Highlights: 2019 CREW Network Convention and Marketplace - Orlando, FL

October 9, 2019
Written by: Molly Woeste, CREW Member and Convention Scholarship winner
A group of CREW Cleveland members attended the Annual Network Convention and Marketplace this year on September 25-27 in Orlando. Here are some event highlights and takeaways that CREW member and Convention Scholarship winner, Molly Woeste brought back for us:

This year, 16 CREW Cleveland members, made their way down to sunny Orlando for the CREW Network Convention and Marketplace.  The festivities kicked off at the Marketplace on Wednesday afternoon, where 1,200+ attendees had the opportunity to visit nearly 50 vendor booths to discuss the latest and greatest in our industry.  The networking and conversation paired nicely with heavy hors d’oeuvres and cocktails, all at our onsite location, the Renaissance Orlando at SeaWorld.  Truly one of the greatest frenzies I’ve ever been privileged to be a part of – the excitement was palpable!        

Thursday morning came quickly as those same 1,200 attendees flooded a large banquet room to begin two days packed full of leadership development, networking and the exchange of ideas.  Our first speaker of the day was Carey Lohrenz, the first US Navy female F-14 Tomcat fighter pilot.  Carey entertained and inspired!  Her story of overcoming odds as a women in her field paralleled that of the brave women who have revolutionized our industry.  She also coached effortlessly on the importance of bringing teams together and staying resilient, all supported by her mission of fearless leadership. 

Skylar Tibbits, Co-director and founder of the Self-Assembly Lab at MIT joined us for lunch on Thursday.  Skylar is on the forefront of “smart fabrics” and 4D technology.  He described a world where “building and machines will be self-assembling, replicating and repairing” ultimately changing the entire landscape of our commercial real estate industry.  The premise of the presentation was fascinating, even if not yet quite in reach.

Scattered between speakers there were smaller breakout groups to allow for discussions and the exchange of ideas around topics of commercial real estate, hiring and retention and general business practices.  There was no shortage of learning, networking and personal/professional development.  After the day concluded, the Orlando chapter helped in hosting “dine arounds”, escorting groups to local Orlando favorites!  Another chance to get to know and explore our host city.

Friday morning started with a powerhouse panel of women – Annemarie DiCola, CEO of Trepp LLC, Leslie Hale, President and CEO of RLJ Lodging Trust, and Nathalie Palladitcheff, President and CEO of Ivanhoe Cambridge.  The panel discussion gave these women the opportunity to discuss their varying career paths and field questions from all the professional women and men in the room.  One thing was consistently clear:  each of these women were unapologetically, themselves.  They were successful because they learned their strengths, and utilized them to their fullest extent.  They were not fitting a mold of how they perceived things should be, but rather carved their own path.  Each of them were inspirational in their own journey.

As the conference neared its conclusion, we had one final speaker over Friday’s lunch:  Sarah Robb O’Hagan, Innovator, activist and former global CEO.   Yet another entertaining and motivating speaker for Convention, Sarah laid out the way to become “the most extreme version of yourself by operating at the edge of your potential and building a highly-collaborative team”.  The best take away?  Make FAILURE your FUEL.  It was an invigorating note on which to conclude our speakers!

We concluded the day Friday with a bit of business – the much anticipate reveal of the CREW Network new logo and rebranding.  There was a call to all chapters to recognize what it means to be a part of this amazing network.  We are so much bigger than our individual chapters.  We’re part of something bigger.  A movement, a network, a group of women empowering other women.  The logo is meant to unify our chapters and embody all those qualities.  Here’s a link to the new logo and CREW Network’s CEO, Wendy Mann’s take on the new design:  https://crewnetwork.org/about/crew-view-wendy-s-blog/september-2019/our-new-bold-brilliant-brand?utm_campaign=new_brand_email_all_members&utm_source=crew_network&utm_medium=email

As a first time attendee, I was blown away by the quality of speakers at Convention this year.  Their insight, ability to relate and overall genuine attitude was refreshing and inspiring.  The entire Convention was run professionally, with equal amounts of time to learn/grow as well as network.  If you’ve never attended, or even if you have, I encourage you to consider the CREW Network Convention in Austin

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