President’s Message

September 27, 2020
Written by: CREW-St. Louis

President’s Message


When we started the year, we adopted Engage as the rallying cry for our members. It certainly carried the weight of our mission and the value of membership. The world soon turned upside down, though, as the pandemic forced us to stay apart to stay together.

How do you Engage during these difficult, challenging times? The theme seemed unrealistic. The situation certainly runs counter to the strength of our networking, our in-person programs, our Annual Awards Banquet, the Dine Arounds and Happy Hours, Trivia Night, the CREW Network Convention and many more opportunities to meet. 

Well, I believe we have overcome the obstacles and found opportunities to stay the course, to realize the value of getting together even if on laptops and smartphones, phone calls and text messages, and even small group settings to share our expertise or perhaps just a friendly way to raise our spirits.

Thanks to the hard work of so many we continue to Engage

We recently held our Second Annual Trivia Night. Yes, it was a virtual event, but more than 150 members and their guests participated. Thanks to so many for buying virtual tables, including the winning team from Cushman & Wakefield, aptly called “All We Do Is Win!” We also appreciate the support of Capes Sokol, our Presenting Sponsor, and Environmental Operations Inc., our raffle sponsor. Kudos to the Education and Engagement Committee (Sarah Luem, Molly Mastin, Vicki Dolan, Katie Flaschar, Laura Hardy, Colleen Nigro, Samantha Hurrell, Amanda Norris and Anne Street) for organizing and executing such an engaging evening.

And it was far from trivial since the event provides funding to CREW Foundation. We raised more than $4,600 to enable the foundation to carry on its important work to advance women in the industry through college scholarships, industry-leading research and career outreach. 

In fact, CREW Network Foundation recently released its fourth study that measures the progress of women over the last 15 years, as well as benchmarks diversity, equity and inclusion in the industry. I encourage all of you to read and share this report: 2020 CREW Network Benchmark Study: Gender and Diversity in Commercial Real Estate.

Besides the trivia night, we continue to hold virtual programming, including a tour of the City Foundry STL and the historic Post-Dispatch building. We’ve held numerous Conversations on a variety of topics from the CARES Act to CRE lending, from building company culture in a virtual world to leading a company remotely. We have held numerous Dine Arounds either virtually or in small groups, with more still on the schedule. And we even have offered golf outings for small groups.

Please mark your calendar for Oct. 13 for a special virtual program. We will hold our Annual Meeting on this day, starting at noon. It’s important as we vote on the future leaders of CREW-St. Louis. You have received emails that detail candidates who will guide our chapter in 2021.

Unfortunately, we could not hold our banquet to honor winners of the 15th Annual CREW-St. Louis Networking Awards. You can read more about the accomplishments of these outstanding women leaders in this issue. We hope to recognize these women next year if a formal program can be held.

While we engage locally through the network of our chapter members, we remain connected to the broader CREW Network. We recently did this from Sept. 15-17 at the CREW Network Convention, a virtual convention that offered more than 50 sessions, small group learning and networking opportunities, special business networking opportunities, live Q&A sessions with industry experts and thought leaders, and a keynote address from Diane Keaton. 

Talk about an opportunity to Engage. I’m proud to report that 28 of our members participated in the virtual convention. We also made the most of it by holding several virtual and in-person events connected to the convention. I kicked it off with a happy hour at YaYa's on Monday night after the first day of the convention. Stacey Kamps also welcomed members to a happy hour at Herbies, and Nancy Petersen held a virtual happy hour that evening. On Wednesday evening, Lynn Goessling invited members to her house, and Dawn Humphreys also celebrated with members in St. Charles. We closed out convention on Thursday night with a virtual discussion and get together. 

As you can see, we continue to Engage. I thank all of you for living up to the spirit of our theme in every possible way. 


Tracy Howren
2020 CREW-St. Louis President
SVP, Commercial Real Estate
UMB Bank

If your dream only includes you, it’s too small.” 
Ava DuVernay