CREW Network Foundation scholars

Congratulations to our 2013 scholarship recipients


The CREW Network Foundation Scholarship program supports future female leaders as they pursue university-level education that will lead to careers in CREW Network's Qualified Fields of Commercial Real Estate.

Natalie Breen

Natalie Breen
Hometown: Medford, Massachusetts
University: Senior, Suffolk University
Focus of study: Marketing

An honors scholar within Suffolk University's Sawyer Business School, Natalie will be graduating early in December 2013 before continuing to graduate school. Natalie holds a 3.9 GPA and has completed several internships from startups to working with the Governor of Massachusetts. Natalie first became interested in real estate when she moved into Boston for college. "I saw how dynamic and interesting the real estate industry is, how many components go into it and how exciting it can be. I was hooked immediately."

Natalie has an entrepreneurial spirit and defines herself as a "self-starter". In the future, Natalie hopes to be a leader in the real estate industry as a key problem solver with creative solutions to real life problems. "I would love to eventually have my own firm and be an integral part of the innovative ideas that are brewing in the industry."

Ailena DiBenedetto

Ailena DiBenedetto
Hometown: Austin, Texas
University: Senior, University of Texas at Austin
Focus of study: Management Information Systems

Ailena is a senior at the University of Texas at Austin, majoring in Management Information Systems (MIS) and minoring in Marketing. She will complete her degree, along with the Undergraduate Real Estate Certificate program in May of 2014. She currently holds a GPA of 3.6 and works as an intern in the investment sales division at The Weitzman Group in Austin. Ailena has held a real estate sales License in Texas for over four years and plans to pursue a career in commercial real estate brokerage, leveraging her expertise in technology, investor relations and knowledge of the central Texas commercial real estate market.

She currently serves as the Technology Director for the Undergraduate Real Estate Society at the University of Texas. Ailena’s interest in real estate is an extension of her life-long love of design and creative use of space. “I spend most of my free time looking at homes for sale online and imagining how I would market them,” she says. When she won CREW Austin’s Commercial Real Estate Challenge in 2012, she knew she wanted to set her sights on “not just a successful career, but a meaningful one with the opportunity to really get to know other women in my field and to come together to give back to this amazing community.”

Abbey Ehman

Abbey Ehman
Hometown: Salt Lake City, Utah
University: Graduate, University of Utah
Focus of study: Real Estate Development

Abbey is pursuing a Masters Degree in Real Estate Development from the University of Utah. Her program is the only one in the country that is interdisciplinary between a College of Architecture and Planning and a College of Business, and she hopes to combine these two areas of expertise in her real estate career. Abbey graduated from Texas A&M University with a Bachelors of Environmental Design and practiced in Texas, South Carolina, and Italy. Her emphasis is sustainable design and adaptive reuse and her approach includes a comprehensive understanding of materials in order to maximize resource efficiency and durability.

At the University of Utah, Abbey has conducted market research in the areas of demographic changes, shifting real estate markets and sustainability valuation. She also serves as adjunct faculty, instructing a course in the Practical Applications of Sustainability. After living in six different countries, Abbey brings a global perspective to each of her projects. Her passion for design and community-centered development is tempered by a comprehensive understanding of the lending process and realistic investment expectations. She hopes to create value for her clients and her community through innovative marketing solutions and collaborative financing strategies. 

Margaret Hill

Margaret “Maggie” Hill
Hometown: Charlotte, North Carolina
University: Junior, Queens University of Charlotte
Focus of study: Business Administration

Maggie, a junior at Queens University of Charlotte, is currently studying in the McCool School of Business with a concentration in Finance. Along with her major in Business, Maggie has chosen to minor in Psychology. Maggie has made the Dean’s List every semester at Queens, where she has consistently maintained a GPA above 3.7. She currently serves as the President of the Beta Iota chapter of Alpha Delta Pi, where she has served as the Finance Vice President in the year prior. Maggie has held the offices on campus such as Sophomore Class President, Honor Council Representative and Administrative Hearing Board Member.

She is currently the Treasurer of the Business Club on campus and has recently been selected as a mentor for new students, where she serves as a T2U leader (Transition to University). Maggie just completed an internship at The Charlotte Chamber of Commerce, where she served as the Campaign Intern for the Campaign 2013. Her initial interest in commercial real estate arose when Maggie was employed at the Allen Tate Company where she worked in Relocation and Accounting.

Irene Kalis

Irene Kalis
Hometown: McLean, Virginia
University: Senior, American University
Focus of study: Business Administration and Real Estate

Scheduled to graduate in May 2014, Irene Kalis is majoring in Business Administration (Real Estate specialization) at American University’s Kogod School of Business. Her past and present real estate-related activities and interests demonstrate her sincere interest in a commercial real estate career. As an active Student Member of Urban Land Institute (ULI) since April 2011, she has actively participated in its lectures, mentorships and workshops to both expand her commercial real estate (CRE) knowledge and stay abreast of CRE news.

She enjoys volunteering with Kogod’s Real Estate Club to perform real estate-related community service. Serving as Kogod’s Real Estate Club’s Vice President of Undergraduate Affairs for AU’s Fall 2012 Semester, allowed Ms. Kalis to utilize her leadership and organization skills while deepening her interest in commercial real estate. She looks forward to being a student member of CREW Network, participating in CREW Network’s eMentoring program and her internship at CBRE, Inc.

Jewelle Kennedy

Jewelle F. Kennedy, “JFK”
Hometown: New York, NY
University: Graduate, Columbia University
Focus of study: Real Estate Development

Jewelle is a student at Columbia University in the Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation. She is currently part of the Student Council and a Graduate Research Assistant at The Center for Urban Real Estate (CURE). She received her BBA degree in Real Estate in 2009 from Georgia State University where she also co-founded the Student Real Estate Club. She became President of the Real Estate Alumni Group upon graduating.

She was an Urban Planner for the City of Atlanta’s Department of Planning and Community Development and hopes to strengthen the unique connection between her educational and professional background in real estate and urban planning. She also wishes to bring her international experience to the commercial real estate industry to position herself competitively in the global market. She has traveled to six continents, including a study abroad trip to Egypt and Dubai in 2008. She truly believes she will be one of the emerging leaders in the industry. Her ultimate goal is to start her own real estate firm. Says Jewelle, “I have a vision to redevelop vacant, underutilized properties and turn them into the “Jewel” they are meant to be.”

Cornelia Le

Cornelia Le
Hometown: Calgary, Alberta
University: Senior, University of Western Ontario
Focus of study: Urban Development

Cornelia, an Honors Specialization student majoring in Urban Development at the University of Western Ontario is scheduled to graduate on May 2014. She has a keen interest in asset and portfolio management with professional skill sets in Geographic Information System (ArcGIS). Her passion for the commercial real estate industry has increased dramatically over the past three years, with each course she took at the University of Western Ontario. She has a strong business background with three years of experience of Junior Achievement, two years of fashion entrepreneurship and one year of franchise management in home services.

"As an undergraduate, I am trying to build a portfolio with diverse experiences in many aspects of commercial real estate to better fit into a leadership role in commercial real estate 10 to 15 years down the road." Her latest Urban Development consulting internship with Stantec Consulting Ltd. exposed her to various stages of project development, ranging from environmental assessment, landscape architecture, planning, public consultation and finally construction. Her academic success as one of the top students in the Urban Development Program and her initiative to establish the Urban Development Association at her university demonstrate her strong work ethic and motivation to become one of the best in the industry.

Lisa Platte

Lisa Platte
Hometown: Simi Valley, California
University: Senior, California State University, Northridge
Focus of study: Real Estate and Finance

Lisa is currently a senior at California State University, Northridge. She is a double major in both Finance and Real Estate and has a 3.91 GPA. Growing up with very little money, she learned the value of work and education, but her love for real estate began when she was able to buy her first home as a single mom. Since then, she has been on a path of learning and education in the real estate industry. Upon graduation, her goal is to seek opportunities where she can both educate and inspire those around her and belter the profession. She is determined to become a leader in the industry and create vehicles that will allow her to give back to the community.

Tahira Rehmatullah

Tahira Rehmatullah
Hometown: New Haven, Connecticut
University: Graduate, Yale School of Management
Focus of study: Real Estate, Impact Investing and Social Entrepreneurship

Tahira Rehmatullah is a rising second-year MBA student at the Yale School of Management, where she is focused on real estate, impact investing and social entrepreneurship. Tahira received her undergraduate degree at The Ohio State University, graduating with a degree in finance and minor in science. Her interest in real estate began at Perry Capital, a hedge fund based in NYC, where she was a research associate focused on US and European mortgage-backed securities. Tahira wanted to utilize her experience from Perry Capital during the 2008 housing crisis to assist in redeveloping communities, and eventually moved to City First Enterprises (CFE). At CFE, a DC-based incubator of community development solutions, Tahira served as a program manager focused on the organization’s mission-finance real estate portfolio.

After completing her MBA, Tahira would like to pursue a career in real estate development and also focus on community development opportunities to revitalize areas throughout the US. Says Tahira, “I would like to combine my public and private sector experiences to not only engage in entrepreneurial and creative real estate deals, but help rejuvenate communities through vibrant real estate projects.” 

Shannon Richards

Shannon Richards
Hometown: San Francisco, California
University: Senior, Villanova University
Focus of study: Finance and Real Estate

My name is Shannon Richards and I am honored to be a recipient of the CREW Network Foundation Scholarship. My primary focus is on my schoolwork and success within the classroom, but I am involved in variety of activities on campus including: member of Delta Gamma Fraternity, Women in Business Society and Real Estate Society. I credit my passion for real estate back to my high school years. During my senior year of high school, I visited a family friends’ commercial real estate company in San Francisco and I fell in love with the energy and the drive employees put into their daily work. Since then, I have worked to learn more about the industry by visiting companies such as CBRE, Inc., Brandywine Real Estate Trust, and the Cherrybrook Group.

Even though I have worked hard to familiarize myself with the commercial real estate industry, I have enjoyed every moment of learning and meeting individuals who have already had a successful career. I am so grateful for those that encouraged me to apply for the CREW Network Foundation scholarship; especially my teachers at Villanova University and my CREW mentor Sue Welch. I look forward to a very successful career within the commercial real estate industry, and I thank those again who have chosen me to receive the award, and I hope to honor the CREW Network Foundation this year.

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CREW Network Foundation is recognized by the IRS as a 501(c)(3) organization. Contributions are deductible as charitable donations for federal income tax purposes. Furthermore, CREW Network Foundation is classified as a public charity under section 509(a)(2) of the Internal Revenue Code. CREW Network Foundation’s tax ID number is 48-1201724.


CREW Network Foundation Canada is recognized by the Canada Revenue Agency as a charitable organization. Contributions to the Annual Canadian Scholarship fund may be deductible as charitable contributions by Canadian residents. CREW Network Foundation Canada's Canadian Charitable Registration number is 80096 0478 RR00001. Checks paid in CAD should be mailed to: CREW Network Foundation Canada, PO Box 822, Stn. A Toronto, ON M5W 1G3 CANADA.

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Nichole Vanner
CREW Network Foundation Coordinator
+1 (785) 856-8286