On April 30th, CREWBaltimore Outreach Committee members Polly Houck, Absolute Service Industries & Tammy Baczynskj, VSC Fire & Security Inc. coordinated and delivered purses filled with necessities to the seven women graduating from the 2018/2019 session of Learn to Earn at My Sisters’ Place.
Learn to Earn is a six-month internship program that prepares women for careers in various fields through direct training. Following completion of the curriculum, job placement assistance is provided for graduates.
“It was very inspiring to see these wonderful ladies graduate and go on with their new adventures in life,” said Tammy. “Family members being there to support the ladies in addition to the support that My Sisters’ Place has given them to achieve this, is extremely instrumental to them.”
My Sisters’ Place has been a philanthropic partner of CREWBaltimore since 2017. The Center, sponsored by Catholic Charities of Baltimore, provides three meals a day and access to services such as case management, education and job training for women in Baltimore City.
CREWBaltimore continues to support My Sisters’ Place through ongoing donations of travel-sized toiletries and personal care items. The Outreach committee plans to provide a “Christmas in July” next month for the organization, so please considering making a donation today. Donations are being collected at the registration table at all CREWBaltimore events throughout the year. Members can also participate in the drive by making a direct contribution of items through the Amazon Wishlist HERE.
Name, Job Title, Company: Kelli Rivera, Senior General Manager at JLL, guru of all (most) things property management.
How long have you been a CREWBaltimore Member? 3.5 years
What was the experience or motivating factor that compelled you to join CREWBaltimore?Was there someone who influenced you to join? My supervisor at JLL was the President of the Chapter at the time (Amy Lacock) and encouraged me to attend a lunch and learn. This event was the Women of Influence panel and I was charged and ready to be a part of a great organization after attending.
List any CREWBaltimore positions held or committees you have been a part of.
Sponsorship Committee – Director
Sponsorship Committee – Co-Chair Person
Outreach Committee – Member
Have you done business with another CREW member, locally or nationally? I have done business with MANY CREW members. To name a few, Infinity Restoration, Mona Electric, AllSafe Elevator, Arris Design, and Sentral Services. It is the connections that are made at CREW events that allow every member an opportunity to be successful. I can make that statement for both my personal life and professional life.
What 3 business tips can you share with others? The 3 business tips that I can share are: 1. Try, try, try again; 2. A bad failure can turn into a good success; 3. The worst someone can say is “no” – you will never know unless you ask.
What is one trait you wish all female leaders could cultivate? One trait that I wish all female leaders could cultivate is personal assurance. All too often we, females, do not have faith in our own abilities, yet have all the faith in others.
What do you do in your spare time? In my “spare” time I like to do high energy, adrenaline and outdoor activities with my kids. I especially love to go on a hike where cell service is sketchy – the ability to disconnect from outside world is key when involved in such a fast-past working environment.
If someone wrote a biography about you, what do you think the Title should be? Why did you select this title? She who wears many hats. The title is pretty explanatory: mother, wife, business owner, sister, daughter, boss, friend, co-worker. (Just to name a few)
What is your guilty pleasure? My guilty pleasure is sweets. I love making them. I love eating them. My daughter and I frequently watch baking challenges and try to re-create the items.
Following a warm welcome by CREWBaltimore President Nikkia
Fitch, our annual sponsors were thanked, including the event sponsor Miles &
Stockbridge. Michele Cohen,
Principal at Miles & Stockbridge spoke on behalf of her firm.
To kick off the discussion Adrienne Jones, Speaker Pro
Tem/Delegate of the Maryland House of Delegates – 10th District,
provided highlights of the 2019 session.
She noted that the House and Senate have 61 new members this year and
several standing committees. The 2019 focus
has been on education through the Kirwan Commission, and on balancing the
budget. Speaker Pro Tem Jones encouraged
CREWBaltimore members to visit the House Floor and participate in dialog with
the policy committees. She stated that
“women play a critical role in this assembly this year” and noted that several
current committee Chairs and Vice-Chairs are women.
Spencer Levy, Chairman of Americas Research and Senior
Economic Advisor at CBRE
then led a lively discussion about the economic state of Maryland, and
specifically the Baltimore region. After
stating that he believes the three pillars of a region’s success are money,
talent, and infrastructure, the discussion focused on these areas.
Economically, Speaker Pro Tem Jones noted a vast divergence
in the Baltimore region with drastic highs and lows. The region boasts strengths in urbanization,
revitalization based on historical manufacturing origins, and added suburban
revitalization in areas such as Columbia, Annapolis and Towson. A discussion that began with the struggles
surrounding employment and hiring quickly turned the topic from economics to
Mary Ann Scully, CEO of Howard Bank, Speaker Pro Tem
Jones, and Levy all leaned toward support and services for families as having
the greatest impact on education reform.
While college is not for everyone, the Kirwan Commission aims for every
student to be college or career ready
by 10th grade, and not lacking in fundamental skills such as
literacy and math. Scully noted that
Howard Bank is currently putting funds into work-force development, and skills
that are not on a resume, such as curiosity, are also important. Levy suggested that economic integration
within our public-school systems is the answer, stating that “we should do
everything possible to give every kid a shot”.
This sentiment was backed by both the panelists and the audience.
While infrastructure was a lesser discussed topic,
transportation seemed to be the key. Neither
Scully or Speaker Pro Tem Jones backed the idea of a hyperloop between
Baltimore and Washington, D.C. Scully
stated that there are too many other mass transit issues that need to be
addressed first. Ultimately, the region
needs to prepare for behavioral changes in how and where people want to live
Levy, a consummate moderator, added light-hearted banter to
the discussion by encouraging Speaker Pro Tem Jones and Scully to share their
music and television preferences (Speaker Pro Tem Jones prefers R&B music
and T.V. mysteries, while Scully likes Aretha Franklin and the band Chicago and
watches Game of Thrones and Midsomer Murders with her family). With predictions from both panelists for a
recession and a woman in Presidential power in the near future, the discussion
came to a close and was opened for a series of questions and answers.
Name, Job Title, and Company: Kat Sabo, President, Budova Engineering
Describe your job. My job is to develop relationships with members of the A/E/C and CRE communities and learn how Budova can best serve them and their clients. My job is also to find projects that are a good fit for us, write proposals, pay bills, attend every industry event within a three-state radius, return emails in the middle of the night when I am trying to catch up, sponsor events, and a whole hoopla of other things. When you own a small business, you wear many hats and are constantly trying to keep them all from tipping off your head. This is especially difficult on windy days.
How long have you been a CREW Member? Two glorious years
What was the experience or motivating factor that compelled you to join CREWBaltimore? Was there someone who influenced you to join? I knew from the moment I attended my first CREW event that it was an organization with which I wanted to be involved. I met Lindsey Kiefer before I joined, and she went out of her way to follow up on a conversation we had. She’s a good egg.
List any CREWBaltimore positions held or committees you have been a part of. I was the Programs Committee Co-Chair in 2018, and currently I am honored to serve on the Board as the Programs Director.
In your experience, what makes CREW unique from other organizations? Our members are genuine and truly want to help one another professionally and personally. Also, there are no cliques. It’s an easy room to walk into. Please note, these comments are not meant to be disparaging in any way toward other organizations.
Have you done business with another CREW member, locally or nationally? Yes. As soon as I joined CREW, Theresa Stegman of Ancora Partners [she was at its parent company, Cross Street Partners, at the time] invited me to come in to discuss an upcoming project. While there, she asked a colleague, Adam, to join the meeting. Adam’s project also needed LEED services, and Budova was hired for the Hoen Lithograph Building project. We’re also doing the IgCC commissioning on a job for Manns Woodward Studios, thanks to Lindsey Kiefer introducing us after she started working there. Last but certainly not least, I hired Michele Cohen of Miles and Stockbridge who has done a fantastic job helping us with contract negotiations. I look forward to working with many other CREW members in the future.
What is the biggest challenge you have faced in business and how did you overcome it? This is the elephant that is continuously in my room, regardless of whether or not anyone else can see it. Usually it feels like it is sitting on my lap. Although I am the majority owner of an engineering firm, I am not an engineer, so MDOT denied us woman-owned certification. I was shocked. We had just relocated here from Atlanta, didn’t know a soul, and had been told 573 times in the first week that I absolutely needed that certification to break into this market. Once I could get out of my own head about it, I made the decision that we were going to move forward and make it work without it. I’m a big believer in everything happening for a reason and what is meant to be will be. I’ve worked hard to build relationships with people here and have found that to be more valuable than a piece of paper from MDOT. Please note: In case you are reading, MDOT, don’t get me wrong. I’d be happy to accept that piece of paper should you change your mind.
What do you do in your spare time? Provide a fun fact about yourself. Spare time? Now that’s funny. Seriously, though, I used to run. Fun fact? I’ve run ten marathons. No-so-fun fact? Last year I found out I have a herniated disc, a bulging disc, as well as a tear in one of them. I think I need to find a new hobby. Like back surgery. I love reading and watching football, too. I can’t disclose my team or there will be booing in the background; however, if you really want to know, keep reading.
What is your guilty pleasure (TV show, sweet treat, etc.)? Ice cream. Preferably with chocolate jimmies and the most delectable taste in the entire universe, Nutella. I would eat it every day if I could. For every meal. I’m trying not to categorize it as its own food group in 2019, so please excuse my personality this year as a result. It could get ugly.
What would be the first thing you would do if you won the lottery? The second?
Buy Superbowl LIII tickets for my family [me, my husband, & our two sons], my dad, and our good friends in New England.
Put away enough to pay for our sons’ college education and our retirement. Then tell my husband he can go fishing. Every day.
Donate to charities, including CREW Network Foundation of course.
Take my husband and sons on a trip around the world, which would include swimming with dolphins.
Hire a personal chef, trainer, and massage therapist.
Green building is here to stay, and construction firms are getting on board by developing green business models that may include company-wide environmental policies and greenhouse gas reduction goals (80% of the emissions associated with the built environment are from buildings in use). LEED and green building projects are gaining market share. The Engineering News-Record releases its Top Green Building Contractors in August each year and you can bet those on the list not only build green buildings but have green business models as well. There were five contractors with Maryland headquarters on that list in 2018. See the list here: https://www.enr.com/toplists/2018-Top-100-Green-Building-Contractors
The great thing about sustainability is that you can choose what is important for your company. Then, what you do is reflected in your corporate sustainability mission, which will include your construction sites, equipment storage yards, maintenance garages, and your office! Here is a look at five practices for construction contractors to help improve sustainability and resilience for the long term. Why worry about it? These five actions will help drive your green business model and provide efficiencies in processes that lead to reduced costs.
1. Walk the Talk (do what your say you ARE doing)
Conduct a basic inventory of how much energy and water you use at your offices, how much waste you generate, and where it goes. Decide why you want to save resources and set your goals accordingly. You are going to find that savings resources will save you $$$.
Define Best Management Practices (BMPs) for every project
Recycle in your on-site project trailer – a tangible way to impress the project owner!
Create a sustainable procurement policy – recycled paper, and limit or eliminate plastic water bottles
Implement an Indoor Air Quality During Construction policy to demonstrate occupant health protection during construction.
You can only improve what you measure. Do you know how much energy, water, waste, or carbon emissions your company generates?
Support green building in your local community – the Maryland Green Registry is a good place to start and it is super easy. You can find our more here: https://bit.ly/2AqAiAn
It is important not to greenwash, so be prepared to have the data to support whatever you choose to do for sustainability.
2. Build a Sustainable Supply Chain
How can a company be truly sustainable if your suppliers – the raw materials producers, transport and logistic services, component providers, and others along the way are not? By working with your suppliers to let them know about your company goals for environmental sustainability, leading companies are starting to turn supply chain sustainability into a driver of competitive advantage.
Adopting a ‘sustainability by design’ approach to materials sourcing can reduce the impact of materials used in construction – for example, by using alternative recycled/secondary materials, and considering the lifecycle impacts of materials from extraction through to disposal.
A large part of construction energy consumption comes from the manufacturing of materials used in the building process. To offset and reduce this usage, look to low-impact building materials including recycled and repurposed materials.
By using locally sourced lumber, construction firms strengthen the local economy and help decrease transportation costs.
Tell your suppliers you want to source sustainably and that you expect them to contribute toward your goals. By working with suppliers to develop a more sustainable supply chain, companies can cut costs, manage risk better, and add value to your brand.
3. Reduce Waste
A quieter part of the sustainability story is the evolution in construction techniques and materials acquisition that can reduce waste, energy and inefficiencies at building sites. On one of our recent very large projects, the drywall subcontractor utilized drywall prefabrication to reduce waste material and labor costs by approximately 10%. One sustainable material trend in the construction industry is the use of modular buildings. They decrease construction times and minimize waste. The components of these systems are also durable and built to last, so they can be continually re-used and recycled.
REUSE FIRST. When possible – ask your subcontractors if they can take extra stock back to their shop. Some construction firms have storage for extra supplies that can be reused on other projects.
For renovation projects, include a list of local organizations who can take reclaimed materials. They may pick up for free or even pay you for them!
RECYCLE NEXT. In today’s construction projects, it is common to divert 75% or more construction waste. If you have a project renovation, used acoustical ceiling tiles and carpet can be recycled if there’s proof of no hazardous materials. For example, one ceiling tile manufacturer will deliver a tractor trailer to your project site during the demolition for used ceiling tiles and take the load away for no cost.
Make it easy for your subcontractors to recycle by clearly labeling containers and putting them in the right place. Have an agenda item about construction waste for your weekly job site meetings.
4. Use Energy Efficient Equipment & Vehicles
While much of the pollution emitted from construction sites comes from the building process itself, efficient energy management of on-site offices and equipment is an important consideration.
Use temporary site buildings with an energy performance certificate (EPC) rating of A, B, or C to reduce energy usage.
Considering an on-site combined heat and power (CHP) system to transition towards more energy efficient or renewable alternatives to traditional site power.
Use electric vehicles or hybrid trucks
LED battery floodlights
Procure super-low noise construction equipment that complies with Tier I emissions regulations
5. Stand Out with a Green Building-Certified Staff
Training is what sets a competent contractor apart from the rest. Show your clients that your staff has gone the extra mile with LEED Green Associate, a Green Globes Professional, or a LEED AP with designation (LEED AP BD+C). Find out more here: https://bit.ly/2uS7yuW
Over 85 CREW members and guests attended the 2019 Women of Influence Luncheon at the renovated Center Club on January 8th. Following a warm welcome and 2019 preview by CREWBaltimore President Nikkia Fitch of RS&F, moderator Karen Pecoraro (ATC Group Services) facilitated a panel-format discussion around pay inequality and other barriers to female advancement in the CRE industry. This central theme was inspired by the 2018 CREW Network White Paper titled Achieving Pay Parity in Commercial Real Estate (read here).
Panelists Christine Espenshade (JLL), Michele Cohen (Miles & Stockbridge), Laura Penza (Penza Bailey Architects) and Ruth Hoang (Howard Hughes Development) shared tips, challenges and anecdotes about their careers and successes in commercial real estate. Two points of advice repeatedly emerged throughout the discussion.
First, speak up for yourself. “No one will be a better advocate for you than you” said Ruth Hoang. Michele Cohen added that coworkers and supervisors are not “mind readers” and should not be expected to just make things happen on your behalf. Instead, women need to make their case when asking for a raise or promotion. “Track, catalogue, capture your accomplishments” Karen Pecoraro advised. That makes it much easier to recount your contributions when annual review time rolls around, since trying to recall a year’s worth of deals or sales can be difficult. The panel also recommended staying current on reports and publications that provide compensation data for your profession, noting that location can play a big role.
When asked how to avoid the pay gap over the course of a career, advice from the panel varied. “Stay flexible and leave yourself some latitude to do new things” offered Ruth Hoang, referring to the ways in which her willingness to work in new markets and with new clients spurred her progress at Howard Hughes. “Be willing to reinvent yourself” said Christine Espenshade, “especially if you’ve left the workforce for a period of time.” The panel agreed on the importance of staying relevant and connected through networking events and organizations such as CREW.
As a regular participant in annual compensation reviews at Miles and Stockbridge, Michele Cohen noted “our male counterparts self-advocate better more often.” Hoang then stressed the importance of asking for a raise each year and to not settle for a 2-3% cost of living increase, which accentuates the gap. “Be mindful of the math” she added.
The second word of advice from the panel: create your own work/life “harmony”. From choosing your life partner to third-party help, the group emphasized the importance of a support network and agreed that the term “work/life balance” can be misleading. “As women, we think we are the only ones who can handle the pediatrician appointment or stay home with a sick child” Christine Espenshade joked, then added “we are inclined to take on the lion’s share of the duties at home.” In reality, we can all use a little help from the outside to make our home life and career as fulfilling as possible. “Find your thing, find your power, and make it work,” said Laura Penza.
CREW Network has maintained its title as the leading producer of research on women in commercial real estate with the newest white paper, focusing on barriers that continue to affect women’s advancement in the industry.
The 2017 White Paper titled Diversity, The Business Advantage: Best Practices for Gender Equity and Inclusion in Commercial Real Estate looked at 10 commercial real estate companies that have benefited from greater gender equity and a more diverse workforce. The 2018 White Paper titled Achieving Pay Parity in Commercial Real Estate builds off the findings of the 2017 White Paper and presents data, expert insight, and action items for companies and women professionals to close the gender pay gap.
The White Paper explains that “pay parity is when employers can show there is no pay gap across the entire workforce between individuals when it comes to gender, race or ethnicity.” The dictionary definition of parity as the “quality or state of being equal or equivalent.” Commercial Real Estate is under more pressure to address equality issues as companies are striving to meet the goals of quality and diversity inclusion.
Below, are the highlights and key takeaways from this year’s white paper:
Facts and Findings
• The gender pay gap in commercial real estate has decreased since the 2005 study, however, it still exists and is strongest for respondents earning less than $100,000 and above $250,000.
• Studies show that women in commercial real estate are 54% less likely to have a sponsor that can provide career advice or help compared to their male counterparts.
• The pay gap widens as years of experience increases.
• The software company specializing in pay data, PayScale, believes women are less likely to ask for raises compared to men, having a cumulative effect on women as they progress in their careers.
Benefits for Women and Companies
• Companies where women account for most of top management show superior sales growth and higher cash flow return on investment.
• The McKinsey Global Institute stated, “if women—who account for half the world’s population—do not achieve their full economic potential, the global economy will suffer.”
• The Institute of Women’s Policy Research noted that the poverty rate for all working women would be cut in half from 8% to 3.8%.
• 25.8 million children would also feel the benefits of equal pay, decreasing the number living in poverty from 5.6 million to 3.1 million.
Achieving Pay Parity
• Each year, Wells Fargo conducts a pay equity analysis of its US employees, which is 93% of its total workforce.
• The analysis is conducted in the fourth quarter, syncing with the annual pay review cycle, and compares the compensation of employees performing the same work to ensure employees are being paid fairly.
• In February 2018, Wells Fargo’s results showed that their female US employees make more than 99 cents on the dollar than their male counterparts.
• The head of compensation at Wells Fargo, Michael Branca, noted the five lessons learned from the process.
1. Equity starts at the top; leadership must have a commitment to reaching this goal.
2. Cultivate and nurture a diverse workforce. It’s important to pay attention to equality with current employees, but it’s important to keep diversity in mind when hiring and training employees to maintain a diverse workforce.
3. Pay equity is an ongoing process; it’s not a onetime event, it is something that must be a long-term commitment and goal.
4. Engage an expert. It’s important to have someone there to advise the work along the way.
5. You must be competitive. Wells Fargo has created three separate programs for employees to use to help balance work and family life that include options for paid parental leave or caregiving leave.
• Adobe reached equal pay in 2017 after reviewing the job structure of their US employees and analyzing the compensation practices and made the appropriate changes.
• Starbucks has reached 100% of pay equity after 10 years of efforts.
Actions Going Forward
Korn Ferry released an article titled “Equal Pay for Equal Work: The Status Quo is Not an Option” and created a five-step process called “EQUAL” that helps identify possible pay gaps and how to address the root cause.
1. Establish Parameters by scoping the work, developing a plan, identifying data, and assessing perceptions
2. Quantify Gaps by analyzing the data, building pay models, and identifying gaps
3. Understand Drivers by reviewing the root cause and analyzing rewards programs, talent acquisition and management, and governance
4. Action Planning by introducing pay remediation and strategy, design, and culture changes
5. Lead Change by aligning leaders, communications, changing road-map, equipping leaders, and keeping a sustained effort.
You can read the full 2018 White Paper: Achieving Pay Parity in Commercial Real Estate here.
CREWbiz is a business networking tool designed exclusively for CREW members and the primary way to access your benefits. Your personalprofile on CREWbiz can be used to promote your unique skills and expertise to our member base of more than 9,000 members. Upload your photograph; edit your biography; promoteyourself! Feel free to use your profile to tell members about your recent business deals or speaking engagements and articles you’ve written.
You can manage all of your membership functions directly from your CREWbiz profile: search for members, manage your contact information, register for a CREW Network event, purchase from the online store, print receipts for any CREW Network transaction and much, much more!
1. Go to the CREW Network website, http://crewnetwork.org
2. Log into your account via the “Account Login” link in the top right corner (if you do not already have an account, you will need to create one by clicking on “Create a new account”)
3. Select “CREWbiz Community” at the top of the page.
Your personal profile can be managed from the icon in the top right corner of the CREWbiz page.
(Note: changes to your name or organization must be made by CREW Network staff ensure database integrity. After logging into your account and selecting the “About Me” tab, you will see two links: RequestNameChange and RequestOrganizationChange).
Use the CareerCenter to post or browse open positions, manage multiple resumes, and apply for positions quickly and easily. Postings are automatically listed on job sites of more than a dozen other industry organizations for maximum exposure. The CREW Network website also hosts several special interest group forums that connect you with other like-minded members looking to exchange information, share experiences, discuss opportunities or challenges, and provide business support. To access the Career Center, hover over the “About” link and select Career Center.
CREW Network publishes WhitePapers and IndustryResearchReports, cultivated to assist you. Access these valuable resources in the “About” link under “Research” and “Newsroom” on the CREW Network website.
We had the pleasure of representing CREWBaltimore at the Spring Leadership Summit in Cleveland on June 21-22. We heard a lot of great ideas that we are excited to try in our Chapter. We also have some information from CREW Network that we would like to pass along to our Members.
1. Leadership Summits are not just for delegates or board members. Any member can attend. The leadership summits have time dedicated to leadership development as well as to talking about issues faced by chapters and learning what other chapters have tried with success or hardship. There were over 300 attendees in Cleveland. Convention is wonderful, but you get more in-depth leadership training and knowledge of the business side of chapter management and close contact with CREW Network Board of Directors at leadership summits. Upcoming leadership summits are:
2018 Fall Leadership Summit – San Diego, CA – October 17, 2018 (prior to Convention)
2019 Winter Leadership Summit – New Orleans, LA – February 14 & 15, 2019
2019 Spring Leadership Summit – Kansas City, MO – June 6 & 7, 2019
2. Speaking of Convention – Who doesn’t want to go to San Diego in October? We hope to see many of you there October 17-19, 2018. As always, this Convention will have great networking opportunities, keynote speakers, and breakout sessions.
3. CREW Network dues will be increasing in 2019. This increase was approved by the Delegates in 2018. The increase is from $180/year to $210/year. Even with this dues increase, CREW Network remains one of the more affordable organizations for individuals in commercial real estate. The CREWBaltimore board of directors will discuss the increase and the impact on our annual dues as we begin budgeting later this year. We will let you know the impact on your cost of membership as soon as the information is available.
4. The topic for CREW Network’s 2018 whitepaper was announced. It will be on Achieving Gender Pay Equality in Commercial Real Estate. CREWBaltimore Member Karen Pecoraro is a chair of the industry research committee and CREWBaltimore Members Michele Cohen and Karen Sugar are on the committee. We look forward to release of the whitepaper in September!
5. Serving on a CREW Network committee is another way to learn more about the Network and gain leadership experience. Applications will open in late summer and are generally due in September. You can learn about committee experience here. Many CREWBaltimore members are currently serving on CREW Network Committees or have served in the past. You do not need experience as a CREWBaltimore board member to apply. We encourage you to consider applying for a CREW Network committee.
There is so much more we could share with you about our experiences at the Leadership Summits and as members of the CREWBaltimore Board. Please do not hesitate to contact us, or any of the board members, if you have questions or would like additional information.