Category Archives: Member Spotlight

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.

Member Spotlight: Rebecca Reeves

Name, Job Title, Company: Rebecca Reeves, National Quality Manager at The Whiting-Turner Contracting Company

Brief Job Description: Rebecca Reeves is a National Quality Manager at The Whiting-Turner Contracting Company – a multi-billion-dollar construction organization with a reputation for excellence since 1909. With over 19 years in the construction industry, Rebecca’s current role includes developing policy and resources related to quality on a national level. Beyond the tangible resources, Rebecca especially enjoys providing training and fostering connections and alignment that lead to the success of others and enhance a culture of proactive quality.  Rebecca has completed various types of construction projects throughout the Mid-Atlantic region with a special focus in healthcare construction and interior fit-outs. Her extensive experience includes close to 2,000,000 SF in completed projects.  Personally, Rebecca is a full-time wife and sports mom.

How long have you been a CREW member?  7 years.

What was the experience or motivating factor that compelled you to join CREW Baltimore?  Was there someone who influenced you to join?  In an effort to expand my professional network, I visited several Baltimore organizations.  I felt so welcomed at the first CREW Baltimore luncheon I attended.  It was the friendly atmosphere, along with an immediate connection made with Tara Herbert (who became my membership sponsor) that encouraged me to become active in CREW Baltimore.

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

Beacons Committee 2014 – present

Board of Directors, Director at Large 2018 – present

PR Committee 2019 – present

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

In addition to the open, friendly atmosphere at CREW, the variety of events, including the topics, locations, times, and formats is unique to CREW Baltimore.  There is always an event with a relevant topic or convenient location and time to choose from.  With formats ranging from panel discussions to training/educational opportunities to social networking events and more, everyone can choose the events that are most applicable and beneficial to them.

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

Ask questions.  You don’t know what you don’t know, and the only way to become proficient and respected is to ask questions, listen and learn.  In my experience, people – particularly trades people – take great pride in their work and want to share what they know with somebody who is interested.  Carry yourself with confidence, and approach conflicts directly.  Ignoring a problem will rarely result in the desired resolution.  Don’t strive to be the best woman in your field, strive to be the best.  Period.

What do you think makes a good mentor?

To me, a good mentor is anybody that can provide advice and guidance on a particular topic or area of expertise.  A mentor does not necessarily have to be older or more experienced overall, and a shared experience or background helps to cement the connection. 

What is your dream vacation spot and why? My dream vacation spot is anywhere we can find a new adventure.  My family and I are on a quest to see the 50 states and have visited 23 of the 50 in the last 5 years.  You won’t find us lounging on the beach.  Finding the best hiking spot, touring a local attraction, attending a sporting event, or testing out a local restaurant is more our speed.  We are working on tentative plans to visit New Zealand in 2021.

What do you do in your spare time?  The majority of our spare time is spent shuttling our kids, Zach and Addie, to and from their activities.  Their activities include ice hockey, cross country, lacrosse, cheer, dance, basketball, softball and Girl Scouts, and on any given day it is not unusual for us to have 3 or more commitments (yes, we only have 2 kids…)!  Personally, my hobbies include antique trucks and beekeeping.  Ask me next summer if my bees have survived the winter and if we have any honey!

What is your favorite app or social media outlet and why?

Facebook is my favorite social media outlet because I can easily share our photos with family and friends with minimal effort!

Member Spotlight: Kelli Rivera

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.

Member Spotlight: Kat Sabo


Kat Sabo, President at Budova Engineering

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. 


Member Spotlight- Michele Bresnick Walsh

Michele Bresnick Walsh

Gordon Feinblatt, LLC; Member and Chair of Securities Practice Group

I am a trusted advisor to many businesses, including real estate developers and investors, keeping them out of trouble and in compliance with the securities laws when raising capital from passive investors to finance real estate acquisitions.  I also work with clients selling their business or buying other businesses.

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?  I had attended a few events and really enjoyed both the events themselves and the women I met. Karen Pecoraro was instrumental in my decision to join—she pointed out that there really are not many other women in CREW that handle the securities side of real estate deals and convinced me it would be a great opportunity to make more people aware of what I do.  

List any CREWBaltimore positions held or committees you have been a part of. Membership Committee; General Counsel/Board Member with my partner, Maggie Witherup              

In your experience, what makes CREW unique from other organizations? I really like the emphasis on “CREW First”. This is an incredible organization of women who really are focused on helping each other excel in their business ventures. I also think the programs are excellent.

Have you done business with another CREW member, locally or nationally? Yes, I have done business with a few CREWBaltimore women. And I met a lot of great women at CREW Convention in Houston that I have stayed in touch with and hope to work within the future.

What is one trait you wish all female leaders could cultivate? Know your worth and show your worth.  Many women are not as comfortable as men in selling themselves, touting their accomplishments, and asking for what they want and deserve.

What is your dream vacation spot and why? The Amalfi Coast in Italy. I went there with 8 of my UVA sorority sisters to ring in our 40th birthdays and it is just breathtaking (not to mention the food and wine). I really want to go back with my husband so he can experience it.

What is your most significant accomplishment Beating leukemia 9 years ago after being given a 20% chance of survival, because it really showed me that what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. My battle led to my involvement with There Goes My Hero, a 501(c)(3) organization that provides hope to blood cancer patients and their families by adding people to bone marrow registry and funding nutritious meals. It was founded by Erik Sauer, whom I met at Hopkins when we were both being treated for leukemia.  I was one of the founding directors and currently serve as President.

What do you do in your spare time? Provide a fun fact about yourself. I am a pop culture junkie, so I listen to a lot of music, watch a lot of tv and movies and read entertainment magazines.  A fun fact is in 2007, I went to NY to audition with 2 friends from law school to be on VH1’s World Series of Pop Culture.   We made it past the first round to the interview round, but unfortunately were not one of the 8 teams selected to compete on camera.

 

 

 

Member Spotlight- Theresa Stegman

Theresa Stegman
Director, Development, Cross Street Partners

How long have you been a CREW Member?  5 years

What was the experience or motivating factor that compelled you to join CREWBaltimore?  I had been a member of CREW DC when I worked down there, and had a wonderful experience. As soon as I was able to land a job in my hometown, I immediately transferred my membership.

List any CREWBaltimore positions held or committees you have been a part of. I am currently on the Board, serving as the Director for Membership. Previously I served on the Programs Committee.

How does CREWBaltimore support your career or leadership skills? In addition to the great programming, CREWBaltimore supports my career by surrounding me with women that continually inspire me to push myself higher.

Have you done business with another CREW member, locally or nationally? One of the many things I love about CREW is that it has put me in touch with professionals and small businesses that I may not have otherwise been in contact with, yielding value and savings to our projects and clients.

What advice do you have for women pursuing careers in CRE? Seize opportunities to work on projects that are new and challenging, even if they are outside of your comfort zone. You will learn by leaps and bounds, and be better positioned to go after that dream job title.

What is your most significant accomplishment?  Getting through 23 hours of labor (3 of those were pushing!). Professionally, my biggest accomplishment would be closing Lion Brothers and getting it 100% leased. When the project manager position for Lion Brothers became available, I had been at Cross Street Partners for two years, primarily working in New Markets Tax Credits. Fortunately, I work at a company that is very supportive of its employees’ career development, so when I asked to switch jobs, they made it happen. This was my first major closing from the project sponsor side, and I had to bring 8 different funding sources to the table, including New Markets Tax Credits and federal and state historic tax credits. “Trial by fire” has never been more aptly applied, but I had the support of a great team and the building is now fully leased and making a positive impact in the Hollins Market neighborhood.

What do you do in your spare time? Provide a fun fact about yourself.  Door knocking! I am running for Democratic Central Committee in District 40 in Baltimore City and have been spending my weekends talking to voters and gearing up for a big get-out-the-vote effort this June and November. As a mom, I want to make sure that all of our kids have the opportunity to succeed, and the job of the Central Committee is to help elect strong leaders that will be champions for our city and state.

What would be the first thing you would do if you won the lottery? The second?  Pay off student loans – what was I thinking marrying a law school graduate? Second, I would start my own company, with a focus on urban infill development and affordable housing.

*Theresa also recently was a recipient of the CREW Beacon – Community Impact Award for her role in the development of Lion Brothers Building

Member Spotlight: Maggie Witherup

Name: Margaret “Maggie” Witherup 

Company, Position and brief job description:
Member/Partner of Gordon Feinblatt, LLC. Environmental & Energy Attorney. I help developers, builders, businesses and property owners solve environmental challenges with property they own or want to develop.

How long have you been a CREW Member? 3 years

What was the experience or motivating factor that compelled you to join CREWBaltimore? Was there someone who influenced you to join? I was initially attracted to CREW through its excellent programs and events. I attended a few events over the years and was always impressed by the useful content as well as the people that I met at the events. Everyone I meet is an experienced commercial real estate professional and a useful connection for me and my clients.
List any CREWBaltimore positions held or committees you have been a part of: Programs Committee for 3 years; now serving as Co-General Counsel for CREW, along with my partner Michele Walsh.

In your experience, what makes CREW unique from other organizations?
CREW combines outstanding substantive programming with a variety of networking opportunities to help women in all aspects of commercial real estate make connections and help each other grow their careers. CREW is better organized than some other organizations and has an established track record of successful events and connections.

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

What 3 business tips can you share with others?
1. Always do your best work. 2. Treat each client as if s/he is the most important person in your life, e.g., your mother or your spouse 3. Be a good listener.

What is one trait you wish all female leaders could cultivate?
Self-promotion without shame. Growing up we are taught to be modest and humble, but we should not be afraid to promote ourselves and our accomplishments.

What is your favorite app or social media outlet and why?
Facebook has been a fun way to reconnect with classmates and stay in touch with friends and colleagues.

What is your dream vacation spot and why?
I would love to go to Italy for the food, wine, scenery, art, and old-world history

What is your guilty pleasure (TV show, sweet treat, etc.)?
A handful of Brookside dark chocolate balls after dinner.

What do you do in your spare time? Provide a fun fact about yourself.
As with many lawyers, I am really a frustrated thespian who was not talented enough to make it on Broadway and had to go to law school instead. I enjoyed performing in shows in high school, college, & in law school where I founded the American University Washington College of Law “Law Revue” which performed full-length student written and performed musical comedies where we changed the words to popular show tunes, wrote a play around them, and got professors to make cameo appearances. It was a lot of work, but tremendous fun and stress relief. Then I got a job, had kids, etc. and didn’t do any theater for 20 years until I got into a community theater show 2 years ago when I was in Charm City Players’ The Music Man with my daughter.
 

Member Spotlight: Katherine Pinkard

Name: Katherine Pinkard

Company, Position and brief job description: Pinkard Properties, President, I run our woman-owned commercial real estate services firm.

How long have you been a CREW Member? Since 2012

What was the experience or motivating factor that compelled you to join CREW Baltimore? Was there someone who influenced you to join? As soon as I transitioned from the finance world to the commercial real estate industry I immediately sought out a women-in-business group, and CREW is the top of that list in our industry! My father and male business partner actually strongly encouraged me to join to grow my network and connections with other women in the business.

List any CREWBaltimore positions held or committees you have been a part of. I’ve spoken on a CREW panel before.

What do you think makes a good mentor and have you established any mentoring relationships through CREW? I think people think a mentor has to be older than you and fit into a certain box, but I disagree with that. I think women may miss out on mentor opportunities that come from unexpected places. I’m lucky to have both mentors internally and externally. My father, for one, and I’ve got a wonderful female mentor outside of my industry who has been a guiding force and been an advocate for me in my career. I also have a very strong group of female peers and colleagues in the field, who I consider to be my mentors as well. We all get together to support and mentor each other. I think I have developed a great peer-to-peer mentoring network of women through CREW.

What do you do in your spare time? Tell us a fun fact about yourself. I love to horseback ride. I grew up on a farm with horses in my backyard and have ridden since I was a little girl. I’m an equestrian for life!

What 3 business tips can you share with others? (1) Just show up. You’re never going to know everything, be perfect, or get a home run every time, but if you don’t show up in the first place you won’t get anywhere. You never know what might come of an opportunity or relationship.  (2) Take advantage of technology – there are so many apps and programs (many of them free!) to make you more efficient and smarter. Evernote is a favorite of mine. (3) Don’t be intimidated. There are a lot of big egos in this business. You’re good at what you do and work hard, so go take your seat at the table!

What is your favorite app or social media outlet? Instagram – I love seeing how people use a snapshot to tell a story. I could get lost for hours exploring hashtags – especially relating to historic architecture and old buildings.

If you could spend the day with one celebrity, who would it be and why? Definitely author Ayn Rand (you didn’t say he/she had to be living!) because her Objectivist philosophy is a big guiding factor in my life. Her Atlas Shrugged character Dagny Taggart is my spirit animal.

What is your dream vacation spot? Kiawah Island, South Carolina – it’s quiet and peaceful. It’s a great place to go to disconnect from everyday life and enjoy the beach.