Member Spotlights

Malcolm Nelson
Citizens Bank

Current job:  Underwriting & Portfolio Manager I

Summary of your role in the company: The underwriting function of my role consists of assessing/analyzing the prospects of new business. We primarily see construction, acquisition, and refinance real estate transactions. As a portfolio manager, I manage a book of more than $450 million in outstanding loans.

How I chose my occupation: I worked for a developer in my hometown for over five years doing indoor & outdoor maintenance. When I joined Citizens Bank I saw an opportunity to bank clients such as my former employer and I thought it would be interesting to learn the financing elements of commercial real estate development.

Years in the business: 3

My specialization is:  Multi-family Construction

The most satisfying part of my job is: Developing the incoming interns and analysts – I have a passion for teaching!

Best leadership advice I have been given:  Lead by example and put it in the work!

Greatest professional achievement:  This is honestly difficult for me to answer because there is so much I aspire to do. I’ve been fortunate enough to be promoted this year - which is a blessing - but I have A LOT more work to do!

Number of years with CREW: 3

Most significant CREW connection: CREW has been the best professional organization I have been a part of since I’ve moved to Charlotte. I honestly can name a handful of awesome connections. I miss everyone and I look forward to connecting again.

Place of birth/hometown: Buffalo, NY

Number of years in Charlotte: 3

Family: Fun fact: I have a twin brother.

My ideal vacation spot: Hawaii!

Hobbies/Interests: I’m in love with both personal and corporate finance and I love teaching it even more. I’m currently writing a book about saving and investing! My goal is to be a vessel and teach financial literacy in the most creative and attainable way I can.

Other professional organizations I belong to: The Urban League

I wish I could: Go back in time and buy Amazon stock - and donate a portion to CREW of course.

Liz Orlando
O'Leary Group Waste Systems

Current job:   Account Executive

Summary of your role in the company: I build long-term customer relationships for O’Leary Group Waste Systems. We are a local full-service commercial waste & recycling hauler, servicing 20 miles around the Charlotte/Metro area.  We’ve been in business since 2009 and service every kind of business from the tiny mom and pops, to tall buildings in downtown Charlotte and countless industrial clients.  Our team’s professional expertise can handle a 2yd front loader up to designing sophisticated compactor systems.  We easily provide open tops for upfits.  I can also assist a company in “going green” and LEED processes.

How I chose my occupation:   I visualized a dream sales position and found O’Leary!!

Years in the business:  2 years at OGWS / Over 20 years in Sales

My specialization is: Helping client’s solve waste & recycling needs & problems.

A good lead for me is:  Anyone that needs commercial waste & recycling services.

The most satisfying part of my job is: Seeing the development in the Charlotte area and obtaining new customers.

Best leadership advice I have been given:  Treat everyone as if the next time you see them –They are the dentist and you are the patient!

Greatest professional achievement: 2017 Sales Award - Produced $2,535,315 in Sales!

Number of years with CREW: Since November 2019

Most significant CREW connection:  Robin Turner – She drives excellence!

Place of birth/hometown:  New Haven, CT

Number of years in Charlotte:  16 years

Family:  Husband & 3 Children

My ideal vacation spot:  Saint Martin

Hobbies/Interests:  Gardening, cooking & reading

Other professional organizations I belong to: L.E.G. /BOMA /IREM/ LKN Small Business /Carolina Recycling Association/ Charlotte Green Team/ Union County Chamber

I wish I could: End world Hunger!!!


Laura Ornstein

Current job:  Planning Analyst

Summary of your role in the company: I am on a niche team at Kimley-Horn that provides market feasibility and fiscal impact studies for private and public sector clients across the Southeast and beyond. I also support our planning team on a range of planning efforts for public sector clients across the country, including small area plans, housing studies, and mobility and comprehensive plans. Additionally, I help manage the workload of primarily public client serving teams in our Charlotte office by coordinating with other Kimley-Horn offices across the Southeast.

How I chose my occupation: Several generations on both sides of my family have worked in some industry related to real estate so I grew up thinking about property and construction. That influence combined with having lived in several different places and experiencing different cultures/landscapes got me interested in the idea of place and ‘placemaking’, which led me on a non-linear path to planning and market analysis. Before Kimley-Horn, I worked with a policy-oriented non-profit organization in and before that multiple historical museums and an organic farming association (not a straight path by any means!).

Years in the business: 3

My specialization is:  Real Estate Advisory Services

A good lead for me is:  Someone looking for help determining what to build, how much of it, who their target tenant is and what they can expect to get for rent

The most satisfying part of my job is: Getting to work on interesting work in a diverse set of communities with people I enjoy working with.

Best leadership advice I have been given: People will care what you care about and won’t care about what you don’t care about so be mindful where you focus your energy.

Greatest professional achievement: Achieving my goal of going back to school for my master’s degree and successfully switching industries after several years working in lobbying and advocacy.

Number of years with CREW: Going on 2

Most significant CREW connection: I’ve enjoyed getting to know so many through CREW, but especially a group of female peers from different industries and organizations that I’ve met that joined around the same time as me. At this point, professional development is one of the main draws of CREW and I’m excited to see what the years ahead have in store for all of us!

Place of birth/hometown: Born in Long Beach, CA, but split childhood between Tillamook, OR & Homer, NY with a stopover in Yuma, AZ

Number of years in Charlotte: 4

Family: My husband & dog Teddy, and my mom recently followed us to Charlotte, but the rest of my family is mostly split between Wake Forest and NY & OR

My ideal vacation spot: Depends on the season, but absolutely has to have a naturally occurring body of water for a dip (ocean/lake/river/hot springs) and not a lot of people!

Hobbies/Interests: Running, cooking with locally-sourced ingredients, reading historical fiction & non-fiction, and collecting antique postcards from places I’ve visited

Other professional organizations I belong to: NC Chapter of the American Planning Association

I wish I could: lay an instrument! I have no musical talent whatsoever (piano lesson dropout) but would love to have a natural gift to be able to pick up an instrument and play.

Jennifer Sorensen
Wells Fargo Bank

Current job:  Chief Administrative Officer of Commercial Mortgage Servicing at Well Fargo

Summary of your role in the company: My role is to manage and integrate all administrative and organizational functions to ensure better coordination and execution of corporate strategic goals. This often includes initiatives focused on organizational structure and human capital, finance, and risk management and compliance requirements as well as process improvements.

How I chose my occupation: This is a second career for me and I took a winding road to get here from a profession in mental health. When I decided I wanted a change, I was looking for a career that would offer me continuous learning and challenges. To get to my current role, I had to take time to understand the business from the ground up so I took on several different roles and worked alongside many great mentors so that I could learn the business in a foundational way. I also absolutely believe that developing people and organizations is central to any successful business so when the opportunity came along to step into the CAO role, I was excited for the opportunity. CRE is a dynamic business which allows me to collaborate with talented people in an ever changing landscape so it is a good fit for me.

Years in the business: 20

My specialization is:  Commercial Real Estate Structuring, Underwriting, and Mortgage Servicing  

A good lead for me is:  Best in class leadership and organizational resources, as well as diversity, equity and inclusion learning programs.

The most satisfying part of my job is: I love working with teams on process improvements and innovative approaches to typical business problems and new business opportunities.

Best leadership advice I have been given: Don’t form opinions about people based on someone else’s experience.

Greatest professional achievement: I was part of a committee that successfully created cross-business engagement circles to foster group mentorship among diverse employees and managers.

Number of years with CREW: This is my second year.

Most significant CREW connection: I don’t think that I can limit this to one connection. Being connected to an organization of strong and talented women in a similar profession is really impactful for me.

Place of birth/hometown: I was born just outside Boston and I grew up in rural New Jersey.

Number of years in Charlotte: 25

My ideal vacation spot: Somewhere I haven’t been yet; preferably with accessibility to great art and nature.

Hobbies/Interests: I stay involved in volunteer work with area mental health organizations. I love the outdoors: hiking, camping, kayaking and I do as much adventure travel as I can.

Other professional organizations I belong to: CREF-C

I wish I could: See all of my loved ones, colleagues and friends safely on the other side of COVID-19.

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