2022 CREW Network Virtual Convention

December 20, 2021
Written by: Melissa Jordan, RSM US LLP

2022 CREW Network Virtual Convention

This past September I had the opportunity to attend the CREW Network Convention virtually.  I am sure a large part of the experience is missed being on the other end of the screen instead of in the room with others – missing all that buzz and energy in the room that just doesn’t translate through the screen. I’ve attended CREW Summits in the past, and I can only imagine there must have been quite the buzz in the room, especially during that opening session and after so many months of remote working. Unfortunately, my circumstances and obligations at the time did not allow me to attend in person, but I was grateful I could participate from afar. Of course, I am thrilled convention will be local next year so there is no way I will miss out! 

While I always love a good commercial real estate educational session, especially from a national as opposed to a local perspective, what I was looking forward to most and what really stuck with me were the professional development presentations and speakers, and hearing from CREW leadership. The themes surrounding diversity were refreshing to hear. What I heard was a broader interpretation and approach to diversity; one that extends beyond color and age and sexuality; a perspective that views diversity as a range, as well as considering diversity of thought; not only honoring differences but also putting inclusivity into practice; challenging our historical ways of thinking and breaking not only barriers but also patterns. 

Since the convention, I have been thinking a lot about so many of the antiquated decisions and patterns of thinking that show up all the time, not only in my professional life, but in my personal life too. The question I keep asking myself is, “Says who?” Who decided I should feel certain ways about certain things? Who decided that a specific way was the right way, or the wrong way, or the only way? Which brings me to another theme among the speakers, which really resonated with me as I’m sure it did for many of us: the way we as women continually doubt our abilities, constantly second guessing ourselves even when success is already well within our grasp. Hearing the breakthrough journeys from women like Linda Alvarado and Sarah Thomas was truly inspirational. They are trailblazers in every sense of the word, creating the path for the rest of us. The speakers gave me the boost I needed, reminding me to trust in myself and my decisions. I walked away feeling inspired to keep challenging the status quo, by continuing to ask myself, “Says who?”

Since I joined CREW about five years ago, I’ve always felt a strong sense of belonging when I didn’t in other places or settings. I’ve found my tribe and really could not be prouder to belong to an organization that demonstrates it is truly committed to change, diversity, inclusion, and supporting one another. The best part is that I know that together, we can be impactful. We already are!