NYC. My mentor was president of the bank, who provided a great example by being professional, thoughtful and respectful in his dealings with everyone equally. I was fortunate to never have felt I was being treated differently or underestimated because of my gender at a time when there were certainly other male managers with less progressive attitudes toward women in business, much less real estate. He was very patient and encouraged me to ask questions and, so long as I had done my research, to make recommendations despite my lack of experience. I felt I could ask him the “dumb” questions as to why things worked a certain way. The best thing I learned was that big, critical decisions should not be made in a rush, no matter what pressure you may feel. Looking back, I wish I had followed that advice a little more often.

Alexandra Loye, GPE, WEB

Alexandra Loye Joins GPE Commercial Advisors

GPE Commercial Advisors welcomed Senior Vice President Alexandra Loye to its brokerage team on Wednesday. Loye brings more than five years of commercial real estate experience throughout the Metro Phoenix area. She specializes in seller, buyer and tenant representation for medical office and office users.

Loye closely tracks the medical office and office market and measures the financial and economic trends affecting the Phoenix market.

Prior to joining GPE, Loye was with NAI Horizon where she worked with clients in the public and private sectors, investors and developers as well as servicers, receivers and REO asset managers. She serves as a committee member on the Developing Leaders Philanthropy Committee of NAIOP (National Association of Industrial and Office Professionals), is involved with AZCREW (Arizona Commercial Real Estate Women) and is a board member for the Epilepsy Foundation of Arizona.

AZCREW Q&A: Lindsey Carlson, Associate VP, Office Property Solutions, Colliers Intl.

Screen Shot 2013-07-26 at 11.12.33 AMQ:Professionally, what does it mean to you to be a member of AZCREW?

A: I am surrounded by an incredible group of women with knowledge and expertise in a variety of aspects related to real estate. Involvement in AZCREW has allowed me to learn from my peers and become a well-rounded broker who provides a high level of service to meet and exceed my clients’ expectations. It has given me great perspective and insight into what is happening in the commercial real estate market. I have such confidence in referring any of my fellow AZCREW members to my clients, knowing they will take great care of them.

Q: What about AZCREW do you find to be most rewarding?

A:  I’d say the networking with other successful women for whom I have the greatest respect. The friendships that have developed while serving on various committees and the board have been invaluable in providing a strong sense of community while working in a mostly male-dominated profession. The support we provide to each other, not only professionally but personally, is remarkable. These are amazing women with great stories, and many are role models and mentors to me. I aspire to have the same impact they have had on our community. Through AZCREW’s community service, many of us give time and resources to help women-focused groups, such as Fresh Start, UMOM and Susan G. Komen, which has been truly inspiring.

Q: Was there an “aha moment” when you realized being a member was invaluable?

A: Several years ago, we hosted our first CREW Careers event to mentor young women who were interested in a commercial real estate career. This program gave them hands-on experience and exposure to a wide range of real estate careers, while demonstrating how rewarding and fun it could be. Seeing the excitement on their faces while surrounded by a group of women who they could look up to and respect was extremely satisfying. I felt we truly made a difference in their lives and, hopefully, encouraged more women to join our industry.

AZCREW Q&A: Judy Jones, Senior Investment Advisor, Sperry Van Ness

Screen Shot 2013-07-26 at 11.12.42 AMQ:Professionally, what does it mean to you to be a member of AZCREW?

A:  The purpose of the membership is to promote professionalism and mentoring amongst women in the commercial real estate community. I enjoy the camaraderie of professional women, mentoring of new members, and the opportunity to grow as a professional in commercial real estate.

Q: What about AZCREW do you find to be most rewarding?

A:  Meeting other professional women in the industry and having the ability to interface and learn from them while working collaboratively on meaningful business endeavors.

Q: Was there an “aha moment” when you realized being a member was invaluable?

A:  The opportunity to work on a transaction with an attorney I had known through the organization, but had not yet had to opportunity to work with was memorable. I appreciated her experience, professionalism and sincere cooperation throughout the duration of the escrow.

AZCREW Q&A: Vicki Williams, Senior VP, PHX Team Manager, CRE Alliance Bank of AZ

Screen Shot 2013-07-26 at 11.12.25 AMQ: Professionally, what does it mean to you to be a member of AZCREW?

A: I believe that AZCREW is invaluable in enabling real estate professionals to expand their network, listen to top speakers on timely topics, and support the mission of promoting the advancement of women in the commercial real estate industry.  My personal involvement — along with the involvement of one of my colleagues — also affords the bank significant visibility within the real estate community. My bank’s annual sponsorship also shows our support for the organization and for our mission.

Q: What about AZCREW do you find to be most rewarding?

A: As I became more actively involved, the rewards increased. I had always enjoyed the monthly luncheon programs and decided to get involved by joining the programs committee. I later became committee chair committee and a board member. Though I’m no longer committee chair, I remain involved and take pride in the fact that the excellent quality of our luncheon programs. In addition, my current role as President Elect has introduced me to the national organization, CREW Network, and even more great CRE professionals across the country.

Q: Was there an “aha moment” when you realized being a member was invaluable?

A: I would say my first ‘aha moment’ goes back to my initial involvement with the programs committee where I felt I could make a positive impact. In that group, I saw firsthand that our members have great contacts within the real estate community and are well informed on a variety of real estate related topics.

AZCREW Q&A: Christine Hughes, Assistant Vice President, Fidelity National

Screen Shot 2013-07-26 at 8.03.14 AMQ: Professionally, what does it mean to you to be a member of AZCREW?

A:  Being a part of a professional organization supporting each other in the commercial real estate industry.

Q: What about AZCREW do you find to be most rewarding?

A:  Events and networking with a group of women interested in watching your success grow. Our programs committee has done an outstanding job of producing up-to-date, interesting and educational programs for our luncheons. They are a very creative group and deserve to be recognized for their accomplishments. 

Q: Was there an “aha moment” when you realized being a member was invaluable?

A:  It is not just one moment — it is a collection of moments. I could say when I served as the 2012 president; leading the organization, helping them grow by creating new events to bring the members together under different scenarios as everyone has diverse interests. These included the New Member Event, Team AZCREW and The Black & White Affair. Jackie Orcutt ran with my idea and was successful in raising money for the CREW Foundation and scholarship funds for MRED at the Black & White Affair. Then there are quiet ones that step up, volunteer and help out where ever needed. Val Marciano has done this on a regular basis on the board, the golf tournament, volunteering members of her committee to help on other events. I am thankful I have been able to be  part of this dynamic group.

AZCREW Q&A: Jackie Orcutt, Associate Director, Cushman & Wakefield

Screen Shot 2013-07-26 at 11.12.17 AMQ: Professionally, what does it mean to you to be a member of AZCREW?

A: Commercial real estate is a wonderful field in which to work, but it is no secret that historically there have been far fewer women in the industry than men. My membership has introduced me to so many inspiring people — men and women alike — who have professional goals similar to my own. What I love most about being an active member is the ability to collaborate with accomplished real estate professionals, learn from some of the best women in the industry, and participate in an outstanding national organization dedicated to promoting education and civic service.

Q: What about AZCREW do you find to be most rewarding?

A: I start every day with a list of items that I know I need to accomplish in order to meet the promises I have made to clients and colleagues. Unfortunately, business development always seems to take a back seat to deals in progress, or crucial client meetings. However, what I love about being a member of AZCREW is that you can count on networking and developing your business relationships by simply dedicating an hour or two of your week to attending the luncheons, special events or committee meetings. The interaction with members always leads to a deeper relationship with industry leaders which in turn fosters business development.

Q: Was there an “aha moment” when you realized being a member was invaluable?

A: I remember attending my first committee meeting 3 years ago. I sat at a small conference table surrounded by incredible members who were highly recognized in the industry: Mindy Korth (CBRE), Vicki Williams and Ericka LeMaster (Alliance) to name a few.  As I listened to them brainstorm about the hot topics in commercial real estate I realized I had so much more to learn about my own profession. Instantly I was excited to be actively involved in planning programs that would provide educational opportunities to our members and local commercial real estate professionals.

Q&A: AZCREW President Karen Halpert

Screen Shot 2013-07-26 at 8.03.02 AMQ: AZCREW is celebrating 30 years in 2015. How has the local organization helped shape the landscape of commercial real estate professionals in the Valley?

A: AZCREW facilitates business networking, enabling members to build their network. We create opportunities for our members to work together and offer a way for them to give back to their community.  Additionally, we educate women about career opportunities ensuring that commercial real estate remains not only a rewarding career choice but a viable industry for women. AZCREW is one of 76 chapters of the CREW Network. The Arizona chapter was established in 1985 and has a remarkable history of relationship-building and education, as well as an outstanding reputation for the success of its members as integral players in commercial real estate. AZCREW members represent nearly every discipline within commercial real estate including architecture, law, property management, finance, construction, brokerage, engineering, title/escrow, asset management and many others.

Q: Have you seen a significant shift in the balance of male vs. female leadership roles in Valley commercial real estate?

A: I have seen a number of studies regarding women’s progress toward achieving parity in the corporate world, but not much information exists specifically regarding women in commercial real estate. Women have not made enough headway in commercial real estate even though there are numerous studies reflecting an improved bottom line for companies with gender diversity at the executive level and boardrooms.  AZCREW is passionate about the mission of the organization to advance women in commercial real estate. Chairs, boards and committee members are dedicated to furthering the success of the members by training and mentoring the next generation of organizational leaders. These positions require active participation, hours of volunteer time and a commitment to making a difference in the organization and commercial real estate community.

Q: What challenge or challenges do you see AZCREW members facing now, in 5 years, and in 10 years?

A: Women need to help management overcome commonly misperceived notions about the skills and strengths women bring to the table and to fairly compensate women for their contributions. Salaries for women starting in real estate are much more similar to men these days. Therefore, as new generations of women move through the ranks the gap in pay between men and women should decrease. Women who have a mentor are more likely to achieve upward career moves. We need to continue to mentor younger real estate women. To assist this effort AZCREW now offers discounted membership for those under 35. On a broader scale, CREW Network is focused on helping more women transition to the industry’s top leadership positions.

Q: Of CREW’s core values — leadership, excellence, influence, community, integrity and advancement — which do you feel is most crucial?

A: For AZCREW to be successful as an organization we need all of these values, but building effective leaders is key to advancing women in the commercial real estate industry. To be an effective leader in real estate as with any industry, you must be able to communicate. Part of this communication involves networking, supporting and reaching out to our partners in the industry. Through participation in AZCREW, members have the opportunity to develop their leadership skills by attending high-level leadership development training provided by CREW Network as well as opportunities to serve on boards both locally and nationally. This participation helps to develop and hone effective leadership skills.

Q: Of the benefits that membership in AZCREW offers, which do you feel is the most important?

A:  The recent downturn in commercial real estate created a new role for women in the industry that AZCREW entitled “women in transition.”  It has become abundantly clear to those of us with long histories in organizations such as AZCREW that these groups provide the support, networking and community individuals need when transitioning from one company and job to another. I have worked in the commercial real estate industry for more than 20 years and formed strong and long lasting friendships and value the support, lifeline and opportunity these friendships offer in times of need and change. Change is a constant in today’s economic, business and commercial real estate environment. To quote Winston Churchill: “To improve is to change; to be perfect is to change often.” I participate in AZCREW to mentor and support women and also encourage them to not just accept, but to embrace change as I have and the inherent opportunity it provides.
Karen Halpert is Senior Vice President, Single-Tenant Property Management at Cole Real Estate Investments. She is responsible for maximizing the financial portfolio performance of Cole’s nearly 1,950 single-tenant retail, office and industrial properties throughout the continental U.S. Prior to joining Cole, she held leadership positions in property management, asset management and leasing with Related Urban Management, RREEF Management Company, Cabot Industrial Trust and CBRE. She has been a member of AZCREW for 9 years.

azcrew

Cultivating and Connecting: AZCREW

As the business environment in commercial real estate is changing, so is the mission and vision of AZCREW, the Valley group comprised of professional women in the industry.
Leadership development, education, networking and business development are but a few of the organization’s building blocks. Building a strong member base, embracing social media and branding are important as well.
Ericka LeMaster, senior vice president of Commercial Real Estate Finance at Alliance Bank of Arizona, been an active member for four years and is chair of the Programs Committee. AZCREW provides the platform, she says, “Where I can (with our very talented committee) exercise my passion for selecting educational tropics and arrange the high-quality luncheon speakers.
“Through being an active participant, I have had the pleasure to provide lending services to some of our members’ customers as well as refer new business to our title and legal membership base,” she adds. “Aside from new business opportunities I have made friendships that will survive my career in commercial real estate finance. AZCREW is driven by passionate professionals and I am proud to be a part of this organization.”
Since becoming involved with AZCREW, says Krystal Dill, marketing manager at Lincoln Property Company, she has experienced countless opportunities to grow professionally, make new connections and build great relationships.
“As a member of the (national) Crew Network, AZCREW is a wonderful resource for women in commercial real estate that offers access to local and national networks to cover every aspect of a transaction,” Dill says. “The organization encourages leadership and fosters success among its members. This is especially true of our committees where team members work together at a common mission to achieve specific goals.”
Upon membership, Dill signed on to the PR/Outreach Committee and was asked to serve as co-chair with Jackie Orcutt of Cushman & Wakefield. The committee is charged with overseeing community outreach, attracting new members, preparing quarterly newsletters and promoting AZCREW.
“Last year we were asked to plan the inaugural fundraiser event for scholarships to benefit the MRED program at Arizona State University,” Dill says. “We partnered with the AZCREW Special Events Committee to create a festive, elaborate and successful Black and White Affair. The event exceeded all expectations, enhanced brand awareness, built a partnership with ASU and benefitted terrific students.”
Programs offered by both the local and national organizations provide excellent education opportunities, says Cathy Teeter, acting market leader for Cushman & Wakefield of Arizona. AZCREW advocates a closing of the industry’s gender gap through quality leadership and respected professionalism. “AZCREW provides an invaluable resource and platform for not just women in the marketplace, but for the industry as a whole,” Teeter says.
“This organization improves the commercial real estate field by encouraging diversity and providing career development opportunities for dynamic women.
“Personally, I have found the networking system of AZCREW to be very important,” she says. “The monthly luncheons are informative and the subject matter is always timely. The social components, such as the annual charitable golf tournament and mixers, provide wonderful avenues to build relationships. The group encourages positive, professional relationships with all members of the real estate community.”
AZCREW is unique in that it brings people together from all sectors of the real estate industry. At any given luncheon, Teeter says, “you can sit at the table with your banker, attorney, broker or property manager.
“AZCREW has been very successful over the years, as demonstrated by the impressive number of females serving in leadership roles throughout the Metro Phoenix real estate market,” Teeter adds.
Little did she know years ago when Edythe Higgins of Wells Fargo encouraged her to join did Melinda Hinkson, business development, Sigma Contracting, that she would find AZCREW — and CREW — to be so fulfilling on so many levels.
“As a business owner and industry participant, I have benefitted not only from the networking but also the educational opportunities that CREW provides,” Hinkson says. “Even so, I am only in my infancy with the CREW Network, because there is much more opportunity and support through the national network that I have yet to avail myself of. There are annual conventions, leadership meetings, a deal database, professional development training, speaking, writing and leadership opportunities and awards programs, in which I have yet to participate.
“All of that provides me with many additional tools and opportunities for both personal and professional growth as I go forward within the CREW organization.”
Locally, Hinkson participates on the membership committee helping AZCREW grow its membership. She is also on the Golf Committee, which plans and runs the organization’s annual charity golf tournament, held at Gainey Ranch.
“AZCREW not only has provided me with the camaraderie of like-minded ambitious women, but has also afforded Sigma many opportunities to partner with other members on local building projects, and opened doors of opportunities with brokers, developers, and property management teams,” Hinkson says. “AZCREW has been a significant lifeline for both myself and my company throughout these trying economic times.  Its support has transcended basic networking, and I knew I’d found a valuable resource when several of us that hiked the Havasupai continue to look forward additional outings, including an upcoming canoe trip.  This is the group that will continue to challenge me to better myself and my relationships, whether personal or professional.”
In an industry where things are happening rapidly — changing ownerships, competition, social media and technology — no one can afford to sit back and be complacent, says Lisa Bentley, director of marketing, McCarthy Nordburg.
“You must know your market inside and out, be sharp and truly connected,” Bentley says. “That means constantly listening, reading and building relationships. The importance of AZCREW to me as a professional woman in commercial real estate is about knowledge, information and support  being the crux of why I rejoined after many years. I received information about a couple of the programs and went as a non-member. I found them to be so interesting, as it relates to our interior architectural design business, either because a broker or client was speaking.
“The programs were informative and relative to our local economy and I ran into so many nice folks I had worked with previously, that was my ‘aha’ moment. The plus with AZCREW is that the women not only speak the mission, they live it.”
Val Marciano, partner, Jaburg | Wilk, says AZCREW is an organization that “continues to shape my career.”
“While my practice of real estate litigation for 30 years has provided its own exposure to fascinating and unforeseen experiences — it is true that life is better than fiction — my membership in AZCREW has brought a new facet to my professional life,” Marciano says. “The splendor of AZCREW is that it unites distinct professions in a symmetry that expands its members’ business while, at the same time, promotes personal growth. The term ‘networking’ has become a mundane term, leading one to glaze over with the thought of perfunctory ‘meet and greet’ sessions that do nothing more than take time from other more interesting prospects.
“AZCREW has found a way to allow its members to connect, become associates, and form professional friendships that enrich one’s professional life. It is the formation of those meaningful professional friendships and associations that transcend ordinary networking, leaving AZCREW in a league of its own.”

rsz_8720596211_a85ab4ce32_c

Caddie Auction, Golfiesta Events Help AZCREW Raise $28,000

 

A rousing thank you goes out to the 82 sponsors and contributors — along with the 112 players representing more than 30 commercial real estate firms — for the success of AZCREW’s 13th Annual Caddie Auction and Golfiesta Tournament.

The Caddie Auction was held April 17 at the Adobe Restaurant at the Arizona Biltmore and the Golfiesta was held at Gainey Ranch Golf Club on Friday, May 3.

Together, these two events generated more than $28,000 to benefit AZCREW and its 2013 charity partner, Fresh Start Women’s Foundation.

“These events were another huge success,” said Karen Halpert, Chapter President of Arizona Commercial Real Estate Women.

“We achieved our goal to our receiving charity and AZCREW while providing a fun, social platform for those in commercial real estate to create new relationships and enhance existing ones with industry colleagues.”

AZCREW’s next big event is the Black & White Affair, scheduled for November. For more information about this event or AZCREW, go to arizonacrew.org.

 

rsz_azcrew_logo_4c_11232011

AZCREW To Hold Caddie Auction For Upcoming Golfiesta

 

The dates are set for AZCREW’s 13th Annual Golfiesta and associated Caddie Auction.

The Caddie Auction, in which one can purchase a caddie for the Golfiesta, will be held April 17 at the Adobe Restaurant at the Arizona Biltmore.

The Golfiesta Tournament will be held at Gainey Ranch Golf Club on May 3.

“There’s never a dull moment at this event,” says Karen Halpert, Chapter President of Arizona Commercial Real Estate Women. “It is one of the most fun and dynamic networking events in the industry and we invite all commercial real estate professionals to come out and join us.”

Whether you plan to purchase a caddie for this year’s AZCREW Golfiesta or join in the networking fun, the proceeds from this year’s auction and golf tournament will benefit the Fresh Start Women’s Foundation as well as a portion going to CREW Foundation.

CREW Foundation provides scholarships to women seeking careers in commercial real estate. Last year, the event raised more than $17,000 for the Ryan House (AZCREW’s 2012 receiving charity) and $3,000 to CREW Foundation.

For more information on the Caddie Auction and the Golfiesta, go to arizonacrew.org.

 

July/August 2012 - AZRE Magazine

AZRE Magazine July/August 2012

AZRE Magazine July/August 2012

Looking down on an industry that is finally starting to look up

Peter MadridI flew out of Sky Harbor International Airport recently and my bird’s eye view of construction cranes reaching to the sky around the Valley offered further proof that the industry is making a comeback.

Work is moving along on a new student housing project for ASU students attending school in Downtown Phoenix. Although the Kimpton Palomar Hotel opened in June at CityScape, a remaining crane stands guard, ready to spring back into action. (My guess is that upscale residences could be next).

And as the airplane made a turn to head south, workmen on the ground in Chandler resembled industrious ants at the new Phoenix Premium Outlets next to Wild Horse Pass Hotel & Casino.

These projects are not only crucial to the major general contractors in the state. They are also the lifeblood of the many Arizona subcontractors, some of which are featured in our annual Arizona Builders’ Alliance supplement.

The July/August issue of AZRE also profiles Arizona Commercial Real Estate Women, better known as AZCREW. Formed in 1985, AZCREW “promotes the advancement of professionals in commercial real estate by providing high-level networking opportunities, connections and access to decision-makers within the Phoenix market.” The local chapter also does a wonderful job giving back to the community.

Finally, our annual statewide real estate update focuses on Tucson.

As my return flight began its descent, I challenged the passenger sitting in the window seat across the aisle to a spirited game of “Name That Property Type.” Four points for medical office; 3 for multi-family, 2 for a retail center and 1 for industrial.

I skunked him, 21-0. After all, if the editor of a commercial real estate magazine can’t identify a medical office building or industrial warehouse from the air, who can?

Editors Letter Signature

Peter Madrid, Editor

Take it with you! On your mobile, go to m.issuu.com to get started.

Mindy Korth, Valley Partnership - AZRE Magazine May/June 2011

Valley Partnership: Mindy Korth

Mindy Korth has served in a variety of capacities during her 26-year commercial real estate career and has been on the front lines of an up-and-down industry. Korth, an executive vice president at CB Richard Ellis and this year’s Valley Partnership chair, says the advocacy role Valley Partnership plays is crucial to its members in the current recession.

A graduate of Arizona State University with a bachelor’s degree in business administration, Korth is Valley Partnership’s first chair who is an active real estate broker as a capital markets sales professional for the past 14 years. She has been on the Valley Partnership board of directors since 2007, serving as vice chair in 2010. Korth serves on boards for several other organizations, including Social Venture Partners, Channel Eight/KAET Public Television and the Discovery Triangle Development Corporation. She is also a member of Soroptimists and Arizona Commercial Real Estate Women (AZCREW), where she is a past board member.

Q: What does it mean to be an advocate for the commercial real estate industry?

Valley Partnership works to stay in touch with its real estate industry partners’ needs and to understand how local, regional, state and federal policy will affect their ability to thrive in this metropolitan area. We support those public-sector initiatives that promote the health of our industry.

Q: How important is that advocacy during these tough economic times?

Advocacy is important in all economic times. Valley Partnership was established to pool the resources of many in the real estate industry, and to address and bring awareness to the myriad of real estate-related issues that impact our community.

Q: Valley Partnership’s 2011 goals?

The board has set goals that include partner retention, new partner recruitment, outstanding programs that inform and inspire our partners, fun events, community service and most importantly, working closely with our municipal partners to support their initiatives.

Q: How will you achieve these goals?

Our board has engaged in strategic planning sessions through which we created definitive action items and a scorecard to track our progress. Our board is comprised of very talented real estate professionals who have great vision on what is needed and how Valley Partnership can serve our community. Our City/County Committee has a goal to form task forces as needed and already has created three to address and provide input on proposed policy changes. Legislative proposals are reviewed by members of our State Legislative Committee, which then forms recommendations for further action.

Q: What are the biggest challenges in 2011?

There are many controversial issues being discussed within city, county, state and federal chambers. Our role is to be the steady sounding board, bridging and partnering to promote responsible growth. We have found ourselves often asking the question “Should we take a position?” If we say “Yes,” then we ask, “How can we do this in a balanced manner?”

Q: Any advice for partners?

Get involved. Attend our events. Have fun. Create relationships and promote business-to-business among your fellow partners. If you are not familiar with advocacy and want to learn, participate in one of our advocacy committees. You may not be adept the first year, might start feeling comfortable the second and by the third year you will be surprised at what you can do.

For more information about Mindy Korth and Valley Partnership, visit www.valleypartnership.org.

AZRE Magazine May/June 2011