A Look Inside Your 2020 CREW Network Convention

September 10, 2020
Written by: Michelle Yates, APR, EDAC, FSMPS, CREW-St. Louis
Keynote speakers for the 2020 Convention, Sept. 15-17: Diane Keaton, Academy Award-winning actress, Revathi Roy, pioneer of Asia's first women's cab services, and Mary Ludgin, Ph.D., Head of Global Investment Research, Heitman. 

Next week, more than 1,200 CRE professionals will connect virtually for the 2020 CREW Network Convention, Sept. 15-17. It will be a jam-packed three days with more than 50 sessions, 14 live Q&A sessions with industry leaders, and of course networking, networking, networking. Here’s a look inside your upcoming convention.

On Tuesday, the convention kicks off with Revathi Roy, pioneer of Asia’s first women’s cab services and one of Fortune India’s 2019 50 Most Powerful Women. She will share her amazing journey of starting a business in India, which will be the subject of a movie produced by John Abraham.

The convention will provide a mix of programming formats. Conversation Corners are 45-minute facilitated small group conversations on industry topics such as affordable housing, global markets and construction. CREWXChange is peer-to-peer networking and discussion of up to 25 participants that requires separate registration. Examples of these group breakouts include diversity, equity and inclusion; c-suite executives; emerging leaders; office; and retail. At Industry-focused Breakout Sessions, a moderated panel of experts will present specific topics such as Multifamily – Seize the Day! and Industrial Innovation – Keeping up with On-Demand.

Strategies for Retail Success is one such breakout session on Tuesday at 1:30 p.m. (CDT) with speakers Smita Butala, Ralph Lauren Corporation; Maria Sicola, CityStream Solutions; and Gene Spiegelman, RIPCO Real Estate. As the pandemic has accelerated certain trends and brought some flaws to light, what is happening to the store and its footprint? How do you manage the data now available? What’s the next disruption and how do you prepare? How many things will change?

“In this session,” says Sicola, founding partner at CityStream Solutions, “you’ll hear from people in the field who have seen change and disruption and navigated through it, seeing the mistakes and successes. You will learn something or question what you really need to be focused on moving forward.”

Healthcare: Mobility and Convenience is another breakout session on Wednesday at 1:30 p.m. (CDT) with speakers Lorie Damon, Cushman & Wakefield, and Nicole Schupmann, Lamar Johnson Collaborative. Long thought of as recession-proof, how has this market sector fared? Medical office is a complex type of real estate, and the pandemic has made working in this sector difficult but exhilarating for Damon, managing director of the healthcare advisory practice at Cushman & Wakefield. While super competitive, the collaboration across the industry has demonstrated a united front and paved the way for idea sharing from architects, property managers, etc.

“We’ll share some of the great ideas emerging from all of these corners of the work,” says Damon, “and there may just be one worth borrowing.”

Mega Sessions are larger breakouts with one thought leader and moderated Q&A. Sample topics include Innovation, Technology and the Future of Real Estate and Disrupt Your Leadership Super Power. Finally, Roundtable Discussions are smaller, facilitated interactive discussions with topics like office flexibility and design; recruitment, engagement and retention; and affordable housing.

In addition to the Distinguished Leaders Roundtable General Session on Wednesday, this year CREW Network is also offering a separate Fireside Chat with each of the leaders: Cheryl McKissack Daniel, president and CEO of McKissack & McKissack; Anjee Solanki, national director of retail services at Colliers International; Nancy Southern, chair and CEO at ATCO Ltd. Learn more about the 2020 Distinguished Leaders here.

But that’s not all. Attendees can get energized each morning with yoga (Tuesday), mindfulness and meditation (Wednesday), and a group workout (Thursday). CREW Coffee Talk is back at 11:15 a.m. (CDT) each morning. This is time set aside for one on one networking that you can schedule with fellow attendees in advance (match business interests in the 2020 Convention CREWBiz community). First-time attendees should definitely take advantage of the extra networking session on Monday, Sept. 14 at noon (CDT).

CREW members participate in Coffee Talk, time set aside to network and discuss business, during the 2019 CREW Network Convention in Orlando, Florida. Members will have the opportunity to engage in Coffee Talk virtually this year.

Not enough? How about closing out this whirlwind virtual convention with none other than Diane Keaton? Actor, director, producer, photographer, real estate developer, author and singer, Keaton will give attendees “a message of empowerment for anyone who’s ever dreamed of kicking back against the ‘should’s and ‘supposed to’s that undermine our pursuit of beauty and success.” Learn more about Keaton's background here.

Don’t miss this great lineup! Attendees can also download a list of those already registered. To see tips on maximizing your virtual convention experience, check out this article by CREW Boston.

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Michelle Yates

Michelle Yates is director of marketing for Lawrence Group, a 150-person design and project delivery firm headquartered in St. Louis with offices in Austin and New York. She leads the firm's marketing team and works with principals and market leaders to win new business in healthcare, higher education, hospitality, retail, senior living, multi-family housing and corporate workplaces. Yates, an SMPS Fellow, has 20+ years of marketing and communications experience with professional service firms and served as the 2019 CREW-St. Louis president.

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