Hello CREW-St. Louis Members!
CREW-St. Louis celebrated with a spectacular 40th Anniversary Gala on Oct. 12 at The Coronado! More than 200 members and guests attended this first-class event, aptly titled as Together We Rise. And we rose to the occasion with a fabulous venue, wonderful food, a great band, a shiny Ruby Raffle and, most importantly, the opportunity to network with so many people that love CREW-St. Louis, including some of our original founders. The energy in the room was strong and contagious as we celebrated all of us and our mission to advance, educate and support women to influence the commercial real estate industry!
Pictures captured the revelry
so please look at the evening’s festivities. A special thanks to the 40th Anniversary Committee led by Jenna Knatt and Sharon Henderson, as well as the Committee members: Addie Bunting, Allison Jasper, Angie Drumm, Carol Hanson, Ellen Mannion, Jane Maddox, Stacey Hudson and Sue Pruchnicki. Our heartfelt appreciation to each of you!
Each CREW-St. Louis President recently has chosen a word to be their theme throughout their Presidential year. I gave this a great deal of thought starting in 2021 as I prepared for my turn in 2022. A word kept coming to the top of my mind. I struggled as to why and if it was the right word. Some of you probably feel that I was overthinking this, but I didn’t want to project a word on our Chapter until I determined it could inspire each of you vs. just me.
My journey to determine the right word finally ended when I announced it at the 40th Anniversary Gala – Empowerment! I realized Empowerment covers so many aspects and phases of our lives. For example, so many people have empowered me during my career, allowing me to grow into the leader that I am today. In return, I have empowered others so that they can do something outside of their comfort zone. For some that meant realizing they can make decisions for their business. For others it meant taking the next step in their careers. Or it just simply may be helping them see what I see: That they can do it!
Empowerment came to light in my early twenties when I started my first professional job as a tax accountant at Arthur Andersen. The company was one of the world’s largest and most prestigious accounting firms. It had first-class training, a great perk especially beneficial as I started my career. I learned so much and was so fortunate that my employer wanted more from me than just to do a job but invested in me and provided resources.
I had mentors, sponsors and advocates, and I still reach out to many of these individuals for advice, guidance and support. Jan Torrisi-Mokwa served as one of my strongest advocates. A wonderful woman, she taught me and countless others about Empowerment. She was one of my advocates behind closed doors; she pushed me to take risks, a lot of risks.
When I started my CREW-St. Louis Presidency, I asked our Executive and Advisory Boards to trust me and take a risk as to how we ran our Chapter. Membership had grown significantly over the past few years, so CREW Network now considered us a Large Chapter. It was time to get out of our comfort zone of how we had always done business and take the leap to do it differently. I didn’t make this change gradually but instead did it immediately. I thank both the Executive and Advisory Boards in supporting my recommendations to focus the Executive Board on the strategic direction of our Chapter. This necessitated that the Executive Board relinquish some control of the day-to-day operating decisions and empower the Advisory Board by providing them with what we have called Authority Parameters to get business done. I also thank our Advisory Board for trusting me and themselves that they could make the decisions, realizing that they didn’t need the Executive Board’s or my approval for those items that fell within the Authority Parameters.
I also thank the Executive and Advisory Board Members for making the Executive Board liaison relationships stronger and more impactful. This change has positively helped the Executive Board to spend more time to implement and hold us accountable to the Strategic Plan benefiting the overall Chapter. This Empowered our CREW-St. Louis leadership team!
During my CREW-St. Louis career I have had great conversations with so many of you. I have been a mentor when you sought my advice. I have been your sponsor in leadership discussions. And I carry the responsibility to advocate for you behind closed doors just like Jan did for me during the early days of my career. I thoroughly enjoy these conversations, especially when I see so many of you take the risk and grow your confidence while knowing that others and myself have your back. You are Empowered!
In August, I visited a friend’s company who had previously used Jan as a consultant. Jan’s services and friendship are one of the many reasons his company has successfully launched to its next level. Jan tragically passed away in a car accident on July 23, 2018. I lost a friend that day that I hadn’t seen in a while but knew was always there, just a phone call away. I gained an angel that day, always there every single time that I empower myself to take that next BIG risk.
As I waited in the lobby of my friend’s company for my meeting to start, I sat down in a comfy chair and took a deep breath after back-to-back meetings all day. I looked to my left and there was a glass conference room with the name plate for the conference room saying Empowered. It was Jan. It brought the journey full circle. My theme word for my Presidency was Empowerment.
Yes, it’s more than a word; it’s a foundational principle that has made me who I am today personally and professionally. It also pinpoints my leadership goal for CREW-St. Louis. I want our organization empowered to make change, to take risks and support each other to do the same as individuals. I want to empower our members to believe in themselves, to take that jump and not be comfortable. You drive your career, your success.
I could continue this letter with countless ways to inspire you to believe in the word Empowerment and what it can do for you. However, I have another responsibility and that is to invite you to join me at our upcoming events. Please visit our CREW-St. Louis website
and open our Friday emails to sign up for the following:
- Nov. 9 National Keynote Speaker: Julie Brown, author of This Sh!t Works
- Nov. 16 Young Professionals – Accept the Compliment Workshop
- Our CREW Network DEI Sessions on Nov. 9 (Retaining and Engaging Talent) and Dec. 6 (Operationalizing DEI & Measure Progress)
- Dec. 13 Holiday Party at Anheuser-Busch Biergarten
I thank all of you for your engagement in our Chapter. Your involvement and dedication to our mission make all the difference in our continued success!
CREW-St. Louis 2022 President
Koch Development, Chief Executive Officer