Crew Charlotte Logo
Connect with us
Luncheon Summary
archive,paged,category,category-luncheon-summary,category-30,paged-2,category-paged-2,qode-social-login-1.1.3,stockholm-core-2.1.2,tribe-no-js,select-child-theme-ver-1.1,select-theme-ver-7.1,ajax_fade,page_not_loaded,side_area_over_content,,qode_menu_,wpb-js-composer js-comp-ver-7.0,vc_responsive,elementor-default,elementor-kit-1736
Title Image

Luncheon Summary

June 2022 Luncheon: New Trends in Retail Development

Submitted by Ashleigh Mellon, Geo Hydro Engineers


Katie Grissom, Managing Director, Asana Partners delivered an informative and positive message about the Trends in Retail Development at our June 2022 luncheon. Generation Z, the largest generation, is coming into buying power and more broadly, consumer preferences are evolving as a result of the last two years. With convenience at the forefront – mixed use, neighborhood near urban and suburban neighborhoods are becoming more desirable for retailers. New categories focused on convenience are emerging, like Medtail (vets, dentists, primary care). We better understand the halo effect, the impact of opening a new store on the retailer’s sales, and digital marketing costs are pushing retailers to find new avenues to acquire customers. All of these factors point to continued growth in the brick-and-mortar retail space.

Signature Luncheon with Alison Levine: On the Edge: The Art of High-Impact Leadership  

Submitted by Danielle Kuhn and Keiko Pace 

CREW Charlotte hosted a very motivating speech given by Alison Levine at the Westin for their Signature Luncheon on May 4th.  Alison Levine is no stranger to punishing environments. She has survived sub-zero temperatures, hurricane-force winds, sudden avalanches…and a career on Wall Street. Alison has made a career out of breaking boundaries and inspiring others to achieve more than they ever thought possible.

Levine has climbed the highest peak on every continent, served as the team captain of the first American Women’s Everest Expedition, and skied across the Arctic Circle to the geographic North Pole. In January 2008 she made history as the first American to follow a remote route across west Antarctica for 600 miles to the South Pole. She completed this arduous journey on skis while hauling 150 lbs of her gear and supplies in a sled harnessed to her waist. Her success in extreme environments is noteworthy given she had three heart surgeries and also suffers from a neurological disease that causes the arteries that feed her fingers and toes to collapse in cold weather, leaving her at extreme risk for frostbite.

Levine spoke about how you must climb up a few thousand feet and then go back down to base to rest, hydrate, and then go back up a little higher each time. She related the ascending and descending climbs to work and life. Sometimes you must go backward in order to move forward. She continued to talk about how fear is normal. She had fears about the weather, the journey, and whether she would reach the top, etc. Fear, willpower, and commitment to success can also help propel you forward.  

Alison did not make it to the top of Mount Everest on her first expedition. She encountered a few severe storms along her journey, and they had to make the extremely hard decision to turn back and head down the mountain for her safety and her team’s wellbeing. It was heartbreaking not to make it to the top her first time, but the lessons she learned were invaluable.  

Alison did go back and reach the top after encouragement from her late, best friend who was also an amazing athlete.  On this expedition, she encountered another storm and saw other climbers heading back down the mountain. But Alison had more experience this time and wanted to check out the conditions for herself. After a grueling trek up the mountain, again with more severe weather conditions, she made it to the top of Mount Everest!  

She learned many lessons along the way but one of the best lessons was that failure prepares you for success. Without failure, you can’t experience the sweet feeling of success. Failure motivates you to keep moving forward. Willpower and the determination to succeed must come from your heart.  


Quotes from Alison Levine: 

  • “Backing up is not the same as backing down”
  • “Take action based on the situation not based on a plan “ 
  • “Fear is okay, it is just a normal human emotion. Complacency is what will kill you.” 
  • “The storms are always temporary” 
  • “No one gets to the top by themselves”

Key Takeaways: 

  • Climbing Everest is nothing at all like the movies! 
  • Just like in life, while you are climbing a mountain you must act and react quickly in environments that are constantly shifting and changing 
  • You don’t have to be the best or the fastest or strongest, you just have to be relentless and want to continue 
  • Leadership is about realizing that everyone has a responsibility to help a team move towards a goal, not just the leader themselves. 
  • Leadership is not about you; it is about everyone around you. You must think about every move you make because it is going to affect everyone else on the team and not just you.
  • We cannot control the environment, but we can only control the way we react. You may be put in scenarios where you have to act based on the situation and not the plan. 
  • If the conditions aren’t right, it is okay to cut your losses and walk away because one person’s poor judgment can bring down an entire team or organization 
  • When you are going to try hard things, you are going to have to give yourself and your team the freedom to fail and come back around to try it again. The hard work you put in will impact those who come behind you and do remarkable things because of your experience. 
  • Failure stifles people from taking a risk. However, because of the previous failures Alison had or people had before her, she was able to be where she is today. 
  • The lessons you learn along the way and what you are going to do with that knowledge going forward is what continues to change the world.  
  • You do not have to have complete clarity to move towards a goal. But if you do have the big picture in sight, sometimes it is necessary to break down the big picture into smaller more doable goals.  

CREW Charlotte’s April 2022 Luncheon “Inclusive Design: Designing for Everyone”

Submitted by Jaren Wells. Gensler

Gensler’s Inclusive Design Champion for the Northeast, Jennifer Ellis-Rosa’s presentation on Inclusive Design certainly opened our minds to what is truly Inclusive (the “I” in DEI). Jenn is a client engagement and workplace strategy specialist in the New Jersey office. There were great comments and conversation starters provided by the audience that will help us think differently, go beyond the Accessibility Code and ADA compliance, and will hopefully inspire and challenge your teams and organizations to be thinking of what is implemented in the built environment.

A general description of Inclusive Design was outlined as design for All People and creates environments that are healthier, safer, easier, more convenient, and more comfortable for Everyone. Questions such as “when did the minimum become acceptable” were asked. Inclusive Design + Universal Design = Good Design.

The eight core elements of Inclusive Design were discussed, which are based on research from the University of Buffalo Idea Center: Body Fit, Comfort, Awareness, Understanding, Wellness, Social Integration, Personalization, and Appropriateness. Examples of each were shown along with a discussion. The Design Goals exercise can be shared upon request.

March 2022 Luncheon – “She Shoots, She Scores! Women in Sports”

Submitted by Robin Haddock, RLH Development

The March luncheon panel was an inspiring showcase of the tenacity of three women who have thrived in the male-dominated sports industry.  Cristy Nine, Corporate Managing Director at Savills, asked the three panelists to respond to four questions: (1) How did you make your way into this industry; (2) What obstacles have you had to overcome; (3) What are some of your proudest moments; and (4) Who has served as your mentor or helped you get your start?

The responses provided many good lessons, for women and men alike, about why representation is important. Among the highlights:

Donna Julian, Executive Vice President & Spectrum Center General Manager at Hornets Sports & Entertainment offered one of the best pieces of advice saying, “You don’t know what someone can do until you give them a chance to do it.” As an African American woman, she has often encountered biased opinions from people who think they know who she is before they get to know her. Her gauge of success is her ability to set the record straight through her accomplishments while also being a good mom.  Because she has been a trailblazer in the sports industry, she had to rely on men as role models in the beginning.  She is now in a position to be a mentor and champion to other women and considers it success when her team members move on to bigger opportunities because she has invested in them.

Judy Rose, UNC Charlotte Athletic Director Emeritus, credits Title IX for opening the door to the sports industry for her. And what an entrance she made! Only the third woman to achieve the level of Athletic Director of a Division 1 school, she quickly realized she had to get the men to understand what needed to be done without them realizing she was doing it.  Her husband pointed out that the men were also struggling to adjust to her being in the room.  As he put it “we don’t know what to do with y’all” with “we” being men and “y’all” being women, of course.  His advice was to ask for what she needs without worrying about feeling weak.  And she clearly made that work, as she is credited with bringing football to the Charlotte 49er athletic program.

Jasmine James rounded out the panel. The first African American to become ticket sales manager with the Carolina Panthers, she is committed to making space for others who look like her. Anyone who might question whether she earned her current role as the Manager of Group Sales for both the Carolina Panthers and the new Charlotte Football Club need only watch the coverage of the inaugural home match on March 5 as 74,479 fans packed Bank of America Stadium.  She believes that networking is everything and regularly pushes herself to be present in rooms and conversations she wasn’t previously invited to.

The successes achieved by each of these women are impressive by any standard, but even more so because they had to prove they should have a seat at the table in the first place.  Their businesses, their communities, and women everywhere are better for it.


January 2022 Luncheon “What to Start, Stop, Continue, and Learn in 2022”

Submitted by Jaren Wells, Gensler

Our very own CREW Charlotte board member, Victoria Taylor, Esq, Director, Development & Diversity, Womble Bond Dickinson, shared with us an inspiring message based on her recent study “What to Start-Stop, Continue and Learn in 2022”. Opening with an amazing historical story about Amelia Earhart (this day in history, Jan 11, 1935), to sharing take-away from (3) forms of inspiration, Victoria motivated us with a Kick-Start for 2022.


The first Inspiration message was from the podcast “Dare to Lead”, Brene brown interviews America Ferrera. How do we manage others’ expectations? Focus on your whole self, so you can be the best human being and leader you can be. There is power in integration and wholeness. Instead of being overwhelmed, take baby steps.


From the article by, “Things Wharton Psychologist Adam Grant Wants You to Rethink in 2022”, Victoria shared that some of your assumptions could be wrong. How well can people learn to do a job? Not, how well you have been doing your job. It’s important to rest, even for a little at the right time, in order to kick-start your productivity. Use writing to think about your own thoughts. The quickest path to sharper thinking is frequent writing. In order to open other people’s minds to rethink their assumptions, engage them in a motivational interview. Spend time with those that disagree with you, but that you respect. Intellectual chemistry and innovative thinking can open your mind.


Lastly, Pastor Clifford Jones’ recent sermon from Jan 9, 2022, entitled “Not yet,…yet”, there is still work we have to do. It’s not time to move on yet. Self-care and rest plays into our lives so we can keep the energy going. Cultural Competence can be gained by using story-telling to learn something new. Get to know others by sharing something about yourself. By doing this, and listening with empathy, we can change lives and perspectives.


Victoria closed with this thought to consider, “What can we learn differently this year, in 2022”?

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:

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:

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