CREW Chicago at the CREW Network Convention
By: Laura Pacino

October 19, 2021
Written by: Laura Pacino, Tenant Coordinator, Retail Properties of America, Inc.
My experience attending my first CREW Convention was amazing! Thank you, CREW Chicago, for the opportunity to represent our chapter at the 2021 CREW Network Convention! The convention started with two learning excursions, the first being a tour of the master-planned Summerlin Community and Viva Las Vegas – An Insider’s Tour of the entire Las Vegas Valley.  From there, was Marketplace and Networking. Given the circumstances of 2020, the energy at this marketplace and convention in general was electric.  Everyone was so excited just to be together with their industry peers for comradery, learning and laughs.  While each breakout session, peer exchange, dine around (Top of the World – Beyond Amazing) and excursion (Downtown Las Vegas: Then and Now) I attended was phenomenal, I was most impressed with the keynote speakers, Linda Alvarado and Sarah Thomas.  Linda began her career working as a laborer at a landscape company and eventually became president and CEO of Alvarado Construction, Inc. Sarah is a woman of firsts – first female to officiate a major college football game, bowl game, NFL game, Super Bowl, and in a Big 10 conference stadium. These women broke the proverbial glass ceiling for future generations and are such an inspiration, demonstrating that women are powerful and can do anything, anywhere, and in any forum.

Being my first convention, I had no idea what to expect, but I am lucky to have CREW Chicago friends who guided me through the entire process.  When I reflect back on the week, the words that come to mind are confidence, collaboration, empowerment, leadership, mentorship, strength and support. The connections made not only on a professional level, but on a personal level will last a lifetime.  BUT... this is only the beginning of what CREW can offer you. This may have been my first convention, but this will not be the last!  I cannot wait for CREW Convention 2022 in Chicago, where we will not be on mute.