CREW Leadership Summit - Toronto, Ontario

Commercial Real Estate Women (CREW) Leadership Summit – Toronto, Ontario, June 22 - 23, 2017

Contributor: Betsy Hobbs Wagner - CREW Detroit
Vice President and Business Development Director at
Hobbs+Black Architects

I have to say, I was so honored to attend the Crew leadership Summit in Toronto this year. It was truly a great experience on a personal and professional level. The first day had a fascinating opener that focused on a panel discussion about what other CREW networks are doing and their best practices; what is working well and what can be improved upon. This created candid discussion on how different programs within CREW can better themselves.  

I was impressed with several chapters outreach program; created to encourage young women to get involved in commercial real estate; whether it be getting involved in brokerage, architecture, engineering, finance or project management. The take away from this was that it is better to try to engage these girls at a younger age. Getting involved in middle school and high-school is better than waiting until they are in college. At that point it almost becomes a missed opportunity. These chapters work with schools and put on a one day session to talk to these young ladies about different careers in real estate as well as give them interactive projects to work on.  It is a good way to get them exposed to different types of opportunities in the field of commercial real estate at a young age. 

Other chapters had some great suggestions on how to maximize networking within your CREW organization. One chapter has everyone put their business cards in a bowl at each member only event, on your way out, you need to grab a card out of the bowl and call that person to set up lunch. They mentioned that has been successful for them to get to know people better within their network. 

Betsy Hobbs Wagner at far left, networking with some new CREW friends in Toronto for the CREW Leadership Summit.

Betsy Hobbs Wagner at far left, networking with some new CREW friends in Toronto for the CREW Leadership Summit.

All of the speakers were great, however, I found Cheryl Cran personally very inspiring. I could relate to her talking about in her younger years trying to control everything and show everybody all she knew. While she is a smart lady, she came to realize, that is not true leadership. True leadership is teaching people to be better than you are. Giving them a chance to grow and expand in their positions. If you do a good job, they will be able to take over your position someday to keep the company going. Also, it is important to be your authentic self and not try to be something you’re not. The more inline you are with your belief system, the better you will do.  

Finally, the social events were a lot of fun. I met some really great people from Tucson and I would like to attend the Tucson Conference in February, as we have an Arizona Hobbs+Black Architects office that does some amazing projects. The happy hours were a great way to meet people and the dine-arounds were amazing. Our group went to a Spanish Restaurant which was fabulous. Thank you CREW Detroit for this opportunity, I feel like I learned a lot. 

For more information on how to get involved with CREW Detroit see this LINK.