Category Archives: Member Spotlight

Sponsor Spotlight: Budova Engineering

1. Why did you join CREWBaltimore? What makes CREWBaltimore different?

I joined CREW Baltimore because I felt an immediate connection to its community. Members went out of their way to welcome me and encourage me to get involved. Plus, the programming and networking opportunities are excellent.

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

I have been a member for four years.

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

Rear Admiral Grace Hopper once said, “The most dangerous phrase in the language is, ‘We’ve always done it this way.’” Budova’s mission is to smash that notion – that things should continue as is even if the process isn’t working or doesn’t make sense – while making sure buildings get built better and operate smarter.

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

Oh, that’s a tough one. There are many to choose from. Honestly, I enjoyed them all because I genuinely look forward to seeing and spending time with the other members. If I had to pick one, I would say our iconic Women of Influence event. The room was packed, the energy was palpable, and the panelists and moderator knocked it out of the park.

5. Best weekend activity in Baltimore?

My current answer would have to be hiking. My family has gone hiking pretty much every week since March. That takes us outside of the Baltimore area, but that is how we have been spending our weekends recently.

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

There is nothing better! It is crucial for us to support one another now more than ever. We are on the cusp of change. I don’t believe we have turned the corner yet, but it is on the horizon. It is our duty to continue to fight for each other. This shouldn’t be confined to a particular industry, though. Women need to support women. Period.

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

I recently read Between the World and Me and White Fragility back to back. Saying I was fired up isn’t the right expression. But a compassionate spark that always lives within me was reignited. Both books made me ponder things, made me more mindful, and made me want to do better.

8. Which CREWBaltimore event are you most excited about this year [2021]?

We have the most exciting programming planned for 2021! Our theme is going to be “Reinventing & Reinvesting in Baltimore,” and we’re going to have a Neighborhood Series with an event each quarter that focuses on a different area of Baltimore. This is something people are not going to want to miss.

9. Tell us about a project, program or initiative that your company will be working on in 2020. [2021]

Budova is working with Whiting-Turner, SmithGroup, and ECS [among others] on the incredible Health and Life Sciences Building at Anne Arundel Community College. It is a 175,000 SF, three-story project with over 40 labs, a greenhouse, and both academic and student spaces. It is projected to be complete in August of 2021. The school’s tagline for it is that they “are busy building a bright future” for their students, and Budova loves being a part of that.

Kat Sabo
President
Budova Engineering

Sponsor Spotlight: Simpli

Why did you join CREWBaltimore? What makes CREWBaltimore different?

I joined CREWBaltimore specifically because it is different from other CRE organizations. Today CREW offers me the same benefit it did when I first joined – relationships with authentic, smart, intentional, caring women that support, mentor and influence me in ways that extend beyond business.  When I started my company 25+ years ago, concierge services weren’t prevalent in commercial real estate and today workplace experience is a new and evolving industry without a playbook.  Surrounding myself with CREW friends and taking advantage of on-trend CREW resources taught me the ins and outs of CRE; negotiation skills; resiliency and perseverance and has helped me be successful in my company, industry, career and personal life for which I am grateful.    

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

Possibly 20 years…

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

Simpli, evolved from Charm City Concierge, enhances the workplace through onsite and virtual platforms that blend concierge services, experience management and technology).

We amplify building amenities, create memorable experiences, increase tenant well-being, and build lasting relationships for our partners.

We serve more than 45 million square feet of space that ranges from commercial office buildings to mixed-use properties, private corporations and corporate campuses.

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

It has been an unusual year with employees abruptly working remotely and I think CREW Baltimore did a wonderful job of proactively pivoting to virtually engage members with valuable content and meaningful connections.  I’ve most enjoyed the Conversations Over Coffee weekly programming where I am able to virtually learn, connect and grow with friends even though we are all now working from home.

Best weekend activity in Baltimore?

I live on the Eastern Shore of Maryland, however, my office is located on Fort Avenue near Fort McHenry.  Many of my employees live downtown and frequently get this question from their clients.  Here are a few genuine answers – picking up charcuterie supplies from DiPasquales Italian Market to have a picnic at Fort McHenry near the water; walking the Baltimore Waterfront Promenade from Canton to Harbor East; shopping the local boutiques in Fells Point; reading a book in Patterson Park; going to the farmers market under 83; playing tennis or doing yoga in Latrobe Park in Locust Point and then getting coffee at Koba Café. 

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

Not many women are leaders in commercial real estate or technology. I’ve worked hard to overcome challenges in both of these areas–creating opportunities for myself and for new female leaders while bringing wellness, experiences and balance into workplaces. I’ve developed an all-female workplace where women are empowered to lead and evolve the company–resulting in exponential growth, innovation, and partnerships.

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

I am passionate about mindfulness, wellbeing, culture and leadership and these things have anchored me in these crazy times.  I love reading books, however, now podcasts have become my daily “goto” for inspiration and motivation.  I am a big fan of Jeff Weiner, (former) CEO of Linkedin.  Two recent podcasts I’ve enjoyed featuring Jeff that have helped me mindfully lead and grow my Company are:  “Leading with Compassion” — Oprah Supersoul Conversation and “Transformational Moments and Learnings from Jeff Weiner” with Reid Hoffman.   

Some takeaways for me were:  Prioritize mindfulness, gratefulness, and balance in your career. Be intentional, genuine and joyful about your work. Weave this into how you show up, communicate, lead, manage, service and deliver. This mindset will encourage you to be authentic in the workplace – and ultimately create a holistic workplace culture that supports your growth as a person and professional.

Which CREWBaltimore event are you most excited about this year?

Although it has passed for 2020, I personally enjoy the Women of Influence event and hearing inspiring women leaders share their vision, personal stories of leadership and growth as well as advocacy for their teams, clients and women in CRE.

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

We have expanded our virtual programs during the global pandemic to provide an array of resources, services, unique experiences and events accessible for tenants and their families in office and remotely. Prioritizing our tenants’ health and well-being by offering an increased level of wellness content including  workshops, healthy meal delivery options, fitness series and mindfulness sessions. We have elevated tenant connections with our own technology mobile platform to ensure tenants and employees are informed on their building safety protocols, community happenings, and can access all of our services and perks all with the goal of keeping our tenants and  connected, productive and happy.

Christina Urquhart
President & CEO
Simpli

Sponsor Spotlight: My Cleaning Service

 

Why did you join CREWBaltimore? What makes CREWBaltimore different?

I joined CREW to learn about the Commercial Real Estate Industry, make new contacts and cultivate my professional development.

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

My mother, Lisa Bands, had been a member of CREWBaltimore for many years before I joined My Cleaning Service, and for a while we were both members. I personally have been a member since 2011, and I am looking forward to celebrating 10 years with the chapter next year!

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

My Cleaning Service provides contract janitorial, post-construction cleaning and now COVID-19 disinfection services. We are working hard to be the premier resource to our clients, and the community as a whole by regularly communicating relevant information and rapidly responding to anyone’s disinfection needs.

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

I have to say that even though this Stay-At-Home situation was unexpected, I feel that the weekly programming of the Conversations Over Coffee and Happy Hours have been a fantastic way to stay connected to the Chapter. Not only do I learn something on every call, but it is a great way to maintain a presence without being physically around others in the CRE Industry.

Best weekend activity in Baltimore?

Everyone knows I love to travel, so it’s rare that I am home on the weekends. When I am in Charm City, it is so amazing to see the vibrancy of the city on the weekends with festivals and a beautiful promenade around the water to walk during the day.  

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

I think we have come a long way from the days of women stepping on each other to get ahead, but there is still more work to do. As a united front, we earn respect and gain strength within the entire CRE Industry to close the wage gap and land senior positions. I personally have made some friendships through CREW that will last a lifetime. There is some common bond we all have, understanding similar social, career, and family pressures that enables us to empathize with one another.

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

I am an Audible junkie! I love listening to business books while I travel, workout, or even drive. Most recently I really enjoyed the OZ Principle, which discusses accountability. When you start applying the practices suggested in the book, it is amazing how your productivity and work performance skyrocket! My team does a weekly exercise based on this book, which only takes about 10 minutes, and it is producing phenomenal results! I highly recommend it.

Which CREWBaltimore event are you most excited about this year?

Hopefully the Beacon Awards! I am on the committee, and we have worked very hard to plan an incredible event this year. I am obsessed with the 1920’s theme, and it is always a fun night! 

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

In any company the key to success is effective communication. This year we are focusing on training and continuing education for our team, as well as, streamlining technological advances for communicating. Whether it is through video or face-to face, it is important to continue meeting with each other through weekly meetings, attending courses, events, and expanding upon our client-communication software. What makes us unique is our family-style company that offers 50 years of personal relationships and expertise, now coupled with the leveraging of modern technology. With so many decades of experience, and different generations working together, learning and communication is of the utmost importance.

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.

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.

 

 

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.