A whirlwind trip to Orlando this week to speak at a University of Central Florida conference provided me the opportunity to have breakfast with CREW Orlando leaders and past presidents. It was great to meet our Orlando partners and the dedicated past presidents, including Natalee Gleiter, JLL, Mary Pat Dunleavy, Fidelity National Title Group, Jacqueline Bozzuto, Lowndes Drosdick Kantor & Reed, P.A., and Emily Zinaich, Avison & Young, who continue to contribute their wisdom, leadership and enthusiasm.
CREW Orlando President Heather Himes, Director of Legal Affairs - Corporate Transactional for Universal Parks & Resorts, and President-Elect Therese Taylor, LEED AP, Broker – Associate with Hold Thyssen, Inc., (both pictured above) graciously shared the work of the chapter, the success of its UCREW events, and anticipation of the CREW Network Convention and Marketplace to be held in Orlando in 2019. This is an active group that hosts three events every month – and engagement is key to their success. My hats off to our Orlando chapter as they embrace the mission of CREW and contribute to the local community.
The conference, hosted by the UCF Dr. P. Phillips Institute for Research and Education in Real Estate, is an annual opportunity to bring together the industry and the school to discuss both U.S. national and local perspectives on commercial real estate.
Industry favorite KC Conway provided his perspective on where things are headed. Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer (pictured below) provided insights about the dynamic Orlando market and how they continue to develop new opportunities within the community. David Siegel, a local industry icon and President/CEO of Westgate Resorts, shared his commercial real estate journey and ended on a poignant note, sharing how he has transitioned to fighting drug addiction following the loss of a loved one. It was an engaging and educational conference with over 400 in attendance, led by Master of Ceremonies Dr. Josh Harris, a professor in the school of real estate at UCF who oversaw the program.
During my portion of the program, I spoke about the coming disruption and transformation of the industry, overlaid with the human capital aspect and importance of diversity and inclusion, drawing on our research data from the CREW Network 2015 Benchmark Study Report and 2016 white paper, Closing the Gap. It was a great opportunity to share our message about parity for women in the industry as well as having gender balance at the executive and board tables. In my closing comments, I noted the importance of having men and women’s voices in this discussion and thanked our partners for their dedication to advancing women in commercial real estate.
Back on the home front, we are looking forward to seeing our dedicated leaders at the upcoming Spring Leadership Summit in Toronto. Register now and make plans to join us for a terrific program. All members are welcome to attend. See you there!
Wendy Mann is the chief executive officer of Commercial Real Estate Women (CREW) Network and president of the CREW Network Foundation.
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