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Member Spotlight

Erin Miller

Current job:  Global Solutions Lead in CBRE’s Global Workplace Solutions

Summary of your role in the company: I lead solution development and contract negotiation for large-scale, multi-service real estate outsourcing initiatives by Fortune 500 companies, including Facilities Management, Project Management, and/or Advisory and Transaction services. Our outsourcing solutions combine people, technology, and tools to drive savings, improve operations, and provide business insights for real estate portfolios.

How I chose my occupation: I began my career in business development for national and regional A/E/C firms. After finishing my MBA at Wake Forest, it felt like a natural next step to transition to real estate. I loved the ability stay in the “built environment” while advancing my own skills in commercial modeling and contract negotiation. My current role allows me to work with real estate executives and CBRE’s subject matter experts to solve complex real estate challenges such as achieving NetZero, reducing OPEX/CAPEX, gaining business insights, improving service delivery and supplier quality, or enhancing the employee experience.

Years in the business: 15 years

My specialization is:  Multi-service, global real estate outsourcing initiatives for financial services, industrial, and tech/media/telecom businesses.

A good lead for me is:  A corporate real estate and procurement executives. 

The most satisfying part of my job is: Just like they say on the A-Team, “I love it when a plan comes together.” The solution development and contracting process can take anywhere from 6 months to more than 2 years – it’s a huge time commitment from everyone involved in the process to achieve a successful outcome. There is nothing truly more satisfying than when our solutions are put into action and our clients ultimately win.

Best leadership advice I have been given:  It’s not so much advice but in grad school, we had to read Emotional Intelligence 2.0 which really shifted my perspective in interpersonal relationships. Particularly for careers in sales, it’s important to be self-aware and practice emotional intelligence, but more deeply, understand how to read other peoples’ signals and adapt.

Greatest professional achievement:  To this day, my proudest moment was in 2015 when one of the international account teams honored me with their Red Carpet Award, which was intended to recognize members of the account team for doing great work. I was still new at CBRE and just starting to learn my job and our business; it meant a lot to me that the account team appreciated my efforts.

Number of years with CREW: 2 years 

Most significant CREW connection: I’ve enjoyed working on the Member Recognition Committee. It has allowed me to get to know other CREW members and learn about their professional roles and achievements.

Place of birth/hometown: Spartanburg, SC 

Number of years in Charlotte: 15 years

Family: My husband, Tony, and our two rescue boxer mutts, Hazel and Roger Roger. (Charlotte has so many great rescues but Halfway There Rescue will always hold a place in my heart for finding, saving, and ultimately allowing my husband and me to adopt these two little nuggets.)

My ideal vacation spot: I will go ANYWHERE! I want my passport to be overloaded with stamps before it expires.

Hobbies/Interests: I am a hobbyist woodworker, a trade I picked up ~7 years ago. It’s a great hobby for getting out of the house, decompressing, and creating things. An added perk is the ability to make custom pieces at a fraction of store-bought prices.

Other professional organizations I belong to: I am a mentor with Greater Steps Scholars and a member of CoreNet Carolinas.

I wish I could: Eat cheesecake with the Golden Girls.

Michelle Smith
McFarland Construction

Current job:  Marketing Manager at McFarland Construction 

Summary of your role in the company: I manage all aspects of Marketing for McFarland Construction which includes anything from strategy, branding, digital marketing, graphic design, content development, public relations to proposal development and coordination.   

How I chose my occupation: I actually went to undergrad for Finance because I really enjoyed math. After an internship and my first position out of college, I realized that wasn’t where I wanted to be. I went back to receive my Master’s in Marketing and got a position in marketing for a structural engineering firm where I spent several years. I’m very passionate about marketing and love every aspect of it. After relocating to Charlotte and spending some time in hospitality marketing and event planning, I returned to the AEC industry two years ago when I started at McFarland and I’m so glad I did.

Years in the business: 10 years

My specialization is:  Marketing and Communications, Strategic Planning, Proposal Development  

A good lead for me is: Any connection that can open the door to long-term, professional relationships in commercial construction.

The most satisfying part of my job is: Having the ability to be creative, developing and executing new initiatives, and the people that I work with.

Best leadership advice I have been given:  Don’t be afraid to speak up, share your opinions and ideas openly. Stay true to yourself and align yourself with companies and people that share the same values.

Greatest professional achievement: I think just my continued growth and professional development in my career is my greatest achievement. I’m committed to never stop learning, taking on new responsibilities, and mastering my existing skills. I’ve grown so much throughout my career through self-dedication.

Number of years with CREW: It will be 1 year in October

Most significant CREW connection: Everyone that I’ve met during my time with CREW has been amazing and so welcoming. I’m part of the communications committee with a great group and love working with them to share CREW news and updates through our social media channels.

Place of birth/hometown: Bradenton, Florida

Number of years in Charlotte: 6 years

Family: My husband, Jace, our two children, Harper (5), and Easton (3), and our fur baby, Ariel. I also have a large extended family nearby that’s relocated to the Charlotte area from Florida.

My ideal vacation spot: Back to Florida. We go to Disney every year with the kids. I also love the beach and try to make it there while we’re in Florida but if we don’t, we’ll plan a separate getaway.

Hobbies/Interests: I love cooking and baking. I look forward to going home and making a homecooked meal for the family. I enjoy spending time with my family, no matter what we’re doing. I’ve recently got into gardening as well. 

Other professional organizations I belong to: I’m a member of SMPS Charlotte and part of the communications committee there as well.

I wish I could: Have more hours in the day. Being a working mom with two active kiddos, I’m always busy and would love a few extra hours to get everything done and spend more time with them.

Hailey Innocent
Perkins Eastman


Current job:  Interior Designer 

Summary of your role in the company: As a designer, I have a varied portfolio across a variety of project types including healthcare, commercial mixed use, multifamily, and education. With Perkins Eastman I have extensive experience and a specific focus in senior living. I play a dynamic role on a team, working across all stages of a project from participating in early efforts to secure new work, to master planning and design development, all the way through construction administration and staging. As a project sustainability lead in my current role, I am committed to having the important conversations with clients on enhancing the health of buildings. 

How I chose my occupation: As a people we spend 95% of our time indoors and the impact that indoor spaces have on our physical and mental health is profound. The spaces we occupy have a direct impact on quality of life and I was fascinated with the ability of designers to improve our world following behavioral and spacial studies. 

Years in the business: 5 

My specialization is:   Senior Living 

A good lead for me is:   Developers, community leaders, and organizations engaged in the lifestyle and living markets.  

The most satisfying part of my job is: I especially enjoy working with users through the programming phase of a project. I also enjoy visiting a site after construction, observing how people use the space, and learning about how people are connecting with designs. 

Best leadership advice I have been given:  Leadership is an act of service, not a place of authority. As a leader, you should work to empower and support. 

Greatest professional achievement:  The design of the VA Ventura in California, currently in progress. 

Number of years with CREW: 2 

Most significant CREW connection: Tanna Thomas with Terracon 

Place of birth/hometown: Vero Beach, FL 

Number of years in Charlotte: 5 

Family: Partner, Evan, and fur baby, Coco 

My ideal vacation spot: Any beach 

Hobbies/Interests: Reading, Crafting, Pilates 

Other professional organizations I belong to: ACE and USGBC 

I wish I could: I wish I could work on a local housing project focused on the underserved communities and people in need in the greater Charlotte area.

Sabrina Peace
Parker Poe

Current job:  Associate at Parker Poe Adams & Bernstein, LLP 

Summary of your role in the company:  I practice in the firm’s Banking & Capital Markets Group with a focus on commercial real estate. I represent financial institutions in commercial real estate loans that include construction loans, term financing, and revolving credit facilities. I also work with commercial real estate companies and developers in purchasing, developing, financing, leasing, and selling real estate. 

How I chose my occupation: My father was an attorney in South Africa and I decided to follow in his footsteps.  With childlike wonder, I ignored the long days he clearly worked and just saw how great it was that he loved what he did and got to wear “smart clothes” (a/k/a a suit) to work every day.  Now … much to my dismay, I, unfortunately, work long days as well.  I have 0 regrets, however, because I love what I do… and I also get to wear smart clothes to work every day. 

Years in the business: 6 years 

My specialization is:   Representing financial institutions in commercial real estate loans. 

A good lead for me is:  Any CREW member who enjoys a good glass of wine (but for professional purposes, anyone working for a financial institution looking for representation for any construction loans, term financing etc.) 

The most satisfying part of my job is: Closing day—I absolutely love the adrenaline rush that comes with getting everything ready and reviewed for my client in time for the Federal wire deadline (especially on Fridays).   

Best leadership advice I have been given:  Unfortunately I don’t have a particularly eloquent quote for this, but the best advice I have been given is to be confident in your work and capabilities.  If you have worked hard to get where you are and put in the time, effort and dedication, more often than not, you are exactly what the situation or client requires. You are your own best advocate.   

Greatest professional achievement:  Lawyer’s Weekly Rising Star 2019 

Number of years with CREW: 4 years 

Most significant CREW connection: Everyone I’ve met through the Communications Committee.  I’ve been on this committee since I started with CREW, and I’ve made some invaluable friendships bonding over the joys of Hootsuite scheduling. 

Place of birth/hometown: Johannesburg, South Africa 

Number of years in Charlotte: 4 years 

Family: 1 husband, Andy, who practices the exact same law I do but (thankfully, for the health of our marriage) for a different law firm here in Charlotte, and 2 chaotic but incredible children, Payton (2) and Chip (8 months). 

My ideal vacation spot: Anywhere with views of the beach from a pool (I hate sand) + my Kindle + my Mother watching the kids + my husband bringing me unlimited pina coladas.  Is that really too much to ask?  

Hobbies/Interests: I am an avid reader and knitter.  Last year, I hit my goal of reading 250 books, which was a fun achievement. 

Other professional organizations I belong to: ULI

I wish I could: Read and knit at the same time.  Despite being my two favorite hobbies—I can’t concentrate on one when I’m trying to do the other!

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