President's Message

May 3, 2023
Hello CREW-St. Louis Members! 

What does CREW-St. Louis mean to YOU?  To me, it means a valuable network, friendship, professional development, unique experiences, support, leadership, connections, resources, inspiration, opportunities, career growth…the list goes on and on.  None of these benefits were instantaneous, they all evolved over my many years in CREW-St. Louis.  However, the value of having a strong professional network was almost felt immediately.

As a young attorney, attending networking events often seemed daunting, and any time I entered an event my stomach was tense. By attending events, joining a committee, and becoming friends with other members, CREW-St. Louis changed that for me.  As my CREW network and friendships grew, I quickly found that I was comfortable going to any industry event.  I knew that I would see a fellow CREW-St. Louis member and feel at ease.

As time went on, I also noticed a slight shift on my real estate transactions – the transactions seemed to be going much smoother!  As I reflected on what was causing this change, I noticed a theme: the broker, opposing attorney, lender, developer, title agent and/or architect were often CREW members!  While we weren’t always on the same side, it was much easier to get a deal done with people I knew, admired, and respected.  And, when a deal goes smoothly, the client is happy, and your career starts to grow.  

Please take a few moments to reflect on what CREW-St. Louis means to you and please send me a note.  I would love to hear your CREW story.  

The first quarter of 2023 has come and gone, but – together – we have already accomplished so much:

In record time, CREW-St. Louis has achieved the CREW Network Foundation Chapter Challenge Trifecta!  As you know, the Trifecta is met when:
  • The Chapter contributes at least $1,000 directly to CREW Network Foundation;
  • 100% of the Chapter’s board gives an individual donation; and
  • Over 50% of the Chapter’s membership gives an individual donation. 
While this is a huge accomplishment for our Chapter, more importantly, our donations help educate women and girls about the career opportunities available to them in the commercial real estate industry through scholarships, industry research, and career outreach efforts. 

Please give a big round of applause to Amanda Norris and Christine Beck, our Chair and Co-Chair of the Education and Engagement Committee, for inspiring and encouraging us to achieve the Trifecta so early in the year!  To each member that donated, donated on behalf of another member, or sent calls, emails or texts to remind and encourage other members to donate, THANK YOU!  

We congratulated and recognized members as part of our 2023 Annual Awards Event.  We all know women who have inspired us - women who made an impact on our lives and their communities. Their stories are powerful reminders of what CREW can do! CREW-St. Louis honored and celebrated these inspirational industry leaders through our annual awards program by recognizing six important categories: 
  • CREW Impact Award was awarded to Erin Valentine, Vice President of Business Development, McCarthy Building Companies, Inc. 
  • New Member of the Year was awarded to Rebecca Thessen, Commercial Real Estate Broker, L3 
  • Career Advancement for Women was awarded to Pat Guichet, Senior Project Manager – Planning, Design & Construction, SSM Health St. Louis
  • Leadership in Diversity, Equity & Inclusion was awarded to Helen Lee, CEO, Principal, Founder Tao + Lee Associates, Inc.
  • Economic Impact Award was awarded to the Armory STL Development, to which the following CREW-St. Louis members contributed: 
    • Liz Austin - Chief Marketing Officer, Green Street Real Estate Ventures
    • Michelle O’Toole - Principal Owner, O’Toole Design
    • Addie Bunting - Director, Business Development, Wies Drywall & Construction 
    • Sarah Luem - Business and Real Estate Attorney, Capes Sokol
  • Woman of Influence was awarded to Yaphett El-Amin, President, Executive Director, Efficacy Consulting & Development
I am in awe of our great CREW-St. Louis membership, and I specifically admire these leaders and volunteers for their belief in and dedication to our mission, which is shown both in their professional and personal lives.  

CREW CIRCLES was launched with a kick-off party on March 22nd, where 68 members joined our new initiate to create small, intimate peer groups within our Chapter that enable members of the same industries to develop relationships, exchange knowledge, and support each other in navigating their careers. The CREW Circles include 4 areas: Brokerage, Business Development, Finance and Law. I look forward to watching this initiative flourish by providing useful insights and business skills to our members. Hats off to members Karen Karwoski and Emily Ackley for all their work to develop and start CREW Circles.   

We have held numerous programs, including larger events such as a panel discussion on Cannabis and a tour of the St. Louis Soccer Stadium, a Young Professionals’ event on Healthy Money Habits, and several smaller events such as hikes, Dine-Arounds (including a dine-around-happy-hour at my house!), a mani-pedi event, and many more. I appreciate all committee members and volunteers continually working to make so many valuable experiences for members and non-members. These events have exceeded 650 registrants!!

Members attended the CREW Network Winter Leadership Summit in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Additionally, one member, Christine Beck, is attending the inaugural CREW Network’s Emerging Leaders Retreat on May 10-12 in San Antonio, Texas.

With 3 quarters of the year to go, we are far from finished. Upcoming networking opportunities include a tour of the Missouri Botanical Gardens in May and our Signature Event in June. The Signature Event will showcase a national speaker. There will also be numerous smaller events, including happy hours, coffee, webinars, and a golf clinic. I encourage you to sign up for one or more of these events!! 

Like anything, I believe you get out of CREW-St. Louis what you put into it. You get support from other members when you give support to other members. You get valuable experiences when you attend our programs. You become a leader by taking on leadership roles.  

If you have yet to become involved in CREW-St. Louis, I implore you to do so. Come to more events.  Join a committee. Use the CREW Biz online community to reach out and connect with other members. AND – there is still time for you to send a quick note to me or Erin Valentine to let us know that you are interested in pursuing a leadership role in CREW-St. Louis for 2024. 

After what I feel has been a long dark winter, I can’t wait to start complaining about the St. Louis heat and humidity. 😊 Wishing you a great start to your spring and summer! I hope to see you soon.
Angie Drumm