New York CREW Convention 2016 - Summary by Emily Martinson

Thursday, Dec 7, 2017

Thanks to CREW Calgary, I was recently afforded the opportunity to attend the CREW Network Convention in New York City. Whenever I get asked how it was, a wide mouthed smile comes across my face and then--if you’re lucky--I will eventually stop talking about how awe inspiring I thought the speakers were and how much I enjoyed getting to know my fellow CREW members!

This year’s convention was dedicated to the concept of impact and it certainly lived up to the theme by leaving a lasting one on me. The Convention was kickstarted at the Canadian Chapters Reception, hosted by our very own CREW Calgary at the offices of Oxford Properties Group. It was here that I was able to meet CREW members from across Canada, as well as reconnect with women who I had the privilege of meeting at the 2012 Convention in Chicago. My first night in the Big Apple was one of my favourites as it ended with a group of us from CREW Calgary getting to know each other better by sharing stories of our professional and personal lives; it truly got me excited for the days to come!

Thursday morning began with a bang, literally! We were all given drumsticks and quickly began creating our own beats. It wasn’t until all 1,500+ attendees started working in collaboration (with a little help) that we were able to create a rhythm. The notion of supporting one another to produce something remarkable was further exemplified by an analogy that CREW Network President, Laurie Baker, used in her opening remarks regarding redwood trees; a redwood’s survival is dependent on the other trees around them. Their roots are extremely shallow, yet they grow as tall as a football field without toppling over. This is possible because of their interlocking root system with other redwoods. The same goes for women in commercial real estate, we need stand by one another, influence and inspire each other, foster relationships and together, create business opportunities.

Laurie then welcomed the thought‐provoking and engaging, Amy Cuddy, whose opening session on the power of nonverbal behaviour truly set the tone for the rest of the Convention. Power Posing (think victory pose with both arms up in the air) became a new norm and I left Amy’s session feeling like I have the power to be more confident, present, influential and satisfied.

Not only did we hear from remarkable speakers like Amy Cuddy and later, Mary Ann Tighe (CEO, New York Tri‐State Region CBRE), we also had an opportunity to hear the latest on what’s happening in commercial real estate. Hot Trends in Industrial Development was a favourite session of mine. Learning about the complexities associated with developing, leasing and managing Data Centres and E‐Commerce warehousing was of particular interest given the growing demand and uniqueness of these asset classes.

Another favourite real estate session of mine was the Spotlight on Hudson Yards, America’s largest private development. Five panelists, all women who are actively involved in the project, discussed its complexities. They represented a variety of disciplines integral to the project including leasing, government, engineering, finance and legal. We learned how the project came about from the perspective of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, the challenges associated with developing over an active railyard with minimal available surface area, the mix of occupants, the complicated construction financing and the incredible architecture that is being pursued. This session in particular left a lasting impact on me because I was then able to see Hudson Yards firsthand and the panelists’ discussions truly resonated with me.

On the final day of Convention, we heard from two remarkable, yet completely different, key‐note speakers. Sallie Krawcheck, CEO and Co‐Founder of Ellevest, struck me with her humour and passion for investing in women. While Admiral William McRaven’s harrowing experiences in the Navy (including taking down Osama Bin Laden) initially had me wondering how I was ever going to relate, but he later left me in awe by his humble nature and stories of servant leadership and Socratic methods in decisionmaking.

All in all, the 2016 CREW Convention was an incredible experience for me. My relationships with fellow CREW Calgary members have been strengthened and I took away much more than I had ever anticipated from the powerful speakers and thought‐provoking real estate sessions. I am truly grateful for the support from CREW Calgary! I’ve drunk the Crew‐laid and look forward to returning to another Convention in the future.