President’s Message - April 2023
While the worst of Covid is in the rear-view mirror, it’s impacts on commercial real estate are still a major factor for companies in our sector. In particular, it feels as if most office owners, investors, and operators are bracing for a very difficult time ahead as tenant occupancy continues at much lower rates in the DC Metro area than hoped for. On the other hand, demand for places to live of all kinds continues to be strong, hospitality has bounced back, retail is improving in many places, and industrial demand is both up and down in response to the market. In other words, the picture is mixed and consequently worrying.
What do you do to flourish professionally and to help your company flourish in uncertain times? Invest in yourself and invest in organizations that help you make the connections you need for business. Be thoughtful, deliberate, and proactive. Reach out now. Make the effort now.
Build your network of support and expertise to ensure you have alternatives, ideas, and resources when you are ready to act. We all know that the early movers in a market poised to turn upward will reap outsized returns—is your company prepared to see the signs and move quickly? Are you?
When I reach out to companies asking them for their support and sponsorship for CREW DC, I explain how participation with CREW creates opportunities for interaction among senior-level decision makers from every facet of the commercial real estate industry and positions their company with a robust and responsive network primed to help them succeed. Our chapter sponsors reap the benefits of networking and programing to strengthen their ties to the community, get professional development for their team members, and create lift for their businesses.
Sponsoring firms have taken our theme, “Think CREW First for Business,” and used it as a warm introduction to potential clients. I’ve personally reached out to members asking for help, and two are working on finding me the right connection. Have you reached out to a CREW member for advice, ideas, options? It’s tempting for a developer to think a furniture dealer could never bring them business or an AEC consultant has nothing to do with a banker’s next commitment. But our members are super connectors and getting to know them can open doors you have yet to dream.
HITT Contracting, a 2023 Gold Sponsor of CREW DC, will be doing my firm’s interior tenant improvements in Reston. I was happy to provide input to the team preparing the RFP and the list of firms invited to bid—although it was not my process to run. Being connected to the industry through CREW, I provided insight, suggestions, and ideas. HITT Contracting won this highly competitive process on their own merits—and I look forward to interacting with their team which will contain a few CREW members.
CREW DC sponsor Lockton received an introduction to bid on a major insurance portfolio with a CREW DC sponsor developer through a CREW connection and won it—unseating a long-standing non-CREW relationship. CREW DC sponsor Resolute Consulting LLC credits introductions through CREW connections with several new clients, including other CREW DC sponsoring firms. CREW DC sponsor Eagle Bank was introduced to CREW DC sponsor Red Thinking through CREW—they do business together today.
One thing is for sure, whenever I’m part of conversations about business, I rattle off a litany of CREW DC sponsor and member companies as sources for business ideas, connections, and resources. Learning about opportunities in commercial real estate is still so much about ‘who you know.’ Connecting with members of CREW ensures you and your company are seeing ideas, resources, and opportunities.
CREW DC Sponsors also are helping us reach our goal of having a diverse and inclusive membership that nurtures belonging, cultivates connections, fosters growth, celebrates difference, and develops leaders in commercial real estate. It’s been proven in business that a diverse workforce brings creativity and innovation, creates opportunity for professional growth, allows for better decision making, and is good for the bottom line. Celebrating diversity not only boosts cultural awareness but creates a space to celebrate the positive impact diverse voices can have on a company, organization, community, and society.
CREW DC Members at 2022 Convention: Rachel Schiftan, Kelli Dickerson, Toni Beverly
By sponsoring CREW DC, these 79 (and counting) committed firms, are proudly stating they are committed to a diverse and inclusive workforce and transforming commercial real estate by advancing the achievements of ALL women. Thank you for your support. We couldn’t do this without you.
And there is no better time to join these sponsor firms than now, as we celebrate Diversity Month. Fill out our pledge form today and tell the DMV you support CREW DC.
I am so grateful for all our sponsor companies, dynamic leaders and connectors, and the next generation of members who are passionate about leading CREW DC into the future. With your involvement we will continue to support each other and flourish in uncertain times. Send us your news, and let us help you make connections that will build your business. I look forward to hearing from you.
Miriam Brodie – 2023 CREW DC President
Vice President, Kimley-Horn