Sponsor Spotlight: Omega Fire & Life Safety

 

 

 

 

Why did you join CREWBaltimore? What makes CREWBaltimore different?

Upon starting our company, we researched local networking groups that would give us access to our desired customer base and allow for professional skill development. From the first event when I was welcomed by Karen Pelton and Brenda Bodian, I knew CREWBaltimore equaled professional networking with a personal touch.

How long have you been a CREWBaltimore member / member company?

7.5 years

What do you want CREWBaltimore members to know about your company?

Omega Fire & Life Safety designs, inspects, monitors, and services scalable fire alarm, IP camera, card access, area of refuge (AOR), and security systems. Our company provides solutions during the design and install stages that encompass the long-term goal of simplifying the daily lives of building owners, property managers, facilities teams, and their tenants.

Which CREWBaltimore event have you most enjoyed in the past year and why?

The luncheon panels are always a favorite of mine. The sincerity and knowledge of the panelists and the moderators comes through every time and I always leave with new insight that helps  in both my professional and personal development.

Best weekend activity in Baltimore?

I use my weekends to get outdoors – I head to area ski slopes in the winter with my snowboard and hiking spots the rest of the year. And, of course, eating steamed crabs when possible!

What are the benefits of women supporting women in the CRE industry?

To me, the benefit is that we are learning to focus on and support the development of the attributes which individuals actually have direct control over. Being aware of inequities makes me look at how a person approaches his or her education, career choices, and professional networking.  Attributes such as drive, planning, sincerity, and ethics speak volumes about a person.

I often say you can be purple with green polka dots and a tail; it does not matter as long as you approach each interaction purposefully and ethically – that is an opportunity every single person has at his or her fingertips each day.

Best book or article you’ve read that had you fired up to take on the day/week/year at work?

The 4-Hour Work Week by Tim Ferriss.

Which CREWBaltimore event are you most excited about this year?

The Beacon Awards on November 13th at the Lord Baltimore Hotel.

Tell us about a project, program or initiative that your company will be working on in 2020.

Omega Fire & Life Safety is overhauling both its internal systems and the website to give customers multiple methods to connect with us to request a service call or inspection, share fire alarm and security system monitoring updates, access inspection reports and service tickets, pay invoices, and see the progress of fire alarm, security, IP camera, and card access system installs and renovation projects. We have a variety of customers with a mix of preferences from old-school phone calls to mobile alerts; our continued goal is to simplify interactions and get to the solutions more quickly. This is a benefit for anyone involved in the interaction.

Member Spotlight: Susie Kelly

Susie Kelly, Property Manager, Grander Capital Partners, LLC

Susie Kelly, Property Manager, Grander Capital Partners, LLC manages two Class A downtown assets in Baltimore City. She oversees the operation day to day, as well as the financial asset management for both buildings.

How long have you been a CREW Member?
2 Years

What was the experience or motivating factor that compelled you to join CREWBaltimore? Was there someone who influenced you to join?
My manager at the time encouraged me to join and get involved. I was in a new position and was looking for ways to grow in my career while simultaneously connect with industry leaders. I joined the Membership Committee, which was the perfect place to start with CREWBaltimore. I was connected with both new and senior members, while having the opportunity to recruit more talent for our organization.

List any CREWBaltimore positions held or committees you have been a part of:
Membership Committee & Director of Membership for CREWBaltimore Board – Present

In your experience, what makes CREW unique from other organizations?
CREWBaltimore does an exceptional job of combining both network opportunities and career development, while most organizations focus on one or the other. This organization celebrates women in all stages of their careers by fostering mentoring opportunities, business to business partnerships, and engaging industry trailblazers to speak at our events.

How does CREWBaltimore support your career or leadership skills?
CREWBaltimore has encouraged me to take on leadership and career growth that I may not have thought I was ready for. When asked to be the Director of Membership, I was intimidated by the role. But with the support of our 2020 Leadership (and a lot of “You can do this!” conversations), I am so appreciative of the opportunity and truly look forward helping our chapter membership grow.

What do you think makes a good mentor and have you established any mentoring relationships through CREW?
In my opinion, a good mentor is someone who inspires you on a global, local, and personal level. Whether it be encouraging career dreams and aspirations, or motivating you to grow in your day to day activities, a good mentor pushes progress while cultivating individual growth. I have been very fortunate to have met amazing mentors through CREW guiding me with different perspectives.

Provide a fun fact about yourself.
For my 30th birthday, my husband flew me to LA to see my idol Ellen Degeneres. I love how Ellen brings positivity and laughter into everything she does.

What is your guilty pleasure (TV show, sweet treat, etc.)?
My guilty pleasure is definitely the show “The Office”. I am obsessed and have rewatched it atleast 10 times and can recite any line.

What would be the first thing you would do if you won the lottery?
If I won the lottery, the first thing I would do is travel. The first three places I would go would be: Azores, Morocco, & Australia.

Student Scholarship Recipient: Megan Welch!

 

Each year, the CREWBaltimore Chapter selects one student amongst many applicants as the recipient of the CREW Baltimore Scholarship. The scholarship is awarded to a strong female student who is pursuing a career in commercial real estate while also enhancing their education.

We are delighted to announce this year’s recipient, Megan Welch! Megan is a student at the Johns Hopkins Carey Business School’s Edward St. John Real Estate Program. We had a chance to connect with Megan and learn more about her past achievements and her hopes for the future in her Real Estate career.

After graduating Cum Laude from the University of Denver with a focus in Business Administration: Hospitality Management and International Business, Megan began her career working with Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants. Megan had many major achievements with Kimpton. She was a strong asset to their team, and facilitated the opening of 22 hotels in the US, Canada and the Caribbean. After four successful years with the company, Megan realized that although she loved the industry, she was ready to transition back to a student role and continue her education in real estate.

At the Carey Business School, Megan is working to receive her Master of Science in Real Estate Development and Infrastructure, and is set to graduate in August of 2020. Megan is interested in diving deeper into the development world, noting that development touches so many areas aside from construction which makes it attractive to her. Being one of nine females in the class, the only non-international female, and a member of the Real Estate Club, Megan is also working on a team for a local case study competition.

Megan is looking forward to attending one of our events in the coming months, and is eager to learn more about the opportunities CREWBaltimore has available to women in our area. Megan has a bright future ahead of her in the CRE World, and we couldn’t be happier to award her this year’s student scholarship!

Sponsor Spotlight: Absolute Services Industries

 

Why did you join CREWBaltimore? What makes CREWBaltimore different ?

 I was looking to establish an expansion network to my contacts.

I attended a couple of luncheons and was pleasantly greeted by board members each time.  It was also good that I only knew about 25% of the room attendees each luncheon.  The diversity of the group, the friendliness of the board and the opportunity to network with professionals I hadn’t met is why I joined.

 

How long have you been a CREWBaltimore member / member company?

I have been a member and sponsor for about 8 years now.

 

In 2-3 sentences, what do you want CREWBaltimore members to know about your company?

Absolute (MDOT (MBE/WBE) #13-222 & Baltimore City (MBE/WBE) #17-374062), provides commercial janitorial service throughout the tri-state area. We are happy to “earn your trust” with project services such as stone honing, floor restoration, carpet maintenance as well as construction/vacancy cleans. 

 

Which CREWBaltimore event have you most enjoyed in the past year and why?

National Federation for the Blind construction tour. It was nice to see a great company grow its message.

 

Best weekend activity in Baltimore?

Live music at Mecu.

 

What the benefits of women supporting women in the CRE industry?

There are more female property managers in our market. Female service providers can be quite the resourceful teammate.  We get each other.

 

Best book or article you’ve read that had you fired up to take on the day/week/year at work?

Becoming, Michelle Obama.

 

Which CREWBaltimore event are you most excited about this year?

The holiday party, it is always nice to take a moment to show thanks and appreciation.

 

Tell us about a project, program or initiative that your company will be working on in 2020.

During COVID-19, we have hired teachers, food industry servers as well as other furloughed employees to support our disinfection projects.

 

 

Women of Influence | Navigating the Climb

CREWBaltimore 2020 Women Business Owners

On January 21st, CREWBaltimore hosted the Women of Influence luncheon featuring Shina Parker, CEO & Founder of Integrity Title & Escrow, Karen Singer, Esq., Principal at KMS Partners, Colleen Vacelet, President of Intreegue Design, and moderated by Theresa Tsamoutalis, President & Principal of Allsafe Elevator Inspections. Topics of discussion ranged from juggling the work/home balance to why these women decided to strike out on their own.

To understand why these women are so exceptional, it helps to understand the demographics of the workforce and CRE in particular. The numbers of women and men first starting out in the workforce at the beginning of their careers are fairly equal, 75% are men and 74% are women. By mid-career, men outpace women in managerial roles 47% to 40%. By late-career those numbers are even higher, with 57% of men occupying managerial jobs and only 41% of women in the same position. Women represent 35% of the workforce in the US and only occupy 9% of the C-Suite positions. In commercial real estate specifically, there is a 23.3% pay gap in starting salaries between men and women. So how did these women navigate the industry to become leaders?

Their reasons for striking out on their own came from very different places. As a landscape architect, Vacelet found that she had hit the pay ceiling but worked diligently to gain experience and knowledge. That hard work eventually paid off and enabled her to start her own company and acquire her previous employer. When Parker was told to “know her place” after she was responsible for bringing in more than half of her previous employer’s business, she knew she had no other option than to start her own company. Twenty-one years later, she now owns the number one women-owned minority title company in the State of Maryland. Singer found herself in a different situation when corporate restructuring resulted in her being laid off with no plan B. Over the next several months she continued to network before starting her own firm working with developers in the market.

So how did they succeed in an industry that is statistically challenging for women? For Singer, she believes luck doesn’t just happen. Her advice is to put yourself out in the universe and lay the foundation of who you want to associate with. Continue to ask for feedback and take the time to listen. Vacelet believes the most important part to success is having a clear vision. Success isn’t what you want to be, it’s who you want to be. For Parker, success is the result of how you use the opportunities you have.

Closing words of advice from the panel were: Don’t be afraid to toot your own horn. Ask for feedback and listen; be teachable. Be a mentor, don’t overlook the associate or the assistant. After decades of progress, the demographics of the industry look the same. Push for diversity wherever possible.

Member Spotlight- Nancy Ferrell

 

Nancy Ferrell, SVP, Northmarq

Nancy R Ferrell, SVP, Managing Director of the Baltimore Office of NorthMarq Capital. NorthMarq provides debt, equity and loan servicing to commercial real estate owners and investors.

How long have you been a CREW Member?

15+ years

What was the experience or motivating factor that compelled you to join CREWBaltimore?

Many years ago, I went to a CREW function and met several people.

List any CREWBaltimore positions held or committees you have been a part of.

Mainly a speaker/moderator for panel discussions including the annual CREW industry outlook.

In your experience, what makes CREW unique from other organizations?

It’s difficult to be unique with so many other functions but CREW keeps the content relevant and current.

How does CREWBaltimore support your career or leadership skills?  

Mainly meeting people at events.

Have you done business with another CREW member, locally or nationally?

Yes locally.

What advice do you have for women pursuing careers in CRE? Don’t differentiate, just do your job well and find mentors through CREW or through your company.

What do you think makes a good mentor and have you established any mentoring relationships through CREW? I have mentored in my company.  We have a women’s group in our company and we have quarterly calls in which anyone can discuss issues or successes or just mentorship questions.

What 3 business tips can you share with others? Keep your head down and work hard, ask for help and find a great mentor.

What is one trait you wish all female leaders could cultivate?

Confidence

What is the biggest challenge you have faced in business and how did you overcome it? I was the only female producer in our office and the first in our company.  I learned to use my skills to cultivate clients and always took my then boss to meetings which helped me start client relationships back in the 1980’s.

What is your most significant accomplishment? Being a successful producer and being involved on boards – House of Ruth and an all-girls school.

What do you do in your spare time? Athletics- Tennis, Golf, Biking and Hiking.

What is your guilty pleasure?

Hallmark Channel 🙂

 

 

Sponsor Spotlight: Unlimited Restoration, Inc.

Why did you join CREWBaltimore? What makes CREWBaltimore different?

I was warmly welcomed by several members at the first meeting that I attended. I enjoyed the speaker and the camaraderie among the members. I joined to make connections and network with other women in the fast paced, ever changing commercial real estate industry. CREWBaltimore is women helping women advance and championing our accomplishments. Because of the warm welcome that I received at my first event, I look for those with a “Guest” ribbon on their name tag to welcome them and encourage them to join.

 

How long have you been a CREWBaltimore member / member company?

10 years

 

In 2-3 sentences, what do you want CREWBaltimore members to know about your company?

Unlimited Restoration caters exclusively to commercial/industrial locations, and we have the unique capabilities to return businesses to pre-loss condition in the shortest possible time after disaster such as flood, fire, mold, biohazard or sewer back-up. From one room to an entire building, no job is too small or too large for URI. We are property specialists. It’s all we do. We are just three miles from center city Baltimore, allowing us to respond promptly to any emergency when every minute counts.

 

Which CREWBaltimore event have you most enjoyed in the past year and why?

The golf outing. It was a fun event to raise money to fund our community outreach efforts for the year. I loved seeing people be so happy to win the baskets that we raffled off.

 

Best weekend activity in Baltimore?

Brunch! So many outstanding places, only 52 Sundays a year.

 

What are the benefits of women supporting women in the CRE industry?

Women who collaborate and support each other make an impact. Women have the unique perspective of juggling work and the demands of family and can share tips for managing both.

 

Best book or article you’ve read that had you fired up to take on the day/week/year at work?

“Make Your Bed: Little Things That Can Change Your Life…And Maybe the World” by Admiral William H. McRaven. It’s a quick read and very inspirational.

 

Which CREWBaltimore event are you most excited about this year?

Beacons!! A fantastic event to honor those who make a difference in the commercial real estate industry and in our community.

 

Tell us about a project, program or initiative that your company will be working on in 2020.

We are investing in new equipment so that every job is executed with the latest technology. All supervisors are being trained in Xactimate, which is the program that insurance carriers use for claims.

 

 

Member Spotlight- Brandi Hanback

 

Brandi Hanback, EVP, Rockefeller Group

Brandi Hanback, Executive Vice President of Development for Rockefeller Group

I am part of the senior development leadership team at RGI, creating development strategy and executing against strategy by coordinating the activities of our regional teams and our corporate leadership.

How long have you been a CREW Member?

 I joined in 2013.

What was the experience or motivating factor that compelled you to join CREWBaltimore? Was there someone who influenced you to join? 

I was working on a project with Jim Kilberg and he insisted I meet his terrific wife Lori who was on the Board of CREW Network at the time.  I attended my first annual conference in 2013 and the rest is history. Lori introduced me to Baltimore CREW members: Lou Ann Dent, Joan Renner and Kristen Pleasants and we became instant friends and professional allies.

List any CREWBaltimore positions held or committees you have been a part of.  

I have enjoyed serving on the Finance Committee.

What advice do you have for women pursuing careers in CRE?

Go for it!  There are so many facets of CRE where talented women can thrive and command success.  My advice is to get educated, hone your skills and expand your network.

What is one trait you wish all female leaders could cultivate?

Be daring and don’t allow yourself to be convinced that you can’t do it or you don’t have what it takes to succeed.  Be persistent and adapt when needed to overcome the inevitable obstacles and setbacks.  Learn from mistakes and move on. Be a problem solver.

What is the biggest challenge you have faced in business and how did you overcome it?

My career path has been varied and just about the time I think I have “mastered” an important skill, another skill takes precedence.  It is humbling to know there is always more to learn and no matter how experienced you are there is always growth potential.  Stay curious and embrace the unknown.

What is your most significant accomplishment?

Being a good wife, mother, daughter, sister, friend and colleague (in no particular order). It is most rewarding to be part of someone else’s success.  I strive to prioritize the right people at the right time.

What do you do in your spare time?

We have a 4-month old golden retriever named Apollo.  We try to outsmart each other and more times than I would like to admit, he wins!

If someone wrote a biography about you, what do you think the Title should be?

“Perfecting Imperfection”.  I strive every day to excel and I care about bringing my best.  Every day I fall short of perfect but every day I learn, grow, and refuse to quit.

 

 

Sponsor Spotlight: Allsafe Elevator Inspections

 

How long have you been a CREWBaltimore member or member company?

Theresa Tsamoutalis and Allsafe Elevator Inspections joined in 2011.

In 2-3 sentences, what do you want CREWBaltimore members to know about your company?

I am very proud of Allsafe. In 2009 when I was 27, I started the company in the very small basement of a home in Canton that I rented with 3 other roommates. Now in 2020 along with a much larger management team, we have 5 offices and we perform inspections and consulting work across the country.  

What the benefits of women supporting women in the CRE industry?

The benefits are momentous. If we help each other along the way, the journey is easier for us together and then easier for those also along the path. Breaking through the “glass” ceiling alone does not have the long-term impact if you are not leading others behind you. Ultimately, it also makes work more fun and rewarding.

Best book or article you’ve read that had you fired up to take on the day/week/year at work?

A Daily Devotional by Father Barnabas Powell:

(https://www.ancientfaith.com/podcasts/faithencourageddaily)- and you do not need to be a Greek Orthodox Christian to enjoy it!

Every morning, I read this reflection and it helps set the tone for my day or helps me reset nervous energy or anxiousness.

Which CREWBaltimore event are you most excited about this year?

CREWMates!!!! I think this program will be a game changer. It is so many things, yet so simple. It’s a mastermind alliance, a small group network, a think tank, and professional & personal support group within CREWBaltimore. What will come of these small groups is professional development no matter where you are in your career. Per the White Paper, those later in their career need this support the most. We will do this while having fun too because ultimately life is too short not to have fun and have a few laughs.