Denise Kahler, CREW Network
Marketing and Communications Director
During the 2013 CREW Network Council of Delegates’ first business meeting of the year, one thing became abundantly clear; CREW Network works. Delegates and CREW Network Board members alike came forward with multiple examples of how CREW Network has helped them improve their business and enhance their professional stature within their companies and the industry.
A key function of the CREW Network Delegate is to insure chapter leaders and members are able to effectively articulate the value of the CREW Network community. 2013 CREW Network President Susan Hill described it as being natural for members to take for granted the value CREW Network provides because it has become such an integrated part of every member’s business. For Hill personally, the Network has positioned her as the “go-to” person for her boss when he needs market information because he knows she has contacts across North America at her fingertips. Said, Hill “My CREW connections keep him plugged in and we get the deal. That makes me a valuable asset. There is no other organization that provides the return on investment of time and money like CREW Network.” To that end, Hill also announced that a CREWbiz mobile application will be introduced this year to keep members connected anywhere, anytime.
To assist delegates with their communications to their chapter leaders and members, CREW Network has developed an online Delegate Resource Page, which contains all delegate communications, a calendar of annual events and deadlines, as well as all documents and presentations from each Leadership Summit & Council Meeting throughout the year. Additionally, CREW Network will develop a monthly email for delegates containing announcements and deadlines that should be communicated to boards of directors and members to insure an effective flow of information throughout the year.
Keeping CREW Network members consistently engaged in the organization, insures their membership remains top-of-mind and they are easily able to articulate to others the value of the organization. With membership recruitment being one of the key organizational objectives established by the 2013 CREW Network Board of Directors for the year, chapter leaders need to remember that member success stories are the most powerful recruitment tools in their chapter’s arsenal.
Among the objectives the board established for the year, is a continued push to support chapter attainment of the gold standards delegates established in 2011. The board plans to support the appropriate development of existing chapters through more frequent chapter visits. In line with this objective is a continued push for brand standards throughout the organization. Currently, 10 CREW Network Chapters have signed up to use the CREW Network website templates, with six other chapters considering it. Establishing a consistent brand identity throughout each chapter will strengthen the organization overall, which provides value to every chapter’s membership recruitment efforts.
President Hill also announced that CREW Network will develop a Distinguished Leaders Council. The purpose of this council is to connect the CREW Network Board with top industry leaders who will provide insight, advice and suggestions to strategically and quickly move the industry forward using the talent women offer to participate successfully at the highest levels of corporate and board leadership in commercial real estate.
Also new this year is the development of a CREW Network Social Media Task Force to study member and market usage of social media and develop strategies to better use this medium to advance the value of and encourage interest in the CREW Network organization.
Delegates voted unanimously to approve the appointment of five fellow delegates to serve on the 2013 CREW Network Nominating Committee. Approved delegates are: Christine Gorham, Eastwood Real Estate Services, LLC, CREW Atlanta; Holly Neber, AEI Consultants, East Bay CREW; Laura Walker, Citibank, NA, NYCREW Network; Rebecca Tudor, Twinrose Investments LLC, CREW Dallas; and Sadhvi Subramanian, Capital One Bank, CREW Washington DC. Delegates also approved the appointment of Gayle Bourdeau, Stewart Title Guaranty Company, NEWiRE Boston to serve as Alternate. CREW Network will issue a first call for 2014 CREW Network Board of Director nominees on April 1. Only current CREW Network Delegates and members of the 2013 CREW Network Board of Directors are eligible to submit nominations. Members interested in national board service should notify their chapter delegates.
Following the council meeting, delegates participated in a professional development session focused on effective networking. The first portion of the session featured a presentation from three prolific networkers: Barbara Champoux, NYCREW Network; Diane Butler, CREW Dallas; and Karen Hurd, NEWiRE Boston. The three started off the roundtable conversation by each sharing a personal story of how their involvement in CREW Network has impacted their business. Champoux described how a client asked her for recommendations for appraisers in Texas and she immediately logged into CREWbiz and pulled up a list of all CREW Network member appraisers in Texas and contacted each one for assistance. She was able to provide the right resource to her client and positioned herself as a valuable “go-to” source for that client.
Butler described being approached during the 2012 CREW Network Convention in Chicago by a member who knew Diane’s company was expanding in growing markets and mentioned a member who was looking to change jobs and whom she believed would be a perfect fit for Diane’s company. A couple of months later, during CREW Dallas’s December luncheon, another member approached Diane about the same woman. Diane was happy to report that her company is in the process of hiring the woman and pointed to the fact that she received that referral because she put herself “out there” and made others aware of her business.
Karen Hurd described how she uses her network to connect individuals in a way that provides value to both sides. For Hurd, this type of networking is not about the immediate business return, but is more about building relationships and positioning herself as a credible resource with others in the industry. Ultimately, these relationships have the potential to pay off in a big way for Karen and her company.
Each woman described her approach to networking for business development in much the same way; build the relationship first, then ask for the business. According to Hurd, it takes a minimum of five conversations with an individual before you really have a connection. Hurd also confided that she is an avid user of social media. While Champoux definitely sees the value of social media and technology in general, she pointed to studies that still show that nothing replaces the value of face-to-face interaction. Many delegates admitted to sharing a common barrier when it comes to networking; they are shy. Hurd’s advice to these women was “Know your strengths and remind yourself of them.”
Following the presentation, delegates participated in an intensive speed networking exercise to implement within their own chapters. During the exercise, participants practiced their elevator speeches and worked on their techniques to ask for business. As part of the exercise, participants used notecards to provide one another with suggestions for individuals and resources that could assist them with their stated business needs.
Following the networking exercise, delegates boarded their planes home with confirmation that CREW Network is the network that works.
Delegates will reconvene June 13-14 for the Spring Leadership Summit & Council Meeting in Scottsdale, Arizona.
Take a moment now to submit your member to member business success story to email@example.com to be featured on the CREW Network website.