Archive of ‘CREWspective’ category

Five Practices for Construction Firms to Build Sustainability

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:

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:
  • 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.
Recycle on your job sites to keep reusable materials out of the landfill and save on haul costs (Photo used with permission Craig Williams, Owner, Bargain Dumpsters, Ilmo, SC)

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:

CREW Convention 2018

This year’s CREW Network Convention and Marketplace is being held at the Manchester Grand Hyatt In San Diego, CA. To many, the word “convention” sounds like long days filled with listening to lectures in a convention center; but the CREW Network Convention is so much more. Each day, attendees are provided with education, professional development, inspiration and insight from guest speakers, and are given the chance to take part in educational excursions.

The excursions offered are ones of a wide variety. They allow the convention attendees to explore the host city and explore the commercial real estate they may have never been to before. When looking back on last year’s events, Michele Bresnick Walsh of Gordon Feinblatt, LLC, reflected on one of the excursions she participated in at the NRG Stadium, home to the Houston Texans. Attendees were welcomed to a private tour of the facility and were able to get an inside look at future expansion plans for the entire park. Michele was also invited to join a dinner that was hosted by a law firm that included around 30 female attorneys from across the country. “I was the only attorney there that focused on the securities laws aspects investment in real estate deals, and I made some great connections with women in Hawaii, Arizona and Texas who I have maintained contact with over the last year,” Michele said of the dinner.

The excursions planned provide an opportunity for CREW members to meet other members from all over the country. When discussing her opportunities at the convention, Michele describes it as “a great opportunity for me to get to know my fellow CREWBaltimore members and have a better understanding of how we can help each other in our respective businesses.”

Continuing to offer variety, CREW has planned excursions that range from “From Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) to Beer,” to “When Architecture and Science Collide,” and also “Commercial Real Estate and the Business of Tourism.”

Excursions still available include a construction tour of the new One Paseo mixed use development. Located in Del Mar Heights, attendees will get a pre-construction look at the residential, office, and retail plans and the process that lead up to the approval of this project and the challenges met along the way.

Also still available, is the learning excursion “Conversation with Deal Makers.” An interactive session, attendees will be able to hear from the people that are behind some of the biggest projects in San Diego’s East Village. This Excursion will be in the Ultimate Skybox on the top of the DiamondView Tower, which holds the title as one of the highest-priced office rents in the area. Attendees will get to hear how a risky project like the DiamondView Tower was created and how something that started out as a gamble, turned out to be a great success.

The 2018 CREW Network Convention and Marketplace takes place October 17-19, 2018 in San Diego, CA. Additional information and registration can be found at You can also take a look at CREW Convention tips on this Open Forum.

The Power of CREW Network – Making the Most of Your Membership

By Nikkia Fitch, CPA, CREWBaltimore President-Elect

Are you taking advantage of all that CREW Network offers its members? 

Most of you are aware that members receive discounted pricing for CREWBaltimore events and have access to some of the most influential professionals within the commercial real estate world at each CREWBaltimore event, but guess what?  There’s so much more value to being a member of CREW Network!

Two of the most valuable CREW membership benefits are:

  • Access to CREWBiz, CREW Network’s exclusive membership community of professionals in the commercial real estate industry from the U.S., Canada, and the UK; and
  • The ability to attend CREW Network Leadership Summits and its Annual Convention

Since CREW Network relaunched the organization’s website in 2017, some fantastic, new features have been added to the CREWBiz Community. Not only do CREW Network members have access to the exclusive member directory, but now every member can connect with other CREW Network members through the CREW Network Open Forum. 

What is the CREW Network Open Forum? The CREW Network Open Forum is a tool to participate in discussions with other CREW Network members globally about topics that are important to members. 

Some of the daily activity on the Open Forum includes:

  • Discussions about the advancement of women in the commercial real estate industry and the 2017 Whitepaper on Diversity and Inclusion
  • Job postings for open commercial real estate positions from other CREW Network members
  • Members seeking referrals for attorneys, accountants, title and escrow companies or others to assist with current commercial real estate transactions
  • Requests for suggestions and best practices for chapter level initiatives
  • Invitations for members to connect at upcoming conferences related to commercial real estate

New discussion topics are added each day and give members the opportunity to connect with each other using the Open Forum. CREW Network promotes this through the daily CREW Network Open Forum Digest emails. It is a resource for all members to start a dialogue about the topics that interest us the most, you can view the most recent posts here.  

Do you have the CREWBiz App on your mobile phone?  In relaunching the CREW Network website, the CREWBiz App was also relaunched. The CREWBiz App gives you mobile access to the CREW Network member directory, the CREW Network Open Forum and to documents in the CREWBiz Library, which is a resource for chapter playbooks, chapter tools, the speakers’ directory and much more. At a recent event, I used the CREWBiz app to electronically exchange contact information with another CREW member, no business cards needed! There are so many features to explore, I encourage you to give it a try!

CREW Network events are held regularly during the year and all members can take advantage of discounted pricing. All CREW Network events offer professional development and leadership training as well as ample opportunities to increase your network beyond your local market and to become involved in CREW at the Network level. For instance, at the 2018 Winter CREW Network Leadership Summit, there were invigorating leadership sessions with Marsha Petrie Sue and Bonnie Marcus, two leading professional development coaches, and networking receptions with members from all over the country and Canada. You do not need to be a Chapter leader to attend these events!

Members who attend these CREW Network events come back motivated to advance their careers and invigorated by the comradery exhibited at each event. Valuable relationships are built and deals are made from attending the CREW Network Leadership Summits and Annual Convention and Marketplace. Also, many members participate in CREW Network Committees and the CREW Network Board after making connections at these events, which can launch your career to a higher status. Please consider attending CREW Network’s 2018 Spring Leadership Summit in Cleveland, OH and the 2018 Annual Convention and Marketplace in San Diego, CA. For additional information about upcoming CREW Network events, please visit  

These are just a few of the many benefits of being a member of CREWBaltimore. There’s much more to gain from being a member of the premier professional organization in the commercial real estate industry. So ask yourself what you can do to gain more value from your membership and take steps today!






Winter Leadership Summit 2018

CREW Network posted a recent article featuring the latest CREW Leadership Summit in Tucson, Arizona. Leadership Summits are not just for delegates—outside of chapter leader development, the panelists spoke about leadership and development training that can be useful for each member. In addition to informative seminars, CREW Network also informs members of organization updates. At this summit, attendees were notified that Network will soon be releasing an updated Strategic Plan and that the Gold Standard Playbook is being re-worked. Please enjoy the article below, with one of the photos featuring our President-Elect, Nikkia Fitch of RS&F

CREWBaltimore President-Elect Nikkia Fitch

Read CREW Network’s post here

“A leader is one who knows the way, goes the way, and shows the way.” —John Maxwell

As anyone who has worked for someone knows, there are many different leadership styles. These styles vary from highly autocratic to extremely participative, and they can each be effective in different scenarios. Understanding your leadership style can help you become a more effective leader as well as enable the people you are leading. Taken from, there are four main leadership styles: Pragmatist, Idealist, Steward, and Diplomat.

Pragmatists are driven, competitive, and value hitting their goals above all else. There are many learning opportunities for those who work under Pragmatists. It is the least common of all the leadership styles (8-12%), but top executives have a higher percentage of Pragmatists than other levels. Idealists want to learn and grow, and are open-minded. There is less structure to this style and it is highly creative. About 15-20% of American leaders have this style. Stewards value rules, process, and cooperation. There may not be as many opportunities to shine individually, but Stewards value team successes. Like Idealists, about 15-20% of leaders have this style. Diplomats value their employees, seeking to put them in positions that showcase their strengths rather than their weaknesses. They are known for being able to resolve conflicts peacefully. This leadership style accounts for 50-60% of American leaders and is the most common.

Members of CREW can employ each of the above styles, both within the organization and their own companies. In CREW specifically, we can be Diplomats by mentoring young women who are starting their careers in the CRE industry, both as part of CREW Network’s foundation and to our younger CREW members. We can be Stewards by working within our committees to fulfill their functions. We can be Pragmatists by working towards and completing the goals outlined by our Chapter President, including Chapter Challenge, and using the well-researched White Papers and Playbooks released by Network for our Chapter’s benefit. And we can be Idealists by thinking outside of the box to plan events for the coming year and generate forward thinking content for our blog.

Being a leader is not just about having a title. Your actions can speak volumes, and those in specific leadership roles look to those in the membership who exhibit these traits to help the Chapter grow and outperform year after year. And as they said at the CREW Leadership Summit, “leadership is a team sport, so let’s get in the game!”

It Was Worth It: The 2016 CREW Network Convention and Marketplace Recap

The 2016 CREW Network Convention and Marketplace has come and gone, but that doesn’t mean CREW members have stopped benefitting from the lessons learned at this year’s overwhelmingly successful event.

The 4-day convention featured educational seminars, area tours, networking, roundtable events/workshops, and inspirational speakers that offered invaluable knowledge pertaining to the commercial real estate industry.

CREWBaltimore awarded this year’s annual CREW Network Convention & Marketplace Scholarships to Kristen Pleasants of Basis Point Advisors, Karyn Tasker of CohnReznick Baltimore, Wendie Cassini of Hyperspace, and Beth Hardsock of Omega Fire & Life Safety, enabling all four women to attend Convention in New York City.

Wondering whether or not to attend the 2017 Convention & Marketplace? Take it from this year’s scholarship recipients – the trip was well worth it.

Karyn Tasker | CohnReznick Baltimore

“The 2016 CREW Network Convention and Marketplace in New York City saw the largest turnout ever. My first convention experience began with attending the First-Time Attendee Orientation. Several retiring CREW Network Board Members joined us to provide information on what to expect and how to make the most of our convention experience. I had no idea how many great speakers I would have the pleasure to listen to and the great sessions I would have to choose from during the next two days.

With so many amazing speakers at Convention, it is hard to summarize what I learned without feeling like I’m leaving out so many important details. This year’s theme was IMPACT, and that is what Convention left with me. I want to thank CREWBaltimore for offering the scholarship toward Convention that made it possible for me to attend this year. I’m looking forward to next year in Houston!”

Beth Hardsock | Omega Fire & Life Safety

“No matter what your role is in commercial real estate or your personal beliefs and experiences, it is possible to learn from each and every speaker at the CREW Network Convention and Marketplace.

Having now been to three conventions since joining CREWBaltimore four years ago, I encourage everyone to attend at least one convention to experience alternative viewpoints on our industry’s emerging trends. You will meet CRE professionals from your own field as well as many others that touch the same projects you do.

My biggest take-away is that everyone in commercial real estate needs to understand the role of the other players in a transaction from start to finish and how to best share information and at what stage. From the initial idea for a site, through the contracts, design, construction, and eventual maintenance and management, CRE professionals must take steps to speak with others involved with the project and know how your role affects his or her role and vice versa.”

Wendie Cassini | Hyperspace

“The sessions at this year’s CREW Network Convention and Marketplace were fantastic. Specifically, one of the breakout sessions included information on the latest designing and marketing office space trends. I was able to relate to that breakout session from knowledge of today’s workplace strategy. Everything is open space collaboration. Office space is changing, and that is one of the main concepts that I sell and work with on a daily basis.

The other breakout session I experienced was about the high line effect and converting un-used spaces to new usable concepts. For example, using space over garages, or turning old, unused buildings like museums into usable space again – essentially, repurposing spaces. You can always find business through general contractors and design firms, so stay in touch with them and the industry to know what projects are coming to life.

Besides the industrial knowledge gained at convention, the other women and I discussed a lot of ways we can strategize in our daily professional and personal life. We had the opportunity to do this during networking happy hour and in between breaks for lunch.  Some of the best contacts I met during convention I met in the elevator!”

Kristen Pleasants | Basis Point Advisors

“If my memory serves me well (even if it often doesn’t), I believe that this was my tenth year attending convention. It is honestly one of the very few “must attend” annual events for me. I literally put the date and location in my calendar as soon as CREW Network releases it.

I always gain something professionally while I’m there. At different points in my career, that has meant different things. Early in my career it was gaining leadership skills and the confidence to network with 1,000 (now 1,500) real estate professionals, most of whom are “top of their game”. At this stage in my career, I use it as an opportunity to gain exposure for myself and my business to those individuals.  I have spent years growing and cultivating a strong national network. My attendance at convention allows me to continue to nurture the network that I have worked so hard to build.

If knowledge is what you are seeking from the Convention, you will find it there. The general and breakout sessions are unparalleled. The speakers are all of highest quality. But for me, the most important part of Convention is the network of more than 10,000 commercial real estate professionals that represent nearly every discipline within the industry globally.

None of that would have been possible without my attendance at that very first convention.  So, yes, it is a huge investment. But well worth it.

The 2017 CREW Network Convention and Marketplace is October 25-28 in Houston, Texas. I’ll be there.

Will you?”

For the latest information on the 2017 CREW Network Convention and Marketplace and other CREWBaltimore news, subscribe to the CREWBaltimore Blog or visit the frequently updated CREW Network Convention page.

CREWspective – The 2016 Beacon Awards Nominations Are In!

crew-beacons-blog-headerThe votes have been tallied and the 2016 Beacon Awards nominations are in!

The Beacon Awards ceremony recognizes and celebrates the outstanding contributions and achievements of individuals in the Baltimore metropolitan commercial real estate industry.

Laura Penza, Principal, Penza Bailey Architects, reflects on her experience attending the 2014 Beacon Awards and expresses her excitement for the 2016 Beacon Awards.

You won the Circle of Excellence Award. What did this award mean to you and what advice can you give to the next person who wins this award?

I was so honored to just be nominated for the Circle of Excellence Award. My appreciation of the diversity of CREW was strengthened, as my ‘in the trenches’ community service was deemed worthy of this award, even next to amazing women working on powerful projects. Actually receiving this award was so unexpected and humbling, and it inspires me to continue my efforts to make a positive community impact.

What is your most memorable moment from past Beacon Awards, and why?

Listening to all of my achievements, as they were read out loud at one time to a group of women and men that I admire, is a unique experience. I felt a strange mix of pride and embarrassment. I was so appreciative that my efforts were acknowledged, but really hoping they would get to the end of the list a bit more quickly.

What award do you feel best recognizes and celebrates the outstanding contributions and achievements of CREWBaltimore individuals?

All of the Beacon Awards are very special, but I feel that the Circle of Excellence Award acknowledges a variety of achievements. This award inspires us to participate on CREW committees or take on leadership roles, promote member to member business, provide mentoring to others, and also focus on continuous professional development. It’s not always easy to balance multiple commitments, but when we can it can be extremely rewarding.

What would you say to someone who is on the fence about attending this year’s Beacon Awards? Why should they attend?

I find it very inspiring to hear what others have accomplished, and I always learn new things about people I admire. Plus, there is an abundance of good food and great people – come and find out what makes CREW for you.

Please be sure to visit on September 28th and register before it sells out.

The full list of the 2016 Beacon Award nominees is below.

The Chapter Champion Award will honor a company that has, over the last 24 months, made a significant and sustained commitment to CREW Baltimore through the devotion of monetary resources, employee time commitment, and other support.

The finalists are:

  • CohnReznick LLP, where CREW-Baltimore member Mary Beth Norwood is Co-Managing Partner, Karyn Tasker is an Audit Manager, Erin Baldwin Todd is a Senior Manager, and Kayla Gross is a Principal;
  • COPT; and
  • Cushman & Wakefield, where CREW-Baltimore member Kimberly Mode Hogan is a Senior Property Manager and Adrienne Lee is a Senior Portfolio Manager.

The Member-to-Member Business Award will honor a CREW Baltimore member who consistently demonstrates an extraordinary commitment to marshal CREW talent, resulting in measurable business for other CREW members. This individual exemplifies the power and spirit of CREW.

The finalists are:

  • Amy Lacock, Vice President, Group Manager at JLLand
  • Joan Renner, Chief Financial Officer at The Brick Companies.

The Rookie Member of the Year – The Dive-Right-In Award will honor a CREW Baltimore member who, in the first two years of membership, has most embraced the CREW Baltimore mission and core values through chapter involvement, member to member business, mentoring, and/or career and professional development.

The finalists are:

    • Susannah Bergmann, President and Principal, Kaliber Construction, Inc.; and
    • John Hutch, III, Principal, JP2 Architects.

The Circle of Excellence Award will honor a person in the Baltimore commercial real estate community who consistently embody CREW Baltimore’s mission and core values related to Leadership, Excellence, Influence, Advancement, and Community.

The finalists are:

  • Michele Levy Cohen, Principal at Miles & Stockbridge, P.C.and
  • Karen Pecoraro, Director, Client Services, ATC Group Services, LLC.

The Community Impact Award will honor one or more commercial real estate professionals who played a pivotal role in a real estate project that was completed or that achieved a significant measurable milestone in the last 24 months, and that had a significant and measurable positive impact on the community.

The finalists are:

  • The lending team at The Reinvestment Fund Development Partners, for its role in the development of Preston Place in Baltimoreand
  • The development team at Trade Point Atlantic, for its role in developing the master plan for the redevelopment of Sparrows Point.

We look forward to celebrating these outstanding individuals and their accomplishments on November 3rd.

CREWspective – Why the 2016 CREW Network Convention is a “Must Attend”

crew network connection

Kristen Pleasants, Principal, Basis Point Advisors

From October 19 – October 22, commercial real estate professionals will gather in New York, N.Y. for the 2016 CREW Network Convention and Marketplace.

This 4-day event features educational seminars, area tours, networking, roundtable events/workshops and inspirational speakers to include Amy Cuddy, Author, Business Leader & Professor, Harvard Business School; Mary Ann Tighe, CEO, New York Tri-State Region, CBRE; Sallie Krawcheck, CEO & Co-Founder, Ellevest; and Admiral William H. McRaven, USN (Ret.), System Chancellor, University of Texas.

At the 2016 CREW Network Convention and Marketplace, you’ll expand your network, be inspired by some of the most insightful speakers today, hear the latest on what’s happening in commercial real estate, and get an insider’s look at the some of the most innovative commercial space in the world.

If you’re a commercial real estate professional (male or female) looking to expand your network while taking advantage of some of the best education in the marketplace, we highly encourage you to join us in New York, N.Y. from October 19 – October 22.

Think this trip may be out of your reach? Think again.

Kristen Pleasants, Principal, Basis Point Advisors, answered a few questions on the importance of CREW Network Convention and why she considers this event, “a must attend event” in her schedule.

  1. What did you enjoy most about attending last year’s convention? 

I look forward to the convention every year. It gives me an opportunity to reconnect with the many men and women that I have made connections with in CREW Network over the years.

  1. What are some ways you convinced your employer to let you attend convention?

I own the consulting firm that I work for. So, my boss was not difficult to convince. With that said, it is a financial commitment to go every year. But, one that it is well worth the investment. I consider it to be one of the most important investments I make in myself every year. And, I have certainly had to make the case in previous years when I was employed by someone other than myself. I typically would remind them that they are getting a lot of “bang for their buck” so to speak….industry knowledge, business development (both locally and nationally), and professional development. Where else can you get that much exposure for yourself and your company in a building full of people that honestly WANT to help your business? It is very powerful and a feeling that you can’t put into words until you have actually attended.

  1. Do you have any tips or tricks for attending convention on a budget?

Absolutely share a hotel room if you can. You are honestly NEVER in the room if you are taking advantage of everything that the convention has to offer. Also, try to carpool with other members from your chapter or a nearby chapter. This is not only affordable, but it is also another networking opportunity!

  1. What are the most important benefits of attending convention? 

Networking, Professional Development, Industry Knowledge.

Need additional help convincing your boss to send you to the CREW Network Convention and Marketplace? Customize this letter and send it to your supervisor along with a convention brochure.

Don’t miss this annual, invaluable networking experience. To register for the 2016 CREW Network Convention, click here.

You can also still sign up for a number of New York City learning excursions and leisure activities at the 2016 CREW Network Convention and Marketplace. Space is very limited, so register for the convention and reserve your spot today!

CREWspective – Theresa Tsamoutalis Reflects on the Beacon Awards

Beacon Awards 2016

The 2016 Beacon Awards is quickly approaching and this bi-annual gathering is cause for celebration!

The Beacon Awards were established to recognize and celebrate the outstanding contributions and achievements of individuals in the Baltimore metropolitan commercial real estate industry. Every other year, esteemed members of the Baltimore commercial real estate industry attend the ceremony accompanied by CREWBaltimore members, sponsors, and CREW Network executives. The opportunitiy to connect with colleagues and friends and celebrate the triumphs in commercial real estate should not be missed!

Theresa Tsamoutalis, President and Principal of ALLSAFE Elevator Inspections, Inc., won the Rookie Member of the Year – The Dive-Right-In Award in 2014. This award is given to a member who, in the first two years of membership, has most embraced the CREWBaltimore mission and core values through chapter involvement, member-to-member business, mentoring, and/or career and professional development.

Theresa reflects on her experience at the Beacon Awards and explains why members of the Baltimore commercial real estate industry should attend the ceremony this year.

You won the 2014 Rookie Member of the Year Award. What did this award mean to you and what advice can you give to the next person who wins this award?

When I joined CREW, I wanted to get involved immediately so that I could really experience what the organization had to offer and meet other members on a deeper level than a brief meeting at a luncheon. I joined the sponsorship committee which led to the Beacon Awards committee, which I Chair. I certainly “dove right in” and was excited to do so since I realized an immediate benefit personally and professionally.

What is your most memorable moment from past Beacon Awards, and why?

The excitement of the announcement of the winners. The finalists are publicized before the event but the winners are only unveiled the night of, like at the Oscars.

What award do you feel best recognizes and celebrates the outstanding contributions and achievements of CREWBaltimore individuals?

I hate to take the easy way out but each award is special. I cannot pick one award out of the five that stands out more than another. Each is very special in their own way. If you made me select one, I would say the “Rookie Member of the Year Award” and my reasoning is because I won it and it is truly a surprise since as a new member you do not even think you would be recognized.

What would you say to someone who is on the fence about attending this year’s Beacon Awards? Why should they attend?

It is an evening to network but more importantly an evening to celebrate our peers doing big and great things. I do not believe women “pat” ourselves on the back as much as we should and to do this as a group/collectively is very special. It is a special night time event in the middle of our City highlighting what our organization is all about. It is a not-to-miss event because it is an exciting evening to toast one another, make new or strengthen current business relationships, and unveil winners of 5 notable resume building awards.

CREWBaltimore is still seeking nominees for the 2016 Beacon Awards. CREWBaltimore members are encouraged to nominate themselves or another deserving member for the awards. Read the Awards Descriptions and Qualifications for more information, and click here to fill out the 2016 nomination form. The deadline to submit nominations is tomorrow! Nominate someone today.

2015 Benchmark Study Report: Women in Commercial Real Estate

women in commercial real estate

CREWBaltimore is proud to be affiliated with CREW Network, the leading producer of research on women in the industry. We are privileged be presented with the information in the 2015 Benchmark Study Report: Women in Commercial Real Estate. This third CREW Network study marks the most extensive industry research to date over an unprecedented 10-year span, tracking and analyzing specialization, compensation and career achievement by gender. As we approach on the Women of Influence Luncheon on April 21, we are delighted to read there are improvements in satisfaction, compensation, and success.  For more information, download the full report. The executive summary of the benchmark study is available below:

With the release of its third comprehensive benchmark study, CREW Network has measured progress for women in commercial real estate over an unprecedented 10-year span, tracking and analyzing specialization, compensation and career achievement by gender. This long-term project has been made possible by the support of CBRE, premier underwriter of the 2005, 2010 and 2015 reports.

CREW Network’s 10-year research span reflects a remarkable diversity of positions and specializations within the commercial real estate industry. Respondents spanned entry-level to C-Suite positions and represent all major specializations within the field – asset and property management, brokerage and sales, development and financial services.

The 2015 study included the same questions as the 2005 and 2010 studies to guarantee data integrity and consistency. Survey respondents revealed important gains made by women in the industry, as well as areas where inequalities persist.

The latest CREW Network study data can help guide women striving to advance their careers in the industry, inform companies and managers about the values and priorities of their employees and enhance the research and program agenda for CREW Network and other like-minded organizations striving for equality. Highlights and key findings of the 2015 study follow.


Though the income differences between men and women are shrinking, a significant income gap still exists. In 2015, the median total annual compensation, including bonuses, compensation and profit sharing, was $150,000 for men and $115,000 for women in commercial real estate. This income gap of 23.3% demonstrates that North America still has a long way to go to achieve gender wage parity.

The income gap widens with years of experience and position, with the difference most pronounced between women and men in the C-Suite and within the brokerage and development specializations.

The 2008-09 Recession resulted in a decline in the willingness of both men and women to accept commission-based work. In 2015, men have become more open to commissioned positions, while women have remained in primarily salaried positions.

Experience and Position

Men continue to outnumber women in C-Suite positions (17% of men surveyed versus 9% of women). While consistent with the previous study results, the relative difference is shrinking.

Women in commercial real estate are closer to the C-Suite than ever. More senior-level or higher roles were filled by women in 2015, with the exception of Brokerage/Sales/Leasing.

Across the board, when respondents take jobs with new companies, it is largely for economic or professional reasons – most notably because a position offers better compensation or opportunity for advancement. When offered a new opportunity with their current employer, women respondents are more likely than men to accept lateral moves within their companies.

A notable improvement from prior CREW Network studies, in 2015 the percentage of women with direct reports was equal to that of men. While men’s direct reports were evenly split on the basis of gender, 62% of the direct reports to women managers were also women.

Success and Satisfaction

Women’s satisfaction with career success is now – for the first time in CREW Network’s surveying – exactly equivalent to men’s. The 2010 results showed that women tended to report higher levels of satisfaction at earlier phases of their careers. To better understand this trend, we asked respondents which position they aspired to at the peak of their career. Women were most likely to choose Senior Vice President (47%), while the most common answer for men was aspiring to the C-Suite (40%).

Between 2010 and 2015, gains were also reported for women in their satisfaction with work/life balance in their lives. For men, responses regarding work/life balance have generally remained constant since 2005.

Overall, women are less satisfied than men with the job factors they consider most important, including job enjoyment, time spent with family, and maximizing earnings potential. One key difference is that men are more satisfied than women with the time with family their job allows them, while they both scored them as equally important.

In 2010, both men and women identified stagnating promotional opportunities as critical barriers to career success. The latest study data shows that more persistent issues like lack of mentorship and concern regarding work/life balance continue to be ranked highly as barriers to success across genders today – and increasingly so among men.

In 2015, women respondents viewed relationships with internal senior executives as the #1 factor supporting future advancement and listed the lack of a company mentor/sponsor as the #1 barrier to career success.

Setting the Agenda

The 2015 benchmark survey findings indicate that women in commercial real estate have achieved equal or close-to-equal standing as men in many aspects. However, consistent with the two previous benchmark studies, these results also point to the areas where there is room for progress.

The largest inequalities observed are in the income gap and the low numbers of women in C-Suite positions. Negotiation skills continue to be important, but this year’s results and other studies published in the past five years suggest that there is a need to take action at the corporate management level to address the persistent bias against female advancement. Additionally, while women recognize the importance of mentors and sponsors, finding them within their companies continues to be a challenge.

As a consequence to these barriers, our survey found that women are less likely to aspire to C-Suite positions. While women continue to strive for parity, the industry itself – organizations, companies and decision-makers – will also benefit from proactively acknowledging, supporting, promoting, recognizing and rewarding women’s full potential.

For more information about the current trends of women in commercial real estate, download the full report.

For additional insight on the state of women in commercial real estate in Baltimore, register for the Women of Influence Luncheon. The Women of Influence Luncheon will be held on Thursday, April 21, 2016 from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. at The Center Club, 100 Light Street, 16th Floor, Baltimore, MD 21202. Register today if you haven’t already!

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