Power of CREW

September 29, 2021
Written by: CREW-St. Louis

Resilient: Accomplishments Lauded at Awards Ceremony

What an evening! After a one-year hiatus, a packed crowd celebrated the achievements of CREW-St. Louis members and a key female leader at the 16th Annual CREW-St. Louis Networking Awards. Held on Aug. 26 at La Verona at the Marketplace on the Hill, we continued the tradition of honoring members for living our mission while spotlighting Carolyn Kindle Betz, this year’s recipient of the prestigious Woman of Influence Award.

The evening kicked off with a networking happy hour, replete with hors devours. Nearly 150 members and guests mingled before the start of the ceremony. The crowd then settled in for a fabulous dinner

Stacey Kamps, President-elect, kicked off the ceremony. She was called upon the day of the event when 2021 President Nancy Petersen became ill and decided best to stay home. Stacey and the Awards Committee did a great job in handling the disappointing news for Nancy.

As Stacey noted, “This evening celebrates our mission in action. We honor the hard work, talent and accomplishments of our members.”

Additionally, Tracy Howren, 2020 President, presented – and recognized - last year’s awards and honorees:
•    New Member of the Year: Connie Kroenung, Working Spaces
•    CREW Impact Award: Molly Studer, Gershman Commercial Real Estate
•    Career Advancement for Women: Lynn Goessling, Armstrong Teasdale
•    Economic Impact: Pfizer Research and Development Facility, Chesterfield, MO. Members who played a pivotal role in this development are: Angie Earlywine, Cushman and Wakefield; Jen Nevil and Kelly Pimmel, Lamar Johnson Collaborative; and Susie Woodland, Mink Contract  
Tracy then honored Maxine Clark, the 2020 Woman of Influence. The Founder and Former Chief Executive Officer, Build-A-Bear Workshop, and CEO and President at Clark-Fox Foundation, Maxine then served as the master of ceremonies and highlighted each of the honoree’s accomplishments. 

Several nominations in each category made this a challenging task. They all aspire to do more by making a difference for our chapter, our industry and our region. 

Congratulations to this year’s honorees!

Those honored this year are: 

Woman of Influence: Carolyn Kindle Betz, CEO of St. Louis CITY SC and President of Enterprise Holdings Foundation

Started in 2016, the award recognizes a female leader who has made a significant impact on the commercial real estate industry through her leadership, accomplishments and service to our region.

The long-awaited announcement came on Aug. 20, 2019, when St. Louis was granted the 28th franchise in the Major League Soccer ranks. It took effort. It took leadership. And MLS4THELOU found the right leader to revive the dream of bringing soccer to center stage in St. Louis. 

Carolyn Kindle Betz led the charge in reviving the region’s quest to join the league. She, along with other family members, became the first female majority-owned team in league history. 

The commitment by the owners includes a world-class stadium, practice fields and team headquarters located in West Downtown St. Louis. And nearly all the $468 million construction costs will be privately financed by the team’s owners.

The 22,500-seat stadium will be more than just a home and a hub for the soccer community. The open-air venue may also be used for concerts, high school and collegiate sporting events and tournaments, soccer camps, family shows and more.

Ms. Kindle Betz also envisions more for the Downtown West District with mixed-use retail, restaurants and gathering spaces to spur activity 365 days a year. 

Under her leadership, the team also decided to locate its team headquarters downtown. It will renovate the historic Union Square building. This marks one of the few U.S.-based pro sports teams to have its stadium, team headquarters and practice fields in one centralized downtown location.

The team’s name, St. Louis CITY SC, is rooted in the city's rich soccer tradition as America's First Soccer Capital. The name celebrates the area's diverse, iconic neighborhoods and proud heritage while capturing the region's recent growth and cultural renaissance.

Landing a pro soccer team lifted the spirits of the region’s sports fans as they set an MLS record for ticket deposits. The team launched the program in mid-September 2020, almost three years before the team even takes the pitch. More than 30,000 seats were reserved in the first 15 minutes, setting a league record. 

Such civic pride and investment come as no surprise for Ms. Kindle Betz and her partners. She hales from the Taylor family, which has a long-standing commitment to the region and across the country. The Taylors have donated millions of dollars to support cultural and academic institutions, infrastructure needs, and a variety of social programs. 

Besides leading the charge as CEO of St. Louis CITY SC, she oversees the Enterprise Holdings Foundation. Since its inception, the foundation has contributed more than $462 million to thousands of nonprofit organizations focused on community improvement, education and environmental stewardship.

While Ms. Kindle Betz was unable to attend, Courtney Mueller, Vice President of Public Relations for St. Louis City SC, accepted the award on her behalf. And Ms. Kindle Betz will serve as the keynote speaker at the chapter’s Signature Event on Oct. 19 at the Palladium.

New Member of the Year: Addie Bunting, Business Development Manager, Wies Drywall and Construction Corp.

Presented to a new member who joined the chapter in 2020 or 2021 and demonstrated commitment and support to the chapter.

Over the past two years, more than 80 professionals have joined our organization. That made this year’s selection of New Member of the Year extremely difficult. But what a great problem to have!

Addie was chosen based on her involvement in several efforts. Shortly after joining CREW-St. Louis, she became a key player on the CREW-St. Louis Sponsorship Committee. When CREW-St. Louis was asked to host the CREW Network Leadership Summit in St. Louis, she played a key role in the planning process, coordinated the run held early morning on the Arch grounds, and handled many other extra duties during the Summit, which drew more than 230 CREW Network members from across the country. 

As one of her many supporters noted, “For a first-year member, this absolutely showed her leadership.”

CREW Impact Award: Nancy Rodney, Project Manager, Rosemann & Associates P.C.

Recognizes an outstanding member who embraces the goals and mission of CREW.

Nancy was honored for her ability to move the organization’s goals and mission forward. 

She has worked on many committees since joining the organization nearly two decades ago, taking a leadership role in 2010 when she became president of CREW-St. Louis. She stays involved as a member of the chapter’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee.

She entered the architectural field 40 years ago when few women were in the profession and almost none in senior leadership. She encourages women to enter the field and mentors newcomers.

She also serves on the board and as a mentor for the Women Connect program of Midwest BankCentre. Community involvement remains important, too. She is a member of the Spirit of St. Louis Women’s Fund, which provides grants to small nonprofits in the St. Louis region.

As a nominator stated, “We are so fortunate that she continues to be a dedicated voice to our mission and Chapter.”

Economic Impact: Tracy Howren, Senior Vice President, UMB Bank; Lisa Morrison, Senior Associate, Lawrence Group; Erin Valentine, Vice President of Business Development, McCarthy Building Cos.; Valerie Gaadt, Account Executive, Midwest Elevator Co.; and Abigail Kepple, President-Tax Credit Services, and Chrissy Maurer, AVP Relationship Manager, Enterprise Bank & Trust
(St. Louis Union Station)

Honors a CREW or CREW members who played a pivotal role in a real estate project that has a lasting, positive impact on the community. Project must have been completed or achieved a significant milestone in the last year.

Union Station once served as a gateway to all of America. In its heyday, more than 100,000 rail travelers moved through its historic grand hall. But time also marked the end of rail transportation. The historic station received a second life during the mid-80s. In August 1985, it reopened as a mixed-use complex featuring retail shops, event spaces and restaurants.

Well-received, the concept worked for years but eventually the station needed something more. It would take vision and a more refined development to combine its nostalgia and splendor with the modern attractions to transform its nearly vacant mall.

Lodging Hospitality Management (LHM), a St. Louis-based hospitality company, wanted to inject new life into the national historic monument. 

St. Louis long talked about an aquarium to bolster its standing. This now serves as an anchor in its redevelopment. The 120,000-square foot aquarium with one million gallons of water opened on Christmas Day in 2019 to a sold-out crowd. 

But the $187 million redevelopment includes far more than the aquarium.
Its Rope Course and Zip line overlook the main mall. Travelers find fresh new rooms in the station’s hotel located in the Clock Tower. Significant renovations were made to refresh its convention space.

The Midway features new restaurant concepts to allow visitors to spend the day or just enjoy dinner before a ballgame or hockey game. 

Want to see the city? The 200-foot Sky Wheel provides a stunning view of St. Louis' glory from the panoramic view at the top. 

This highly visible property along Highway 40/64 has brought national recognition to the city, created more than 500 construction jobs and over 100 permanent jobs, redefined the St. Louis skyline, and served as a foundation for more development such as the MLS Stadium currently under construction.

CREW-St. Louis members played key roles throughout the station’s evolution, which continues as LHM plans for more renovations to the train shed.

As with any large-scale development, financing became critical. The project would not have gotten off the ground without the financial support of St. Louis banks including Enterprise Bank & Trust as the lead lender on the construction and permanent financing along with the historic bridge loan financing. Enterprise Bank also assisted with state historic credits. UMB Bank served as the syndicate partner in the financing.

CREW-St. Louis members Abigail Kepple, President of Specialized Lending, and Chrissy Maurer, AVP Relationship Manager, of Enterprise Bank and Trust, helped lead the financing, along with Tracy Howren, Senior Vice President of Commercial Real Estate at UMB Bank

McCarthy Building Companies built the aquarium. Erin Valentine led the business development efforts to secure the construction of the aquarium by McCarthy. 

Lawrence Group's team was led by Lisa Morrison. It contributed with fresh new hotel rooms located in the Clock Tower, as well as significant renovations in the Midway to accommodate refreshed convention space. This included a new mix of dining with the 1894 Cafe, the Train Shed and the Soda Fountain and Candy Shop. 

CREW St. Louis member Valerie Gaadt represented Midwest Elevator, which modernized its elevators and escalators.

Career Advancement for Women: Molly Studer, Senior Vice President, Gershman Commercial Real Estate

Lauds a member who consistently exemplifies CREW’s commitment to elevating the status of women in commercial real estate. The member works tirelessly to support women in advancing their careers.

CREW-St. Louis members recognized Molly for her constant efforts to support and advance the careers of women in commercial real estate. 

A 19-year veteran of commercial real estate, she served as membership chair, attracting nearly 100 new members who joined during her tenure. She remains a key member of this committee as well. Many new members still mention her as the key driver in their decision to join CREW-St. Louis.

Molly also wanted to do more to open doors to opportunities. She came up with adding a Careers page on the CREW-St. Louis website. She put all job opportunities in one place and maintains all the job postings and resumes on the organization’s website.

Leadership in Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI): Adrienne Bain, Executive, Citizens Bank and B Squared Group

This inaugural award honors an individual who creates, advocates or enhances a culture within their organization that moves DEI forward.

Adrienne made her mark in an industry that isn’t just male dominated, but also sorely needs racial and ethnic diversity, especially in its senior ranks. She rose from senior portfolio manager to regional commercial real estate team lead in the Southwest and West regions. She was the first black female to do so at her company. 

In addition to serving on both the women’s and multicultural business resource groups at Citizens Bank, she is also the DEI taskforce liaison for the CREW Network global board of directors. She is an active member of the DEI committees for both CREW-St. Louis and CREW Charlotte as well as Urban Land Institute (ULI). 

She serves on the DEI advisory board, a group of senior executive women in commercial real estate who advocate for equality and parity. She also was selected to participate in the DEI workgroup for the Association of Junior Leagues International.

She is the first black female to be a commercial real estate team lead at Citizens Bank, the only black female on the ULI capital markets council and the first black female to be president of CREW Charlotte. She is doing everything she can to be a catalyst for change in this industry.

Her greatest accomplishment during the past year was developing tools and resources, such as the DEI playbook, while serving as the DEI taskforce liaison for CREW Network. 

Last, but not least, in 2007, she co-founded a real estate investment, development and management company that is majority women/minority owned.

What a powerful group of women and a fitting way to celebrate their contributions and accomplishments!

The chapter applauds the dedication and hard work that went into planning this event. Special thanks to our Awards Committee led by Susan Bowen, Chair, and Michelle Hamilton, Co-chair. Their team included: Elizabeth Graff, Sharon Henderson, Annie Kowert, Kathryn Davis, Patty Gaus and last year’s event chair, Mande Meyer. We also want to thank Growing Green for the beautiful centerpieces.