CREW Chicago Convention Grant winner Colleen Marnell shares her impressions as a first time attendee.

November 15, 2017
Written by: Colleen Marnell
CREW Convention Article 2017
Colleen Marnell
My favorite thing about CREW Chicago is how inclusive, welcoming, and how the members are all genuinely excited to meet you and find ways to help you. My experience at CREW Convention in Houston proved that this isn’t just the culture of CREW Chicago, this is how CREW Network and every CREW chapter operate. For example, in advance of the Convention, I spent some time reviewing the attendee list to highlight the people that I wanted to make sure I met. Thanks to CREWBiz, I was able to find contact information for my list and send emails requesting the opportunity to meet up during breaks in the convention. Based on past experiences at non-CREW conferences and events, I expected to hear back from less than 25% of those I reached out to. Imagine my surprise when I heard back from every single person I contacted! This spirit of inclusiveness and openness extended to each portion of the event. I had meaningful conversations with attendees in elevators. Every table I sat at was welcoming and excited for me to join them. While waiting in line at the bathroom, easy conversations were begun. Walking the halls of the convention, everyone smiled at each other and exchanged hellos. It was as though everyone wanted to convey her feeling that we’re all in this together. This attitude that permeated every minute of my Convention experience was incredibly fulfilling, motivating and inspiring.
My Top 5 Takeaways:
  1. Travis Bradberry reminded us that our IQ isn’t enough but by working on our EQ (Emotional Intelligence), we can manage and lead better at work, home and as leaders within the CREW community.
  2. Spencer Levy has the admirable ability to make economics, a topic that tends to be dry and boring to this engineer, into an inspiring and fascinating subject. While it was fascinating to hear his take on the economics affecting the commercial real estate business, I was particularly struck by his take on the socioeconomic gap in our school systems and what he is doing to narrow that gap.
  3. Geena Davis is an inspiring example of a superhero who doesn’t wear a cape. Her commitment to improving how women are portrayed in the media through her non-profit, Geena Davis Institute on Gender in the Media (, was the perfect way to close out the Convention. As Geena says, if she can see it, she can be it.
  4. There are so many inspiring women in our industry and getting the opportunity to spend 3 days with many of them gave me a burst of energy to continue to aggressively pursue both my professional and personal goals in addition for finding ways to inspire younger women to do the same.
  5. The power of CREW is unmatched in the industry. We are very lucky to be part of such a welcoming organization full of members working to help each other.