Last week, we joined 1,200 commercial real estate leaders at the 2019 CREW Network Convention and Marketplace in Orlando, Florida. As first-time attendees, we had high hopes for the annual event bringing women in the industry together for networking, professional development, and deal-making. We’re happy to report it exceeded all expectations, confirming that it’s a “can’t miss” event for every woman in CRE.
The three-day program was stacked with strong female leaders who shared their stories and advice for career success. Much time was also spent networking, discovering new business opportunities, and learning about the latest industry trends. This year’s event was extra special, with the celebration of the 30th anniversary of CREW Network and the unveiling of a modern new logo and brand identity (check it out here).
Below, we share the key takeaways that will keep us motivated until the CREW Network Convention in 2020 (in Austin, Texas!).
Keep networking, even when you’re tired of talking.
The Convention kicked off on Wednesday evening with the Marketplace and Welcome Reception, a festive evening of networking over drinks and hors d’oeuvres. As we circled the room full of exhibitor booths, we exchanged business cards, learned about sponsors’ offerings, and filled our bags with swag. Just as we were leaving, exhausted and tired of talking, we ran into a group of women from Austin (our home base). We ended up connecting over our shared love of breakfast tacos and contempt for I-35 traffic and brainstormed ideas on how to do business together. It ended up being the most productive networking session of the entire convention, reminding us to make the most of every networking opportunity.
“If you lose sight, you lose the fight.”
The following morning Carey Lohrenz shared her incredible journey to become the first female U.S. Navy F-14 Tomcat fighter pilot. As a strong female working in a male-dominated industry, she could relate to many of the challenges of the businesswomen in the room. The keys to success is to figure out your purpose, focus on what will make the biggest impact, and execute with an unrelenting work ethic. Continue to visualize your goals, she said, because “if you lose sight, you lose the fight.” With unrelenting to-do lists and new projects popping up every week, Lohrenz’s words hit home.
Be your authentic self.
Friday morning included a roundtable discussion between three highly accomplished women in commercial real estate. The conversation between Nathalie Palladitcheff, President of Ivanhoé Cambridge, Annemarie DiCola, CEO of Trepp LLC, and Leslie Hale, President and CEO of RLJ Lodging Trust highlighted gender, race, and implicit bias. One of the messages that resonated most came from Palladitcheff who reminded the audience to “be your authentic self”. While many women feel the need to change who they are to fit into conventional standards of the business world, Palladitcheff believes that part of her success stems from her authenticity. She is the same person in her business life as she is in her personal life. This authenticity has helped her to build real, productive relationships that translated into business deals and a motivated team.
Find your focus.
At the closing luncheon, we heard from Sarah Robb O’Hagan, an accomplished executive who led the reinvention of major brands like Gatorade and Equinox. She shared the highs and lows of her personal journey, like the time when she was fired and faced deportation back to her home country of New Zealand. She then landed a great role and was fired AGAIN. Setbacks like these helped her to identify her framework for success. The key is to “find your focus”. Find the one thing you can do really, really well and go do it at 100%. Be the best at it. While this is not an easy task, it will pay off in spades.
We can’t wait to attend the CREW Network Convention next year in our hometown of Austin, Texas. It truly is the premier industry event for women in CRE looking to make new connections and stay ahead of industry trends. We hope to meet you there!
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