CREW Charlotte 2019 Impact Awards
Submitted by Diana Quarry, Womble Bond Dickinson
On December 10, 2019, CREW Charlotte members and guests gathered to celebrate the best and brightest of our chapter over the past year. In Sallie Jarosz’s final luncheon of her presidency, she thanked all members, especially the 2019 Board of Directors, Committee Co-Chairs, past chapter presidents and long-standing members, for their hard work and dedication to CREW Charlotte’s mission. Attendees also had the honor of hearing from the 2020 CREW Network President, Christine Gorham, about new initiatives and efforts in store for CREW Chapters during the upcoming year.
Keynote speaker Cindy Wolfe, Chief Banking Officer at Bank OZK and past CREW Charlotte president, spoke to members about the value of investing in oneself and not always asking one’s employer to carry the cost for any professional development programs. She believes that, while mentors and sponsors at work are valuable resources, there is a special benefit to paying your own way for a coach or program that will push you outside of your comfort zone. She noted that women are generous with donating their time, talent and money to CREW and other causes, but that it is important to allocate some of that towards one’s own growth and success.
Finally, Ms. Wolfe announced our 2019 Impact Award Winners. The award program had been refreshed for 2019, with some new awards being granted. The esteemed winners were as follows:
- The Ground Breaker Award honors a new CREW Charlotte member who positively impacted CREW Charlotte through active service since joining. This year’s award went to Nijah Wilson. Ms. Wilson has been an active member on the Student Outreach committee, assisting with UCREW efforts by participating in several college fairs and building relationships with university faculty. She was also critical to the reinstatement of the CREW Careers Program. She was also a graduate of the 2019 CREW Charlotte Authentic Leadership Program and will be sitting on the Leadership Program committee in 2020 to help develop the curriculum for future programs.
- The Carrie Sharp Power Connector Award honors a CREW Charlotte member or sponsor who went beyond networking and actively established or strengthened relationships with fellow members or sponsors. This year’s award went to Scarlet Powell of Unified Technology Systems. When collecting nominations for this award, CREW Charlotte received an overwhelming number of nominations for Ms. Powell – a testament to just how many people she has made strong connections with over the past year. A member since 2009, Ms. Powell has been a constant and reliable presence in the Charlotte chapter, graciously volunteering her time over the years. She has played vital roles on the Board, as well as the Programs, Sponsorship and Communications Committees.
- The Member-to-Member Business Award honors a CREW Charlotte member or sponsor who consistently demonstrates an extraordinary commitment to marshal CREW talent, resulting in measurable business for other CREW members or sponsors. This year’s award went to Dianne Jones of Maxis Advisors. Ms. Jones has formed a network within CREW that she uses to refer business to others. By always staying informed, she even makes connections on deals in which she’s not involved. She promotes fellow CREW members, opening doors and assembling member talent whenever possible to provide insight on new projects.
- The Career Advancement for Women Award honors a CREW Charlotte member or sponsor 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 year’s award went to Denise Dexter of JLL. Over the last 18 years, Ms. Dexter has risen through the ranks of commercial real estate, learning from the ground up. Her entire career has revolved around hard work, being prepared and nurturing others. As the mother of twin teenage girls, she appreciates the importance of women in the workplace and is an advocate for diversity and inclusion at her firm. She not only nurtures women in the workplace, but all intelligent young professionals, providing the level playing field we all desire.
- The Entrepreneurial Spirit Award honors a CREW Charlotte member or sponsor who achieved a unique career success or milestone in the past 12 months as a result of an exceptional entrepreneurial spirit. This year’s award went to Randy Hopkins, owner of Hopkins Consulting & Review. Ms. Hopkins was already a successful entrepreneur as the president of a boutique appraisal firm. As a result of self-evaluation, she participated in the inaugural CREW Charlotte Authentic Leadership Program, where she realized she wanted to use her innate strengths to re-envision the next phase of her career. Over the past year, she closed her prior company and formed a single-member LLC to showcase her talents as a review appraiser and consultant. Ms. Hopkins has shown that one can always continue to grow and evolve.
- The Circle of Excellence Award is CREW Charlotte’s top honor, and recognizes a member or sponsor who consistently delivers excellence and whose efforts advance the commercial real estate industry and support CREW Charlotte’s mission. Ms. Jarosz presented this year’s award to Katie Barker of Childress Klein. Ms. Jarosz noted all of Ms. Barker’s help in executing on the 2019 strategic vision for the Chapter. Ms. Barker was also tasked with improving the sponsorship experience, raising money and working tirelessly to be a change agent. She also played a vital role with coordinating sponsorship focus groups, and then organized the overall feedback from those sessions into clear actionable items that became the genesis of new sponsor events.