Influential Women in CRE

CREWBaltimore hosted the “Women of Influence” Luncheon at the Center Club on January 9, 2018. We welcomed back moderator Christine Espenshade, a CREWBaltimore member for six years, and a Managing Director at Jones Lang Lasalle. The panel included Lisa Goodwin, Sr. Vice President of MRP Industrial, Amy Bonitz, President & CEO of Baltimore Arts Realty Corporation, and Caroline Paff, Vice President of Sagamore Development. The women covered topics that are beneficial to all women in the industry and also discussed the results found in CREW Network’s White Paper on gender bias and other barriers for women in the CRE industry.

All three panelists noted that they did not originally plan on getting into the commercial real estate field, but that they were successful at the start of their careers due to the mentors they sought out.  Mentors are important at all stages of your career, and can help determine your career plan.  Knowing where you want to end up will help you seek out the opportunities and challenges that will positively impact your career and set you up for advancement. Goodwin revealed that taking advantage of “sink or swim” opportunities propelled her forward in her career path. Mentors would provide guidance, but she found that she learned more when she was in the depths of these challenges. Paff mentioned that while opportunities are important in gaining traction to move forward, so is the support system around you. Your mentor will give you the balance of both support and opportunity. Bonitz confirmed that you must set up your parameters and guard them, and she also noted that sometimes you must “hit the shark in the nose and take charge of an intimidating situation.  If you take responsibility for your own progress, stand up for your ideas or projects and exude confidence in your ability to get the job done, you will be more likely to earn the respect of your peers.

Growing your career over time does not come without diligence. Goodwin discussed how personal accountability and being responsible for your own growth will help you move up the ladder in your career. She also noted that when you love what you do, love who you are doing it with, and you feel that you are a valued team member, you are more likely to choose to continue in that particular career. Putting in the extra hours is sometimes inevitable in the commercial real estate field; however, “you have to challenge yourself to be resilient,” added Espenshade. “If you are feeling alone in your [work life balance] situation, then find women in similar life situations to [talk to]”, and get input about your own situation, shared Paff.

Do not let your failures isolate you; talking about them with others will allow you to grow from these experiences. “All business women have experienced failures of some sort in their career” said Paff. Bonitz added that a deal sometimes dies fifteen times before it lives, and the team she has put together at her firm always remains positive and looks at how they can learn from each situation. In order to have the team remain positive and motivated to move forward it is important to have a vision that everyone wants to see brought to fruition. Goodwin followed up with noting that most of the time mistakes are made when you are involved in the unknown, and you can learn and grow from them. The ability to get back on the field and resume play is how you will determine your success moving forward.

The panel also had a chance to discuss workplace diversity. Paff suggested providing a written pathway as a way to hold everyone accountable to deliver on the promises made when you are first hired. Goodwin shared that over the years she has never seen it as men vs. women, but one team working towards an end goal. She also added that women bring an emotional balance to their team and their successes. Women play an integral role in commercial real estate, and the panelists provided insightful commentary and real-life experiences when asked questions by the audience members at the end of the event. We appreciate their willingness to share their experiences with us at this event.

Please join us on April 11 for our next Center Club luncheon about the State of the State!

Beacon Award Nominations

Beacon Award Nominations Deadline Extended

The Beacons Committee has been diligently working to pull off the biggest and best awards gala to date for CREWBaltimore. Save the Date now for May 3, 2018 from 6-9pm!  If you enjoyed specialty cocktails served in beakers & selfies with the MD Science Center dinosaur at our last #CREWBeacons, you won’t want to miss what we have planned for the upcoming Preakness-themed Gala.

We have already begun receiving nominations for the five (5) award categories BUT we need YOUR help to make this the most exclusive list of finalists in Baltimore commercial real estate.

What better compliment can you give a client, prospect or colleague than an award nomination? This is an opportunity to recognize and support the remarkable work of the admirable professionals in our market.

Nominate TODAY- the online portal will close at 5pm EST on January 15, 2018 and all finalists will be announced at an upcoming CREW event. Click here to make a nomination.

Check out the Beacons tab above for the latest details surrounding the event or additional information relating to the award categories criteria
Thanks to the event sponsors whose support makes it all possible!
There are still a few sponsorships available here



2018 President’s Letter

FROM THE PRESIDENT’S DESK                                                                     January 2, 2018
Karyn Tasker
Audit Manager
CohnReznick, LLP

2018 CREWBaltimore – The Year Ahead

Welcome to 2018! I am excited to be your CREW Baltimore President for 2018.

CREWBaltimore is making some changes this year that we hope will provide a better experience for our members.
     • We realize schedules are hectic and last year many of our luncheons conflicted with other events. This year we are moving many of our luncheons and programs to Tuesday or Wednesday in an attempt to reduce conflicts. You can find our full calendar of events in 2018 here.
     • We’ve also changed up the order of some of our program topics. We know you are accustomed to seeing our State of the State luncheon in January. We have moved this topic to the April luncheon in order to invite speakers who are unavailable in January.
While change is good, there are some old habits we want to keep going in 2018.
     • CREWBaltimore has met the CREW Foundation Chapter Challenge for the last two years! This means the Chapter donated at least $1,000 to Foundation, 100% of our board members donated and at least 50% of our members donated. A giant Thank You to all of our members who donated and made this a reality. I ask you to consider helping CREWBaltimore make it a three-peat in 2018. CREW Foundation provides scholarships to real estate students each year. There are several ways to donate. You can add a donation to the Greatest Needs Fund when you register for one of our chapter events, you can use the envelopes provided at each event, or you can go to CREW Network’s Foundation webpage to donate. No amount is too small. It all adds up to make a big difference. Thank you.
     • CREW Baltimore retained 83% of our members last year. The Membership Committee hopes to increase our retention percentage for 2018 and meet CREW Network’s Gold Standard of 85%. We value the knowledge of the various fields of commercial real estate each of our members brings to the Chapter and want to provide great networking opportunities for all.

One way to get the most out of your CREW Baltimore membership is to become involved in a committee. Each month you will have the opportunity to meet with other committee members to build relationships and volunteer for tasks that will help you grow your leadership skills. If you are interested in joining a committee or want to find out more about what is involved, please feel free to contact me at or President-Elect Nikkia Fitch at You may also reach out to our 2018 committee chairs or co-chairs, you can find a list of them here.

Lastly, I want to encourage everyone to attend our Beacon Awards on May 3, 2018 where we will recognize and celebrate the amazing contributions and achievements our members and companies in the local market have made during the last two years.

Please feel free to reach out to me directly with any questions, comments, concerns.

Best Wishes,

Karyn Tasker
Audit Manager
CohnReznick, LLP

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.

Goucher College Construction Tour

Goucher College hosted a construction tour for CREWBaltimore members and guests on November 9, 2017. Founded over 125 years ago, the college was an all women’s college prior to becoming co-educational in 1986. While also striving for academic excellence, Goucher is focused on fostering a close-knit community with the new construction on campus. All of the projects discussed focus on bringing students together.

For example, extensive studies were done to find the perfect location for the Mary Fisher Dining Hall. In its new location, the dining hall is centrally located between all of the dorms – all students walk past it during the day. The hope is for the dining hall to become a hub of activity and interaction on campus.

Studies were also done prior to designing the new First Year Village. Using the results of behavioral science, architects Ayers Saint Gross designed the rooms to be smaller, and the lounges to have faster Wi-Fi, to encourage students to leave their rooms and mingle in the centrally located lounges on each floor. The laundry facilities are located on the first floor, with all glass walls, to encourage student interaction there as well.

Goucher College is also dedicated to sustainability. That’s why instead of building three new dormitories (Froelicher Hall) on a new quad across campus, they decided to move the 1,200-ton buildings over 500 feet to their new location. This was one of the largest and fastest building relocations to ever take place on a college campus. Goucher’s approach to preserve and re-use the existing student housing was recognized by Maryland’s The Daily Record and was again named “Innovator of the Year.”

In addition to these larger construction projects on campus, the equestrian facilities and field will be upgraded (new tennis center, turf field, and fitness/pilates center), the existing interfaith center will be relocated next to the existing chapel on campus to host a multi-faith prayer room, and a 35,000 sf addition will be added to the Hoffberger Science Building to create a lab and learning spaces.

To see more photos from the event, please visit our gallery here. To read more about the ongoing construction, you can follow Goucher’s blog:

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.

Out with the Old, In with the New: Adaptive Re-use in Baltimore

Adaptive re-use is a term used to refer to the practice of renovating and reusing an old building or site for a purpose other than which it was originally built or designed.  The trend of converting older, antiquated buildings into different uses is certainly not a new trend, but what the converted building becomes often signals shifts in demographics and the economy.  

photo source:

In Baltimore City, the apartment boom in the past 10 years was driven by many factors. First, market-rate apartments were few and far between, and second, there were a lot of empty office buildings. The empty office buildings were a function of the traditional central business district shifting geographically south and east in the city. As a result, many buildings north of Lombard Street took a vacancy hit. The apartment conversion of buildings like the former Bank of America headquarters at 10 Light Street, The Equitable Building, and 225 N. Calvert St. took advantage of that trend. These buildings in particular target the urban-seeking millennial looking for the hustle of downtown living without the hassle of commuting to work. These projects typically incorporate the building’s original design into the new use, thereby preserving the City’s rich history while creating a unique, environmentally-friendly new space.

The central business district is not the only area catching on to this trend. The Gunther in Canton, a distillery turned into apartments, leased quickly as it offers amenities such as a pool, reserved parking and exclusive courtyards while still within walking distance to everything Canton has to offer. For those who prefer to own, the conversion of the old Canton Methodist Church into condominiums are on the market for upwards of $500K.

Not all conversions have been residential. For example, the former Towson jail, Bosley Hall, was recently converted to office space. Additionally, a former car dealership in Remington was transformed into the area’s second food hall designed to showcase aspiring chefs. Projects like these can be found all around the Baltimore area, and lend credence to the notion of Baltimore moving towards sustainability and innovation as we continue to adapt to the new realities of our socioeconomic environment while maintaining a connection with the rich history of our area.

For additional information about adaptive re-use projects in Baltimore, click on the links below:

Photo sources: Image 1:    Image 2:   Image 3:  

Member Spotlight: Theresa Tsamoutalis

Theresa Tsamoutalis
ALLSAFE Elevator Inspections, President and Principal
I oversee operations, business development, and all that is in between.

How long have you been a CREW member?
I joined CREWBaltimore in 2011. 

What was the experience or motivating factor that compelled you to join CREWBaltimore? Was there someone who influenced you to join?
The motivating factor for me was to be around more like-minded successful and inspiring women. Everyone I meet and every event I attend, helps me appreciate the market better than I did before. This in turns helps me do my job better in the inspection business because I have a better understanding of my customer and their needs.

List any CREWBaltimore positions held or committees you have been a part of.
Sponsorship Committee
Beacon Awards Committee – Chair

In your experience, what makes CREW unique from other organizations?
I enjoy the diversity of fields CREW members make up such as accounting, engineering, and law. As a business owner, this gives me a network to support my own business in addition to networking with my customer base (property managers).

What 3 business tips can you share with others?
There is nothing like 1) a good handshake and direct eye contact 2) return calls promptly 3) The best business/personal tip ever bestowed to me (thanks to my late grandfather Jerry “Chipper” Ullrich) “Whatever you do, do it with enthusiasm”

What is one trait you wish all female leaders could cultivate?
I wish for myself and other business women to not use “I am sorry” as a go-to response when not really necessary. I feel like women are taught to apologize immediately in many situations but men are not. There is a time and place to apologize but not always as an immediate response. Years ago I saw myself doing it but have tried to be more aware of it and use different language than I am sorry.

What is your dream vacation spot and why?
Egypt…I have wanted to go to Egypt since I was a kid. I would check out every library book available about the pyramids and pharaohs. I want to bask in the enormity and construction of such a structure of antiquity. Sounds silly to admit but I also really want a picture of me riding a camel with the pyramids in the background.

What is your most significant accomplishment?
A significant accomplishment to me is the growth of ALLSAFE Elevator Inspections. This company began in the basement of my rental home in Canton/Baltimore City with 2 employees (one of those being me). We have moved twice since our inception in need of larger spaces as we hired more and more employees. Now we are the largest elevator inspection company in the Mid-Atlantic and hire over 25 people. My main goal is to provide a great service to our customers and a great place to come to work for my employees. Work hard, play hard, and be fair and honest. This is my recipe to achieve my goals and continuing to achieve this accomplishment.

What is your guilty pleasure (TV show, sweet treat, etc.)?
I am slightly embarrassed to admit this but… 1) 90 Day Fiancé: Before the 90 Days (TLC show which is great for those evenings when you need mindless tv) 2) Hot fudge Sundae from Dumser’s Dairyland in Ocean City and 3) Lush bath bombs

Long Live the Port of Baltimore & Waterfront Neighborhoods!

Peter O’Malley, American Sugar Refining; Abby Glassberg, NAI KLNB; Jill Lemke, Maryland Port Authority; Laurie Schwartz, Baltimore Waterfront Partnership; Amy Lacock, JLL

That’s the message that panelists were trying to convey to an audience of 60+ CREWBaltimore members and guests at the September 14th luncheon event held at the Center Club.

The moderator for the event, Abby Glassberg, a broker for NAI KLNB and 27 year Maryland commercial real estate veteran, surveyed the room with the following questions:

Has anyone been to the Seagirt Marine terminal?

Does anyone remember when McCormick Spice was downtown?

Has anyone taken a cruise out of Baltimore?

The theme of the day was the current issues and future trends relating to Baltimore’s waterfront; those who answered “yes” to any of the above questions immediately realized the personal impact.

The Port

Jill Lemke

A heartfelt plea was made by Jill Lemke, Maryland Port Authority (MPA), reminding us that the Port of Baltimore is the “heart of the region’s economy” and must remain protected from surrounding development and supported in future endeavors to grow and maximize potential. The Port is a valuable asset which keeps Baltimore vibrant by bringing waterborne commerce for the benefit of the citizens of the State. Without the port everything we buy would be more expensive, we would have less access to the global economy and the region would lose about 13,000 jobs with over 126,000 related jobs being impacted drastically.

A Shiny New Waterfront

Laurie Schwartz

Laurie Schwartz, Baltimore Waterfront Partnership (BWP), discussed how many areas in downtown Baltimore have outlived their useful life and need updates. She described the efforts and initiatives of the BWP to rehab and revitalize the Inner Harbor and surrounding waterfront neighborhoods by investing in supplemental cleaning, landscaping, events, construction of parks and additional amenities. There is a “Healthy Harbor” initiative working towards restoring clean water by 2020 to protect our City’s most valuable asset.

Relating back to the Port, another area in desperate need of an update are the aging tunnels. In 1895, when the Howard Street tunnel was built, no one realized that an extra two feet of clearance height may one day become a huge impediment. Expansion of the Howard Street tunnel has been deemed imperative to allow double stack containers and taller modern freight cars through that currently don’t meet clearance levels, Lemke explained. This will allow cargo movement to the Midwest market therefore increasing the number of vessel calls and containers unloaded at the Port of Baltimore, many of which we are currently losing to Port of Norfolk. Our deep-water access is huge, which is why the port needs to stay where it is. There are other ports in other cities that are digging deeper to try to compete with us.

Jim Lemke and Peter O’Malley

The Domino Sugar Refinery has been a Baltimore landmark, housed along Baltimore’s Inner Harbor for 95 years, though some question if the plant is still in operation. Peter O’Malley, American Sugar Refining, assured the audience that the manufacturer, who employs approximately 485 people (and over 120 other drivers and tug boat captains who are employed because of them), is very much still running full steam. The Refinery is another part of our aging city that could use a facelift, and they actually have been doing some major recent renovations. It is also an operation that needs the deep-water access of our port to get product in and benefits from the railroad and highway access. The operation desires to stay where they are because of the population center workforce and proximity to East coast. Domino Sugar has invested back into the community by sponsoring local events in the neighborhood and sending welcome packages to those who buy homes on the peninsula. Retaining Domino’s is a major win for the city- there is a sense of pride that something is still made in Baltimore.

Planning & Development in Baltimore

In the 1970s when the master plan for the Inner Harbor was designed, the plan called for all of the land on the shoreline to be open and accessible to the public, not closed off or privatized at all. The City only awarded property to developers who agreed to adhere to the master plan. Over time, the City has lost control of much of the land and development planning efforts. Developers have been focused on projects that create a work-live-play future for many of the downtown waterfront areas. Although it is acknowledged that many areas are in need of revitalization, there is also a desire to preserve the historic character. Panelists warned that we need to be careful with zoning uses and infrastructure in terms of what impacts there may be on and from the port and industrial areas. A waterfront condo sounds like a dream until you are awakened by horns going off nearby to signal a shipment coming in. An addition of a median may allow a lighting system or landscaping to be installed, but in turn could impede trucks from using the road if they are too wide.

Members of the CRE industry have many opportunities to connect with the revitalization projects that are forthcoming. We also have a duty to remind our peers, developers, builders, and legislators to look around at the bigger picture before rezoning, starting new projects, or voting on issues.

We are all in this together.

For more photos of the event, visit our event gallery

“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!”

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