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Author: Patty Drummond

CREW Charlotte December 2021 Luncheon – “A Friendly Rivalry – How Two Women Competitors Found Common Ground”

CREW Charlotte’s virtual December luncheon was a celebration of ‘Women supporting Women’ in power roles combined with a presentation of our year-end 2021 Impact Awards.  We had Morgan Fogarty and Molly Grantham, two respected reporters and newscasters on competing television networks.  They have struck up an unlikely friendship and were virtually on with our CREW Charlotte network to talk about their relationship, as to inspire our group to build each other up even in the most unlikely and unusual of situations.

Morgan and Molly discussed how their friendship began and has continued over their similarities with career and their family life.  They both had very competitive work environments and when Morgan reached out to Molly to say Congrats on the baby and welcome back to the workforce they started to text more and eventually became really good friends. They bonded and had a lot of similarities in a male-dominated environment.

3 things to take away:

 

  1. Trust your instinct- Don’t shut it down and second guess yourself. Follow your gut instinct and you can’t go wrong. Give other women validation of being seen, heard and supported. We all go through mommy guilt and they both felt guilty for wanting to go back to work but they both related to the same feeling. Find a group to support each other. Build each other up.
  2. Stronger Together- You will be more fulfilled developing friendships with your competitors. Differences make us all unique but how we handle it and adjust, adapt is what makes us different. It is ok to say NO. We feel like we have to say yes all the time and No is a complete sentence. Listen to your own voice.
  3. Utilize your differences to strengthen your bond – Molly is a giver and never wants to say “NO”, where Morgan tries to encourage her to think about doing things for herself more and to find finality in situations sooner, leading to peace.

 

Do the next right step when you start doubting yourself. Pull yourself out of insecurity. They are both not intimidated by younger reporters but feel like they can be a great mentor to them and help them grow and learn. In turn, there is a huge level of respect for each other. Women building other women up. Build their confidence.

They ended with Q & A and presenting the Impact awards; with the below winners being announced by Morgan and Molly:

2021 Convention Highlights from CREW Charlotte Scholarship Recipients

This was my first CREW convention and I was fortunate enough to be awarded a scholarship to attend. I am grateful for the opportunity, the new contacts, and the inspiring educational topics.

As I’m new to CREW I haven’t fully grasped the extent to which CREW has and will continue to change its members’ lives. As our CEO Wendy Mann opened the meeting she spoke about disruptions and how it has affected the way we do business. That is something I believe we can all relate to. But Wendy also mentioned that through the constant disruptions throughout the past year that the CREW network was a constant through the chaos. Many women shared their stories both on and off the stage about their journeys and setbacks and how their CREW network was their lifeline. Wendy also mentioned that CREW creates “Warriors to Advance Women”. I appreciated that sentiment as it perfectly embodied the competent, caring, strong women I have met in my short time with CREW Charlotte and the wonderful women I was introduced to in the convention.

Among the lineup of amazing events, connections and fun I was blessed enough to hear two wonderful women speak. Linda Alvarado and Sarah Thomas were absolutely inspirational. I loved hearing their stories about being the first females in their industries and how they blazed the way for other women. I also enjoyed the similarities in their upbringing, both with parents that pushed them to go for their dreams and helped support them by standing up to authority figures on behalf of their children.

Another great announcement that will affect all CREW chapters is the launch of the CRE Pledge for Action, an industry-first, CEO-driven initiative to advance women. CREW is hoping to elevate actions that encourage greater diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) in the commercial real estate industry. It was mentioned that 17 CEOs have already committed to the pledge and asked for our help in creating the dialogue with other CEOs.

I also learned about the leadership program that can further advance skills and connect me with those of influence in the industry. That program looks amazing and hope to attend.

CREW is starting CREW Councils which consist of 25 members with only one CRE professional per market in each council. The hope is that it will provide a place for members to gain global exposure and create connections that lead to deals/projects.

I couldn’t help but tear up a bit when it was announced that CREW gave a small token to the participants. We were all given a CREW chip as a token of the bet we should make on ourselves. What a genius concept. A simple, meaningful reminder.  It wasn’t the gift that made me emotional, but the thought of how often I don’t bet on myself. That small token will surely help me to remember that and the other important lessons learned at the convention.

 

Nicole Holcomb

Dogwood State Bank


This year’s CREW Convention did not disappoint when it came to the speakers.  The convention kicked off with a witty yet inspiring tale of a young Hispanic woman from humble beginnings, who takes a road less traveled in the construction business. Despite pitfalls, male resistance, and the fact that she was viewed more as a “laborer” than a leader, Linda Alvarado’s progression from working in landscaping while in college, to the creation of a highly successful construction firm is nothing short of a miracle. The true miracle and fascination with her story is the fact that she became the first female to own an MLB franchise, the Colorado Rockies.  Unconventional in many ways, Linda used her grit and her connections to enable her rise to power and success.  Although humble to the very fiber of her being, she truly believes she belongs at the table, and because of her success, so do we. One of Alvarado’s favorite quotes that he used during his talk was, “Dumb questions are better than dumb mistakes.” Today, she is one of the most successful and wealthiest women in the United States.

Mauro F. Guillen – This was a fascinating and original thinker.  Guillen is a Professor and expert in Global Economics.  Guillen’s speech was centered around the notion that our existing world, as we know it, will end.  That is not to say that our world is ending, but rather the idea that what we have become to understand as our existing world economies will change radically.  His thesis is rooted in radical changes in three distinct areas, 1) population changes, 2) technology changes, and 3) dramatic economic shifts.   He also alluded that climate change will adversely affect our globe and migration patterns.

Some unanticipated events include the fact that the number of children being born is dropping.  In the 1950’s, women were having, on average, five children.  By 2050, it is expected that women will not even have an average of two children.  The reason for this stark contrast is that women are becoming more educated.  In higher developed countries, the populations are dropping, and in lesser developed countries, populations are rising.  We as humans are also living longer. Currently, we are expected to outlive our parents by seven years, and more than eleven years longer than our grandparents.  Rising life expectancy is going to occur all over the globe, and it is believed that by 2030, Africa will become the most populated region in the world, surpassing India, and China. What an amazing thought!

The increase in minority populations, largely due to immigration will affect our demographic balance. Minorities in the United States will become the majority. This group will be solid consumers, having children, buying cars, and purchasing homes.  This will stimulate the economy, but the overarching  looming threat is the issue of carbon emissions.   In cities around the globe, they comprise about 1% of the land area, 60% of the population, yet produce 80% of carbon emissions.  The increase in carbon emissions is directly correlated to those cities that have more than 10,000,000 people, and that number is expected to continue to rise to an estimated $25,000,000 by 2050.  Scary thoughts, truly.

And speaking of quotes, here are a few of my favorite take-a-ways from the convention:

“I don’t like four letter words like bake, cook, dust”

“When you multiply two negatives you get a positive”

“We are not defined by our own setbacks, but by our own comebacks.”

“Collect people”

“There is only one vowel difference between networking and not working.”

“Learn how to ride the waves of change by learning to surf”

“Accept the fact that some days you are the pigeon and some days you are the statue”

“Don’t let people drive you crazy when you know it’s within walking distance”

“Don’t do it to prove people wrong” (this is a never-ending cycle of playing defense)

“Don’t do it for the recognition” (the toes you step on today to get up the ladder will be the backside you kiss on the way down!)

“Do it because you LOVE IT!”

“A successful person is someone who lays a firm foundation with the bricks that others have thrown at them”

“Be yourself because everyone else is taken”

“Did you know that SUCCESS only comes before WORK in the dictionary? COMPARISON is the thief of joy”

 

Sallie Jarosz

FNB Corporation


I’m not gonna lie… being a 1st time attendee to the CREW national convention, made me a little nervous. To say that I was anticipating being the proverbial “fish out of water”, is an understatement. Physically, I look like your typical Caucasian, frat boy from an overpriced liberal arts school in the Midwest. While my complexion is white- yes, I am born and raised in Puerto Rico, and have spent most of my professional career trying to explain, clarify, correct, or justify my preconceived mold-breaking to the person across the table from me. If I had $1.00 for every time I have heard “Why don’t you have an accent?…”, but I digress.

Not only did I feel welcome from the instant the event started, but I felt a sense of belonging and even empowerment when I attended the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DE&I) breakout session on Thursday morning. Hearing the sufferable stories from women of color were just as impactful as the forthrightness of the others (including myself) in the room that genuinely desired to learn from one another and be an agent of change for ignorant practices, unsubstantiated beliefs and flawed perceptions.

Stories were told about George Floyd, presidential elections, and other racial and culturally meaningful events in recent times. You could feel the healing and empathy in the air, and I’m so happy I was a part of such a session.

  • Takeaways and Lessons Learned: While everyone deserves a seat at the table, not everyone at the table will want you there, even knowing that your unique/diverse perspective will ultimately result in a better and more refined outcome/product. The trick is finding that ally (be it at your existing company or a new one) that is willing to get you close enough to the table, then “do you”… and others will surely take notice.

 

Ed Martinez

Wells Fargo Bank


The Distinguished Leaders Roundtable at this year’s CREW Network Convention offered the opportunity to learn from the insight and experience of three influential women in commercial real estate at the peak of their careers.

 

Although Stephanie Williams (President, Bozzuto Development Company) was there in person, Tammy Jones (Co-Founder and CEO, Basis Investment Group, LLC) and Siobhan Godley (Head of Deloitte Real Estate and Tax Partner) beamed in from New York and London, respectively. Despite having two of the three speakers appearing remotely, the discussion was just as seamlessly compelling as if all three of these amazing women had been right there with us in the ballroom.

 

Here are just a few of my takeaways from this inspiring session:

 

  • When asked about mentors, Stephanie urged us to always be open to mentors of any race, age, or gender. She shared that the mentor who had been most pivotal in her business career was a white male many years her senior.
  • It was fascinating to learn of Siobhan’s groundbreaking efforts as Chairperson of the UK CREW Chapter and their remarkable growth – even during the pandemic.
  • Tammy echoed a variation of one of my personal favorite sayings (“never ask for permission when you can ask for forgiveness”) and urged us to always be curious and open as we “collect people” in our personal and professional lives.

 

Learning from the wisdom of three powerful women in commercial real estate is what makes the Distinguished Leaders Roundtable one of my favorite sessions at every CREW Network Convention!

 

Nancy Olah

Nancy Olah Law


The CREW Network National Convention brings together women from all aspects of the Commercial Real estate world.  This year in Las Vegas there were over 300 first time attendees and I was lucky enough to be one of those!

The Networking event is filled with inspiring speakers, dynamic leaders, and incredible women supporting and encouraging each other – and fabulous food!  In addition to making new contacts, there are many learning opportunities available, from the general sessions, conversation corners, peer exchanges and breakout sessions to learning excursions, dine arounds and tours.

One of the breakout sessions titled ‘The Heyday of Industrial’ focused on current and future industrial sector trends. The pandemic brought many challenges, uncertainty, and disruption to commercial real estate, but with the onslaught of e-commerce the industrial and manufacturing market has thrived.  As e-commerce grows, we will see more significant growth in leasing and sales of warehouses and distribution centers.

With this industrial ‘boom’ we are seeing higher demand and low inventory.  Some trends for the industrial tenant will include vertical spread, ESG disclosures / measures and AI to increase efficiency – technology and e-commerce will be the driving factors in the future of the industrial sector.

Learning about the latest industry trends, hearing the stories of strong women and making new connections made for three great days.  Keynote Sarah Thomas was incredibly inspiring, she said ‘prove to yourself that you belong’ that resonated with me.  I left this first convention feeling motivated and inspired and I cannot wait to attend next year.

 

Peyton Maynard

Jenison Construction


I had the privilege of attending my first CREW Convention in Las Vegas, Nevada from September 28-30, 2021. Not only was I encouraged by my colleagues, who had previously attended past CREW Conventions, to attend the 2021 Convention but I was also supported by many fellow CREW Charlotte chapter members. While I only heard positive feedback from my colleagues and fellow chapter members, CREW Convention truly exceeded my expectations. Not only did the three-day event increase my knowledge in commercial real estate, but it also expanded my personal and professional development skills. Convention allowed me to spend genuine time with other CREW Charlotte members and deepen my connection with my chapter.

One of the most important lessons I learned while attending Convention was that I am not alone and that I have a crew of women from Charlotte to California and every other state in between who are experiencing the same or similar professional development struggles, worries, questions, successes, and triumphs. While at Convention, I attended a small group event entitled “Emerging Leaders/Young Professionals”. The peer exchange session included around 25 young professions from various CREW chapters, all with different careers in commercial real estate. As we went around the room one by one to introduce ourselves and share one personal struggle or concern as a young female in commercial real estate, it became apparent to me that I was in a room full of ambitious, intelligent, capable women that allowed themselves to be vulnerable in that moment (which, on its own, takes confidence). As each female shared their thoughts, the group leader allowed other attendees to assist in providing advice, feedback, or personal experiences on how those attendees may have dealt with a similar struggle or concern. Hearing the struggles of other females around my age in commercial real estate and the suggestions on how to overcome those struggles from other group members was truly eye opening and inspiring. I learned that no matter what industry or career one may have in commercial real estate, we, as young emerging leaders, are all trying to figure out how to fit in, how to be respected by our colleagues and clients, how to be intentional in our careers, and how to be confident in ourselves. More importantly, I learned that while each of our paths may be different, we can and should rely on our CREW network, find a mentor, and gain a support system from both males and females in our industry to ultimately strive towards our common goals. CREW Convention taught me the importance of leaning on my peers for guidance as I navigate my career as a young professional in commercial real estate and that I always have the support of CREW Charlotte and CREW Network.

 

Alex Puszczynski

McMillan PLLC


CREW featured “Repurposing Real Estate” as a breakout session at the Convention in Las Vegas. The panel consisted of Kevin Cavanaugh, Founder of Guerilla Development and Bill Arent, Deputy Director of Economic and Urban Development in the city of Las Vegas, and moderator Rainey Shane, VP and Adaptive Reuse Director for JLL. These experts discussed the state of the commercial real estate market and rise in repurposing vacant or underutilized properties, specifically in the office and retail space. Office and retail assets are a major source of investment today given increased vacancy due to a decline in demand for space resulting from Covid-19 and work from home mandates, increasing rental rates suppressing profit margins of corporations, and a rise in ecommerce over the years. The aforementioned items coupled with significant capital and a low-rate environment which is expected to continue through 2023, has driven the rise in repurposing of distressed assets. In looking for the highest and best use of the property, developers now approach real estate with creativity and design at the heart. The old way of waiting around for a tenant to fill the space “as-is” often no longer works. It is now about proactively finding tenants and modifying the space to fit the respective needs. This could include converting big box stores into healthcare or recreational centers, or office and warehouse space, old gas stations into micro-restaurants, and even large office or warehouse space into co-working space. As one panelist said, “mall today, gone tomorrow”. While the approach to real estate development may have changed in some ways, some positive have resulted as this is a greener alternative and a lower credit risk than a ground-up development. We will continue to see changes across the real estate market in the coming years, especially as the country returns to a “new normal” post Covid-19.

 

Genevieve Duffy

Wells Fargo Bank


Sarah Thomas was one of the first females to be added to the National Football League (NFL) officiating roster for the 2015 season, becoming the first full-time female official. On September 13, 2015, Sarah made history by officiating her very first game between Kansas City Chiefs and the Houston Texans. Her hat, whistle, and flag from that game are kept on display at the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

On September 30, 2021, Sarah Thomas introduced herself as a keynote speaker for the 2021 CREW Network Convention to over seven hundred career driven women in the commercial real estate industry. As Sarah told her story, she filled the room with hope. The trials and tribulations that Sarah endured in a male dominant industry are still relevant in the commercial real estate field today. The message Sarah communicated to the crowd was that women often have the most to prove to become noticed in any male dominant industry. Passion, work ethic, and attitude are some of the biggest drivers for one to become successful and gain the respect of others.

Sarah’s officiating career began in 1996, where she began officiating for youth sports, and high school football programs. Sarah put the first ten years of her officiating career into youth sports. Her trailblazer work ethic didn’t go unnoticed, and ultimately unlocked the next level of opportunity.  Sarah was then hired by Conference USA where she started officiating for college football. She became the first female to officiate in the NCAA’s Major College Football Bowl Division. From that point on, Sarah gained exposure from some of the top NFL officials scouting for new officials. Then, in 2015, Sarah was hired by the NFL, and her dreams had become a reality. Her determination, passion, work ethic, skills, and commitment gave her the opportunity to advance her career to the top.

Sarah’s message to the Vegas CREW convention that day was to never give up on your career goals, and not to compare yourself to others. She said, “comparison is the thief of joy.” Her advice to all the aspiring females in the room that day was to, “Work hard, and don’t do it to prove anyone wrong or for the recognition.” One’s work ethic is always seen. In 2020, Sarah was selected to officiate the Super Bowl LV. She shattered her own glass ceiling and became the first female ever to work a Super Bowl. “Success only comes before work in the dictionary.”

 

Katie Corrie

Insite Properties


As I close out on my first year as a CREW member and reflect on my first in-person CREW Convention, I am in awe of the amazing group of women that I am surrounded by. Other members had shared with me the positive experiences they had and the connections that were made during prior years’ conventions, so I was very excited to see what it had in store. Even within my first few hours at convention, I could already see what all the excitement was about.

We were very lucky to hear from many amazing speakers and leaders within their industry. The most impactful session I attended was led by Shellye Archambeau, former CEO of MetricStream, who currently sits on the boards of Nordstrom, Verizon, Roper Technologies, and Okta. Archambeau spoke briefly about her most recent book titled, “Unapologetically Ambitious”. Something about this title really resonated with me and has become a mantra for how I want to create and envision my future. She spoke in detail about the goals she had set for herself and the plans she put in place to achieve those goals. Her ability to forge ahead and not allow obstacles to prevent her from reaching those goals was very inspiring. Overall attending convention not only expanded the respect I already had for the members within my own chapter but has allowed me the opportunity to be exposed the global network of CREW members.

 

MaKayla Stiffler

GreerWalker LLP


 

My Biggest Takeaways from CREW Convention 2021

 

Takeaway #1 focuses on managing your own career: the one thing that will stop us from achieving our dreams is the fear of failure. We often let things such as personal fears, managers, coworkers, partners, family and friends dictate our professional lives. We need to take back the reins and go for what we want. To do this we need to assume our plans will happen and if those around us are willing to invest in our futures, they will. But most importantly we need to remember to always invest in ourselves.

Takeaway #2 focuses on creating and sticking to goals: we tend to let time slip away and it can hold us back from accomplishing our goals. Some steps to help us stick to our goals include:

  • Set a timeline for your goals so that you give yourself accountability,
  • Write them down so they become less scary and more tangible,
  • Ask yourself, “What has to be true for this to happen?”,
  • Take some risks as they will help you get farther faster, and
  • Make decisions everyday based on the goals you set.

Always remember we are not defined by our setbacks but our comebacks!

Takeaway #3 focuses on self-care: As women we tend to give 100% of ourselves to everyone around us. This creates the very real possibility of BURNOUT! We need to decide on what we will allow ourselves to be judged on and then let go of the rest. Spend some time reflecting on what you need to care for yourself and then make those points nonnegotiable in your professional and personal lives. We are of no-good use to our organizations and family members if are tanks have run dry. As they keep telling us on every flight, “Put your oxygen mask on first before helping others”.

Emily Little

ESP Associates, Inc


CREW Network Convention 2021 Notes – Lacey Johnson, DLR Group

Keynote 1

  • Linda Alvarado – Alvarado Construction
    • One of the owners of The Rockies
    • Was a groundskeeper in college
    • Then started a curb and gutter company
    • Then started working with bus shelters
    • Alvarado Construction established 1976

 

Smart Buildings and Smart Cities

  • What is smart?
    • Communication infrastructure
    • Fiber deployment
    • Smart parking
    • Smart signage
    • Progressive public leaders
  • Components of a Smart City
    • Digitation of city
    • Converted 311 to an APP
  • Challenges of Adoption
    • Financial
    • Path to revenue
    • Permitting
  • Components of a Smart Building
    • Independent systems move to integrated systems
    • Safer because its one system instead of 10 or more
  • 95% of breaches are cause from user error

 

 

 

Keynote 2

  • Dean of Cambridge = Mauro Guillen
    • Lateral Thinking
      • Connecting the dots
      • Unanticipated effects in the world
    • In 1950s women had an average of 5 children. Now 2.4
      • Reason is availability of education
      • We’ve been below replacement since Nixon
      • Numbers growing because of immigration
    • A 60 year old is expected to live another 20 years
      • 60 year olds have better mental health
    • Technological change is making knowledge obsolete faster than the past
    • HNWI who are women – +/-50%
      • because of access to better education
    • Difference of spending of genders – women are more apt to:
      • Healthcare
      • Insurance
      • Savings
      • Investing
    • Men are riskier
      • Women do become riskier as their knowledge of financial market improves
    • Corruption is lower in countries where women are in power

 

 

 

Keynote 3

  • Shellye Archambeau
    • Former CEO of Metricstream
    • Became CEO at 40
    • Started in sales
    • “it takes intention”
    • Intentional – Done on purpose; deliberate
    • Manage your career
      • Set goals
      • Create a plan
      • Set a timeline
      • Be intentional
    • Her challenges
      • People calling her “sweetpea”
      • Respectfully corrected men
    • Her Approach
      • Leverage allies
      • “keep the goal – figure out a different path”
      • Give people permission to ask for help
    • Critical decision points
      • Be strategin on all fronts
      • Prioritize ruthlessly
      • Take risks
      • Ask for help
      • Swerve when necessary
      • Show confidence – don’t let imposter syndrome stop you
      • Let people know what you do
      • Use your voice – you are in the room for a reason
      • Avoid burnout – selfcare is imperative

Keynote 4

  • Sarah Thomas
    • American Football official
    • Wears number 35
    • Started in 2015
    • Officiated Superbowl 55
    • Quotes:
      • “Motivate yourself”
      • “Some days you’re the pigeon, some days you’re the statue.
      • “Be yourself because everyone else is taken”
      • “Don’t prove anyone else wrong; prove to yourself that you belong”
      • “Don’t do it for recognition; do it because you love it”
      • “Comparison is the thief of joy”

 

CREW Charlotte 2021 Impact Awards

 

Ground Breaker – Alexis Kaiser, JLL

The Ground Breaker Award honors a new CREW Charlotte member who has positively impacted CREW Charlotte through active committee service since joining (in July 2020 or later). This individual is considered an emerging leader who has made extraordinary contributions to CREW Charlotte.
 

Carrie Sharp Power Connector Award – Lisa Vogel, Boston National Title

The Carrie Sharp Power Connector Award honors a CREW Charlotte member who went above and beyond networking and actively established or strengthened relationships with fellow CREW members and sponsors. This individual intentionally connects members and sponsors to other members and sponsors through business and referral generation.

 

Member-to-Member Business – Marie McLucas, Primax Properties

The Member-to-Member Business Award honors a CREW Charlotte member who consistently demonstrates an extraordinary commitment to marshal CREW talent, resulting in measurable business for other CREW members or sponsors. This individual exemplifies the power and spirit of CREW and recognizes the collective CREW business completed over the last 12 months as a result of this member’s efforts.

 

Career Advancement for Women – Anne Vulcano, Cushman & Wakefield

The Career Advancement for Women Award honors a CREW Charlotte member who consistently exemplifies CREW Charlotte’s commitment to elevating the status of women in commercial real estate by working to advance the careers of other women. This award is presented as a result of actions of this individual that had a significant impact on one or more women, giving them the skills or confidence to pursue and succeed in new opportunities.

 

Entrepreneurial Spirit – Amanda Hibberts, Platinum Coating of NC

The Entrepreneurial Spirit Award honors a CREW Charlotte member who achieved a unique career success or milestone as the result of an exceptional entrepreneurial spirit. This individual is often a risk-taker and is willing to step outside the box to create something new or different – providing services, creating products or improving practices by innovatively organizing, developing, or deploying resources either within their own company or a larger organization.

 

Men Empowering Women – Bryan Johnson – Colliers International

The Men Empowering Women award honors those male members who support the conscious and intentional support of women seeking to thereby transform the commercial real estate industry by accelerating the advancement of women.

 

Diversity, Equity & Inclusion – Tonya Brandon, CBRE

The Diversity, Equity & Inclusion award honors a CREW Charlotte member who tirelessly helps to advance diversity, equity, and inclusion in CRE.

 

Circle of Excellence – Molly Carroll, Trinity Partners

The Circle of Excellence Award is CREW Charlotte’s top honor, recognizing a CREW Charlotte member who consistently delivers excellence and whose efforts advance the commercial real estate industry and support CREW Charlotte’s mission. This individual sets and achieves the highest standards of performance, accomplishing superior execution and results. Trusted and respected by others, they are seen as a thought leader, change agent, and champion of diversity.

 

President’s Choice – Angela Saladino, Illuminating Technologies

The President’s Choice award is the top honor presented to a member who has made a significant impact on our organization and membership. This member challenges the status quo, is committed to excellence, and is an outstanding leader, not just within CREW, but throughout our community.

November Virtual Luncheon – Community Building Initiative’s Bus Tour: “What’s in the Ground” in our Community

Submitted by Molly Carroll, Trinity Partners

CREW Charlotte’s virtual November luncheon explored “What’s in the Ground” in our community, taking a closer look at the intersection of access, diversity, and inclusion with real estate. The luncheon featured Dr. Tom Hanchett (Community Historian, Levine Museum of the New South, retired) and Annetta Watkins-Foard with CBI (Community Building Initiative) as virtual tour guides.

Tom discussed a broad history of segregation and systemic racism in Charlotte and how it’s shaped Charlotte’s growth and development. Segregation along racial and economic lines was created in the 1800’s and fostered by the government through laws and covenants, continuing through the 1900’s including damaging federally funded urban renewal programs in the 50s and 60s that destroyed Black communities in the urban core of cities across the country.

Things started to shift in with the 1968 Fair Housing Act and 1977 Community Reinvestment Act as the federal government attempted to level the playing field by removing racist and discriminatory policies surrounding homeownership and development.

Our virtual bus tour exemplified what Dr. Hanchett discussed as we learned more about several key Charlotte neighborhoods: Uptown, West Side, East Side, and Central Avenue, and how they’ve evolved over the years and the affect gentrification is having on communities and affordability. One bright spot is “Brightwalk” in the West Side, a thriving mixed-income neighborhood.

For more information, check out the following resources:

Community Building Initiative’s website

Sorting Out the New South City by Dr. Tom Hanchett

Info about Charlotte walking tours, food tips, etc: www.HistorySouth.org

The Color of Law: A Forgotten History of How Our Government Segregated America

Color and Character: West Charlotte High and the American Struggle over Educational Equality

October Virtual Luncheon – Deciphering Healthcare – Trends, Opportunities, and Advice on the Healthcare Industry

Submitted by Keiko Pace

 

CREW’s October Virtual Luncheon explored healthcare trends and opportunities in our current environment. Bryan Johnson, with Colliers International, was the moderator, and Tommy Catone with Summit Healthcare Group, Tiffany Johnson, with CBRE, and Esezele Payne, with Atrium, were the panelists.

Esezele Payne, with Atrium, spoke about women in healthcare and how covid impacted many women employees, forcing some to leave the healthcare industry due to family obligations. One of Atrium’s main goals is to diversify and create diversity within leadership roles, so attracting and keeping women in their workforce is a huge goal for Atrium Health. Atrium has been expanding in Winston Salem, Macon, Georgia, and other parts of Georgia, and they are looking to grow in areas where they haven’t focused in the past.

CBRE is focusing on leadership diversity. They have a goal of investing over $700 million in diverse suppliers by 2025. They have seen a surge in medical office buildings with an increase in price per sq ft. Many organizations are backlogged in medical procedures and the need for medical real estate is changing the landscape of the healthcare industry.

Summit Healthcare has had to pivot by looking for more creative opportunities and thinking outside the box since real estate is at a premium. They spoke about a project where they took an old Bi-Lo’s building and recently turned it into a healthcare facility.

Covid has affected each of these organizations differently. With Atrium, it has been more difficult to get approvals and therefore restraints on capital funding. They have incorporated more virtual care, more patient needs, and created more urgent care centers. All 3 organizations spoke about the “Retailization” of healthcare, meaning that the healthcare trend is currently heading to more retail focus centers like the banking industry has done in the past. CBRE, Atrium, and Summit Healthcare are all focused on strategic growth, being stable, and finding ways to improve performances in technology, customer care, and remaining connected to patients/ clients in an ever-changing environment.

August Luncheon Tour of the Innovation Barn

Submitted by Elizabeth Hamilton, Progressive AE

Tuesday, August 10th CREW Charlotte participated in a tour and lunch at Charlotte’s Innovation Barn, 932 Seigle Avenue. After a brief introduction to the principles of Circular Economies Amy Aussiker, of Envision Charlotte, provided a tour of Charlotte’s new circular economy hub.

 

Members were introduced to:

– Crown Town Compost’s soldier fly facility where food waste fuels new growth cycles.

– How reclaimed aluminum cans are sorted, compacted, and baled for recycling.

– How plastic waste can be recycled into filament for 3d printers and bricks.

– How glass bottles can be pulverized to sand (with demonstration assistance from Scarlett Powell) for use in concrete, landscaping, or for the creation of new glass products.

– A Learning Kitchen where people can learn how to reduce food waste, and use the newest energy-efficient appliances (such as induction cooktops).

– A showroom for Carolina urban Lumber, where furniture made from fallen Charlotte trees start their new use.

– Vertical Aquaponics, and how aquaponic farming of fish coincides with soldier fly larvae and providing fertilizer to grow vegetables.

 

Members then enjoyed lunch in the RePour Taproom.

 

For additional information on Envision Charlotte, Circular Charlotte and the Innovation Barn, visit https://envisioncharlotte.com/

CREW Charlotte June 2021 Luncheon – The Charlotte Future 2040 Comprehensive Plan with Taiwo Jaiyeoba

Taiwo Jaiyeoba, assistant city manager and director of planning, design and development, was the perfect speaker for CREW Charlotte’s first in-person luncheon since early 2020. Taiwo discussed the Charlotte Future 2040 Comprehensive Plan, which is the first comprehensive plan in 45 years. This plan addresses equity, transportation, quality of life, economic development, jobs, upward mobility, affordable housing, health, safety and sustainability.

Taiwo is known for his ability to bring people together – he champions accessibility and connectivity for all Charlotte area residents. One area he finds particularly important is diversification of housing projects in neighborhoods. He believes that neighborhoods should not offer exclusively single-family homes, but should have options for duplexes, triplexes, and quadraplexes. Having a variety of housing options allows the area to attract a variety of people and meet them where they are. Taiwo mentioned that the variation in housing product has been met with some resistance from existing community members. The primary concern is that these products are often rentals and do not have the same level of upkeep as traditional single-family homes. His suggestion is that we need to hold the landlords accountable for the maintenance of their product.

He also mentioned the importance of connectivity through transit. A strong transit system helps create access for a diverse group of people. He specifically focused on the bus system because 80% of public transit users rely on the bus system. Of that 80%, people of color make up 79%. It is therefore extremely important that we find a way to improve this system. He was quick to acknowledge that our current system is not as quick or as frequent in service as he would like. This is a discouragement for a lot of people in using the public transit system.

Taiwo’s energy and excitement over the plan was encouraging. He left us with the idea of a community benefit agreement which is the idea that people shouldn’t feel that development is doing something to them but instead be involved in the process. The new plan looks for a way to create a community that connects and includes all residents.

The Office Called. It Wants Its Workers Back

Submitted by Kim Marks, ProgressiveAE

CREW Charlotte featured “The Office Called. It Wants Its Workers Back” for the May virtual lunch topic. The panel moderated by Scarlet Powell, Senior Account Manager at AVI-SPL, consisted of Molly Carroll, Partner, Marketing and Communications at Trinity Partners, Steve Hallmark, Director of Operations for North Carolina with Cousins Properties, and Virginia Luther, Managing Director Charlotte Commercial at The Spectrum Companies. Our esteemed panel of local industry experts discussed heading back into our workspaces from multiple perspectives, including operations, communications, and technology.

Steve spoke from a building owner perspective relaying the initiatives Cousins has taken on at One South (formerly Bank of America Plaza) including the FitWell designation. Covid was not the main driver for these initiatives, were they already a part of Cousins strategic approach for building operations and sustainability.

Technology is rising to the top of perhaps the most important change resulting out of this pandemic. From Building Owners and Tenants requesting building data and information to Employees wanting the flexibility to work from any location that best suits their needs for that task. Technology needs to be seamless, easy to use and fast.

A common question was whether building owners or organizations had expressed any plans or desire to require their occupants/employees to provide proof of vaccination in order to return to the office? Most panelists agreed that they have not experienced this yet but do know several companies incentivizing employees if they do show proof of vaccination.

There has been a lot of talk about what the office will look like or feel like once we return to the office. Most companies believe that they will adopt a hybrid solution which allows Employee’s flexibility in where they work while meeting the needs of the organization. “If this has taught us anything, it’s that creating a culture that people want to collaborate and engage in is what Trinity does well,” said Molly Carroll. “We’re trying to create an environment where people feel safe enough to engage in that way, so we can get back to the work we’re supposed to be doing.”

Industrial is Booming…and Why it Matters to Everyone

Submitted by Kim Marks, Progressive AE

During our CREW Charlotte April virtual lunch on April 20th, we heard from representatives focused on our local Industrial market that Charlotte’s secret was out. With our proximity to multiple expressways, healthy population growth, and workforce training initiatives, we are prime for manufacturing companies looking to relocate or expand. Our local representatives included Sloan Kormelink, Edifice; Anne Johnson, CBRE; Massie Flippin, Trinity; and Dianne Jones, Maxis Advisors.

The type of industrial building is changing particularly for large e-commerce companies that are focusing on our area. The wish list continues to evolve, from super flat floors and thicker floor slabs, 40’ or more clearance height to extra power requirements.  One of the more aggressive changes is the amount of square footage Clients are looking for which is now 600,000 square feet or more. This is hard to find in an existing building footprint. E-commerce has put as much importance on the exterior of a facility requiring parking for cars and vans, charging stations, as well as access to the highway, and proximity to the population.

They spoke briefly about incentives and how NC stacks up against our neighbors, specifically South Carolina. When you are in the heat of the competition it seems like a valley between the two offers but when you boil it down, they come in very close to each other. One of the biggest differences is that SC can provide cash on the front side and NC has a larger talent pool to draw from.

So, what’s next on the industrial horizon, you might be asking. Our panelists had a lot to say on this front! It was suggested that we should be on the lookout for 3rd party logistic companies, increased technology requirements, more employee amenities, higher rent rates, and new developments continuing to move up 1-85 North and 1-77 North.

Unlocking the Hidden Value of Art and Community Messaging in Commercial Real Estate

Submitted by Jaren Wells, Gensler

Our March luncheon took a deeper dive into Unlocking the Hidden Value of Art and Community Messaging in Commercial Real Estate. Kathleen Jordan, of Gensler, led a lively discussion with panelists Carla Hanzal (Arts & Science Council), Jenny Vallimont (Gokatta) and Carla Hickey (ArtPop Street Gallery). Our panelists discussed how Art not only is becoming increasingly valuable as an opportunity for community and corporate messaging, but can also provide unexpected Return on Investments in the process. Process and “how to” information was also shared, including what to include in your project budget.

Community Messaging & leadership: Not everyone can go to a Museum. Therefore, bringing art to the community, making it accessible to all, has been highly encouraged and supported by our City & County leadership. They are in support of the arts, innovation and risk taking. Corporations also see the advantage in expressing their values especially at a time when uplifting and encouraging messages are much needed.

ROI: Art can have an influence on property value. It is no longer an add but expected by tenants, therefore helping ROI by connecting with the community as an integral part of the developments. As sales increase, the value of the community that cherishes and supports the arts increase. What goes immeasurable is the PR publicity through social media.

Process: All of our consultants recommend early integration into the Design process, in Schematic Design phase. Integrating art into the design, such as an architectural screening mechanism, can save money. Timelines will vary depending upon development and art media used.

Future Trends:
Jenny Vallimont: During the Pandemic, people are looking to find effective means to Connect. Supporting local needs and activism through Art, utilizing a virtual means via technology, like AR (Augmented Reality).
Carla Hanzal: Activated art is a big trend, involving socially distanced interactive art, such as “Balancing Act”, located at First Ward Park across from Imaginon. The Social aspect of art is equally as important. Providing more resources integrated with art such as community gardens and recreation opportunities.
Wendy Hickey: How do we create great workplace environments? Art can have the power to heal. More people are aware of this. Expanding beyond murals, corporations are looking to integrate support of local artists in a unique way to represent their organization. Whether an event or gift.

Closing remarks were given by Board Liaison Molly Carroll: “Developers and owners need to think about art as part of the tenant experience, just like when they chose finishes and building features in order to attract tenants. Having gorgeous buzz worthy art, especially local, gives the impression to prospective tenants, that the Ownership thinks differently, appreciates and supports what art brings to the table. The impression that the prospective tenant sees is that the building has a cool, hip, creative vibe that they will be part of if they lease that building. It sets buildings and owners apart.”

Jenny Vallimont added: “How do we show Corporate values even in environments that haven’t spent money in public art? Tenants coming from other cities, and bigger markets, expect different things. We need to think about comparisons of what they are seeing.”

Contact Information:

ASC – https://www.artsandscience.org @asccharlotte

Jenny/Gokotta –  https://www.wearegokotta.com @wearegokotta

Wendy/ArtPop – https://www.artpopstreetgallery.com  @artpopstreetgallery

Gensler – Kathleen_Jordan@gensler.com