By Sarah Kelly, SEK Advisors
The CREW Convention opened with the Network Marketplace & Welcome reception. This is always an exciting event to jump start the convention, meet up with CREW Orlando members and other CREW members from chapters all over the country. The CREW Orlando booth was a HUGE hit - giving away the flip flops, the tickets to SeaWorld, Disney and Universal made our booth one of the most popular booths at the Marketplace. The Convention offered learning excursions, a CRE Financial Boot Camp and Building your Commercial Real Estate Business prior to the opening of the Marketplace. Thursday morning Alison Levine, Team captain, First American Women’s Everest Expedition was a fantastic motivator. Her story of the principles that apply to the world of extreme adventure also can apply to a demanding business environment. Her moto “Be relentless about putting one foot in front of the other”.
The breakout sessions included programs on Industrial Transformation: The effects of Ecommerce on Logistics and Market Dynamics, Blockchain: The Future is Now and Stack and Stay: Are Pre-Fab Hotels the Future of Hospitality? My opinion - they are not and have been around for over 20 years!!! The Convention also offered Conversation Corners in the pre-function areas of the hotel for groups of 30 or less. Conversation corners offered Thursday morning were Global CRE: Trends and Perspectives and Mastering Multifamily. This offered yet another new opportunity to network and meet other CREW members from across the country. The general lunch session featured Hessam Nadji, President and CEO of Marcus & Millichap who is frequently sourced by many media groups on the state of Commercial Real Estate. Thursday afternoon offered three more breakout sessions: Experiential Retail, In Plain Sight - Augmented Reality and the Real Estate Landscape and From Urban to Suburban – The Changing Landscape in Senior Living. Additional Learning Excursions were offered along with Mega Sessions on Leveraging Productive Conflict and Consumer Driven Cities. During a refreshment break I met with a CREW member and potential client to work on projects across the nation. I will keep you all apprised if it comes to fruition. Most of our CREW members who attended the Learning Excursions gave very positive feedback about the events. The dine arounds were ever popular filling up 12 dine arounds by Wednesday afternoon!!
Friday morning CREW Network switched its format after feedback from the membership. The General Session: Distinguished Leaders Roundtable featuring Susan Ansel with Gables Multifamily and Hilary Provinse, EVP head of Mortgage Banking with Berkadia. These two-woman talked about what it takes to be successful in the Commercial Real Estate. They spoke about working hard, never turning down an opportunity because it may not be in your wheel house and always having integrity. During the interview they were asked what was your worst job? Hilary talked about a fruit stand she worked at while in high school on the eastern shore. All she did was cut fruit, very boring, but it has been a good experience for her while planning parties with fruit! Then during the open Q& A a CREW Network member got up and said that was her Aunt’s store! Everyone laughed including Hilary. CREW Network honored the scholarship recipients and they chose a spokesperson who gave a heartwarming speech about thankfulness and opportunities.
Friday’s Conversation Corners discussed How the “Age of Choice” is Influencing Workplace Design and How to Make Shift Happen. The breakout sessions included Global Lending, Healthcare Real Estate: Fountain of Youth or Road to Extinction, and Cannabis: Implications of Changing Laws in Canada. The best part of the entire convention again in my opinion was Keynote speaker Robin Roberts, Co-anchor of ABC’s Good Morning America. As a huge fan of ABC’s Good Morning America I have watch Robin Roberts go through two phases of battling cancer with grace, compassion and true leadership. Her presentation was great and brought tears to many of our CREW members. My take away from Robin is “Optimism is a muscle that grows when used!”
As the CREW Network Convention came to a close we celebrate San Diego for its chamber of commerce weather, we Floridian’s so enjoyed, and we celebrate CREW Network for another fantastic Convention. Next stop Orlando for CREW Network’s 30th anniversary. It’s going to be HUGE!!! I would like to thank the CREW Orlando Board of Directors for the opportunity to attend the Convention. As a small business owner the scholarship offered by CREW Orlando helped financially. Thank you, CREW Orlando!!