1st Quarter 2016
30 YEARS OF
Then to NOW — and Beyond PAST PRESIDENTS • GENDER EQUALITY
I N SIDE THIS IS S U E Looking Back
Women in the Workplace Then and Now
Impact of California’s Fair Pay Act
Profile of Darcy Mackay
Diversity in Commercial Real Estate
Building Stories: From Cars to Chocolate
Profile: Frances Choun
New Year, New Era
Working with Executive Recruiters
A Word from Our Sponsors
Past CREW SF Presidents are listed throughout this issue of the VIEW
the VIEW EDITORIAL STAFF Managing Editor
Angel Editorial Review Contributors
Valerie Concello Richard Isaac Elaine Chan Valerie Concello Delia Isvoranu Donna Schumacher Rosa Sheng Angie Sommer Morgan Ward Lori Seaberg Mingus
©2016 CREW SF. All submissions are subject to editing for clarity and brevity, unless otherwise noted. Cover: Public Domain image collage illustrating 30 years of CREW SF, Then to Now—and Beyond
CREW SF COMMUNICATIONS TEAM CALL FOR ARTICLES FOR the VIEW UPCOMING ISSUES
2016 Quarter 2: Bridging the Bay, Oakland Deadline for articles: April 1, Angel: Inga Miller 2016 Quarter 3: Rising Rents: Keeping Culture Deadline for articles: July 1, Angel: Laurie Gustafson 2016 Quarter 4: Living Small in the Big City Deadline for articles: October 1, Angel: TBD 2017 Quarter 1: Restaurant Reports Deadline for articles: January 15, Angel: Angie Sommer
LETTER FROM THE EDITOR The VIEW is proud to be highlighting the 30th anniversary of CREW San Francisco! Established as one of the original chapters of CREW Network, its journey began in 1984, an auspicious year of substantial changes: Geraldine Ferraro became the first woman on a major-party presidential ticket. Joan Benoit won the gold medal for the first women’s marathon at the Olympics. Who’s the Boss, a major national TV hit, featured a gender role reversal. MTV showed Madonna wriggling in white lace to “Like a Virgin,” and I stayed up late dancing to Cyndi Lauper who, like the rest of us, knew that “Girls Just Want to Have Fun.” I had also just recently entered the workforce after graduating in a class that was more than a third female—a dramatic improvement from the ten percent when I first visited colleges a mere seven years before. The founders of CREW San Francisco recognized that a major barrier to women’s advancement was the paucity of access to powerful and supportive mentors and colleagues. They sought to create a community of professionals that could support each other as they moved forward together and forge new alliances. In that vein, for the past 30 years, CREW San Francisco has been “dedicated to changing business gender trends and closing the parity gap by giving women in real estate the support, resources, and opportunities they need to connect, influence, and lead.” Simply put, CREW’s mission was and remains to develop and advance women as leaders in the commercial real estate industry. This issue collects the voices of 30 years of CREW members, celebrating their accomplishments and the connections they’ve made. We look back—and forward as well—as a new generation of women embrace the challenge of substantial changes yet to be made. Valerie Concello, our Angel for this issue, went beyond the normal call of duty by providing a fountain of contacts, ideas, and articles. It is no exaggeration to state that her contributions gave this issue a unique style and stretched the envelope of what the VIEW can be. But more than that, first and foremost I need to acknowledge her unique position as original architect of the VIEW, for without her initial push, there would simply be no VIEW at all. It was she who ignited the initial sparks in 2010 before handing that baton to me when she became our 28th president. Thank you, Val, for all you have done for CREW San Francisco and the VIEW! Thirty years later—whether or not you admire Hillary Clinton—it is empowering to note that the discussion is not centered on if a woman can run as a viable candidate for the president of the United States. Rather, the choice is more a matter of her policies and her experience. (And as for Bill, I, for one, would be curious to see his tastes in White House décor.) Best, Donna Schumacher Managing Editor, the VIEW Donna Schumacher Architecture
Advice on Life and Career from Valerie Concello © 2016 Valerie Concello, Ronin Commercial Real Estate, Inc.
As a past president of CREW SF with over 25 years of commercial real estate (CRE) experience, I have learned a lot about this profession and life in general. Looking back at my career, I have a perspective that one earns from time and experience. From this vantage point in my life, I have gained the ability to see things with greater clarity and advise those younger than me with a few hard-earned pearls of wisdom. Make of them what you will. n I am a big proponent of the Nike slogan “Just Do It.” It is Zen-like in its simplicity as a call to action for women in commercial real estate, or any field. If you want to do something, then just do it. Want to design the tallest skyscraper in the world? Run for president of the United States? Circumnavigate the globe? Climb Mount Everest? You get the picture. Just do it.
A NG E L P ROFILE
Real Estate Consultor | Ronin Commercial Real Estate, Inc. Company: Ronin Commercial Real Estate in Redwood City (founded 2006) represents tenants in all aspects of commercial real estate (CRE) decisions. With the addition of Helen Duong as a partner, extensive experience representing landlords and corporate users now supplements its brokerage, project management, and asset management expertise. Ronin currently represents Asian investors seeking CRE and corporations looking to do business in Asia. Background: Second-generation Californian, born in San Francisco. MBA from UC Berkeley; LEED AP; CCIM Designation. Started with Charter Commercial brokerage. Co-founder of Belvedere Associates and the Northbridge Group. Managing director, Mohr Partners, San Francisco. CREW history: Joined 2006. Past president (2012); Chair, California Conference (2009); CREW board member, Programs Committee Team Lead; California Conference Committee member (Los Angeles, Newport Beach, San Francisco, San Jose) Charities: Sequoia Gem and Mineral Society (board member); KQED; USF and UC Berkeley alumni organizations; SF AIDS Foundation Extracurricular passions: Traveling, skiing, dogs. Spending time with family and friends. And I’m a rock hound (rock enthusiast), particularly interested in lapidary. Travel tips: Travel often. One of the greatest joys and pleasures is getting to see this world, meet people, and become familiar with diverse cultures. Recent travel highlight: Thailand. I have family there and it is always wonderful to see everyone. Top Bay Area restaurant picks: Mosu, a new Korean tastingmenu restaurant in the Fillmore, opened by a friend, Sung Anh, formerly of the French Laundry. Also Tadich Grill, Boulevard, and Kokhario. 15 minutes of fame: I believe it is yet to happen.
n Don’t let anything stand in the way of what you want to accomplish, not even yourself. Too often the biggest limiting factors that we face are the ones we ourselves create. The largest barriers we have to overcome are frequently those of our own making. Don’t let fear rule your life.
JUST DO IT! n Some people also tend to view their lives from a distance, as if they were watching a play instead of starring in the leading role. Don’t fall victim to having other people craft your story. Take charge of your life and your career, chart your own course, be the master of your domain. It’s your life—define it how you wish. n Be bold. Don’t stand on the sidelines waiting for the moment—go out and create it. Women didn’t get the right to vote by being passive, nor have most changes in this world come without a fight. n We often let circumstances or people influence our decisions, but you cannot sacrifice your ethics. The world needs people who are willing to take a stand and fight for what they believe to be right. Nonetheless, choose your battles wisely. n Learn from history. Sometimes when we are distanced by time and place from the struggle, we forget or minimize what those before us had to endure so that we can enjoy the freedoms and comforts that we have. But we are only the sum total of those who went before us. When we understand what others have sacrificed, we are more able to ask the same of ourselves. n Finally, take advantage of the opportunities at hand. Sometimes the comfort of the familiar lulls us into a false sense of security and we stay in a job, even when we feel our talents are underutilized. Sometimes we have to stay in a job for the financial security it provides, or because we have other responsibilities that dominate. We have all stayed in a job (or relationship) way past the expiration date. There is a difference, though, between needing to stay and wanting to stay. We are fortunate that we live in a place and time where we have an abundance of opportunities; other men and women in the world aren’t as fortunate.
About the Author Valerie Concello has been a commercial real estate broker for over 25 years and is a principal for the tenant brokerage firm Ronin Commercial Real Estate.
WOMEN in the Workplace THEN AND NOW:
A Conversation with Nina Gruen
© 2016 Angie Sommer, ZFA Structural Engineers
In the history of women in the workforce over the last century, many battles have been fought and won. But the overwhelming amount of research, data, and articles regarding the current, less-than-ideal state of equity for the modern working woman often eclipses these advancements. While our society still struggles with gender (and other types of) equity and equality in the workplace, and while I complain about women making 79 cents on average for every dollar a man makes in our country1, watching just one episode of Mad Men reminds one of a the rampant workplace sexism prevalent just decades ago—the improvement of which has made possible my current employment as a structural engineer. The only thing I lament about this change is that our connection to the time that preceded it is often lost, and hence so is our appreciation. I, as a college-educated working woman in my mid-30s, find the struggles of yesteryear both fascinating and horrifying. Unfortunately, I simply don’t know many women who were in the trenches, so to speak, in the 1960s and ’70s, paving the way for subsequent generations of women who choose to— or must—work to support themselves and their families. This is where organizations like CREW provide a value that goes beyond the perks listed on the membership application. It was through CREW SF that I met Nina Gruen, an entrepreneur who has co-owned her own consulting firm with her husband, Claude Gruen, since 1970. She joined the workforce in the 1960s—contrary to the expectations of her class and gender for that time—and she has had a professional upbringing that is far different than that of successive generations, one that, frankly, is difficult for me to even imagine.
The route to professional success for a female who entered the workforce in the 1960s was undoubtedly different for each woman who achieved it. Nina’s success can be attributed to many factors, but I believe it to be due to her restless, sharp mind that was easily bored and always sought challenge; her perseverance and ability to weather a constant storm of adversity; and the continual support and encouragement of her husband.
While some companies are increasingly allowing parental time, not only for new births but also for emergencies, it is definitely not enough. But given the fact that far fewer professional women ever plan to have any children, and many that do wait until their mid- to late 30s, society will lose out if it doesn’t start supporting higher levels of quality childcare. Nina emphasizes the importance of having support from Claude, who encouraged her to join the debate team in high school and continued to push her to do “things she had the potential for, but not the nerve” throughout her career. She acknowledges that a very small number of women were bold enough to achieve success without any backing and that “the overwhelming majority would not have succeeded without someone who could show them the ropes.” With Claude supporting her—and she supporting him—they have owned and operated Gruen Gruen + Associates (GG+A), a firm specializing in providing public and private entrepreneurs with contract research and analysis, consulting, and predevelopment services, for over 45 years. Having solicited Nina’s expertise and educated view on the current state of the workforce, I was surprised to hear that (continues on page 5)
Karen Alschuler Perkins + Will 1998 Past President
CREW has fueled and spiced and expanded my career from coast to coast and from the 1980s to today! Beginning in Boston, where NEWIRE (now CREW) was founded, to New York CREW and then to CREW San Francisco, I have had the best jobs and made lifelong, powerfully valuable connections and friendships. My favorite job is always as program chair in each city… being immediately immersed in the wide world of commercial real estate and in personal contact with business, design, and thought leaders. With the privilege of serving as president in Boston and San Francisco has come a 30-year window into the perseverance, perspective, and wisdom of women who have changed and will change the world we live in.
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Nina Gruen at an office-warming in 1976 with GG+A Staff, Nina with her Mom and sister in the 1960s, and Nina Gruen today
she perceives that the main challenge facing modern working women is the availability of quality, affordable childcare. No stranger to raising a family while working—she had three young boys and was pregnant with twins as she finished her graduate degree in her 20s, and then subsequently worked full-time while raising the five boys—Nina summarizes her thoughts on the effects of our country’s lackluster emphasis on childcare: “While some companies are increasingly allowing parental time, not only for new births but also for emergencies, it is definitely not enough. But given the fact that far fewer professional women ever plan to have any children, and many that do wait until their mid- to late 30s, society will lose out if it doesn’t start supporting higher levels of quality childcare.” When she was often asked in the 1960s and ’70s what she did with her own children each day, her response would always be, “I lock them in a closet,” which is as telling about Nina’s ability not to take things too seriously as it is about the senselessness of the question. In truth, of course, Nina and Claude had a nanny, like many upper-middle-class families have today. Asked when she started to see a change of attitude toward women in the workplace, Nina told me, “In the mid-’80s, there was a culture shift to [companies] looking for competent women to make their gender diversity commitments.” Before that time, she says that GG+A hired mostly women as consultants due to the fact that “the supply of competent and educated women was far greater than the demand, so most were a bargain and were so happy to have a professional job that they were dedicated workers.”
As I’m not the first (nor certainly the last) to indicate an interest in Nina’s vast archive of fascinating and precisely recollected experiences—yes, she did actually have to hide in the women’s bathroom when the higher-ups would visit one of her early places of employment, as it wasn’t officially allowed to hire professional women—she recently published a book on Amazon.com entitled Believe It or Not: The Challenges Facing One Professional Woman a Half Century Ago. My favorite quote of hers from draft journals that were ultimately assembled into this book is “I would know when we had achieved gender equality when working women have the right to be as incompetent as men.” And, whether that particular measure is a good thing or not, she concludes that “from that perspective, gender equality is here.”
Statistic from 2014 as cited by the Institute for Women’s Policy Research, www.iwpr.org
For more about Nina Gruen, see her company website, www.ggassoc.com, or better yet, order her book at Amazon.com. About the Author Angie Sommer is an associate at ZFA Structural Engineers, a medium-sized engineering firm with five Bay Area offices and a broad range of experience in the commercial, residential, educational, retrofit, and correctional sectors. In her spare time, she writes restaurant reviews for her blog, Broccoli and Chocolate (broccoliandchocolate.com); helps people write wedding vows, ceremonies, and speeches via her business, Vow Muse (vowmuse.com); and is a cofounder of a small collective of copywriters, Copy Muse (copymuse.com).
Kathy Mattes Real Estate Consultant 1986 and 1996 Past President
I joined CREW SF during its first year, 1983. I served as president in 1986 when the organization was still in its infancy, and then 10 years later, when it had matured significantly. The leadership, organizational, and speaking skills that I gained through CREW have been invaluable in my career and other leadership roles. Now, as a teacher, I can see how CREW helped me develop comfort speaking to groups. I encourage all CREW members to stretch their comfort zone through the opportunities offered by CREW.
THE IMPACT OF CHANGES TO CALIFORNIA’S FAIR PAY ACT © 2016 Delia Isvoranu, Sedgwick LLP
Despite the 1949 passage of the California Fair Pay Act, working women in California continue to earn less than men for the same or substantially equal work. According to a 2015 US Census Bureau report, women in California who work full time are paid considerably less than men—on average, 84 cents for every dollar. The disparity is even greater for women of color: Latina and African-American women make 54 cents and 64 cents, respectively, for every dollar earned by their male counterparts. Although the act permits both men and women to assert claims of pay discrimination when someone of the opposite sex earns more for the same work, the reality—as illustrated by the above statistics—is that women are much more likely to experience unfair differences in compensation. California recently amended the act, described as the strictest equal-pay law in the country, in an attempt to close that gap by making the law clearer, tougher, and more effective. The changes are designed to encourage women (and men) to report perceived pay inequities, which should induce companies to be more proactive in ensuring fair treatment and that differences in compensation are based on legitimate factors unrelated to one’s gender. The act’s amendments make it easier for employees to establish a case for pay discrimination. Before the amendments, an employee had to demonstrate that he or she was not being paid at the same rate as someone of the opposite sex, at the same establishment, for “equal work.” This generally meant that male and female workers had to hold exactly the same jobs, at the same location, to require equal pay. This “equal work” rule was considered too narrow, allowing employers to use any differences in job responsibilities as a rationale for differences in pay.
Now, an employee is only required to show that he or she is not paid at the same rate for “substantially similar work.” “Substantially similar” means that the work need not be identical or equal, but only similar in terms of the skill, effort, and responsibility performed under similar working conditions. Pay differences between men and women doing “substantially similar” work have to be justified regardless of job titles. (And the “same establishment” requirement has been deleted; the positions can also be located in different locations, rather than being limited to the same job site.) Once the employee shows that the work is “substantially similar,” the employer has the burden to demonstrate that the pay difference is based not on gender but on objective factors, such as a seniority system, a merit system, a system that measures earnings by quality or quantity of production, or another bona fide factor other than gender (e.g., education, training, or experience). These considerations must be applied reasonably and account for the entire pay differential.
The amendments significantly increase an employer’s burden by requiring evidence that any difference in compensation is not gender-based. The amendments significantly increase an employer’s burden by requiring evidence that any difference in compensation is not gender based, is related to the position in question, and is a business necessity. The new amendments also prohibit pay secrecy. Studies show that the majority of employees are either prohibited or discouraged from discussing their pay with others. This makes it more difficult for workers to discover differences in compensation. Now, an employer may not prevent employees from disclosing their own wages, inquiring about or discussing others’ wages, or assisting others in asserting their equal-pay (continues on page 8)
Alice Akawie Akawie & LaPietra 1992 Past President
I found CREW to be instrumental to my growth as a professional. When I started practicing real estate law, it was a field dominated by men. CREW gave me an opportunity to network with other women, and to make business referrals to them as well. It certainly is true that all I put in to the organization as a volunteer I got back in knowledge and growth, and I cannot speak highly enough about all the experiences I had, from being program chair and president of the San Francisco chapter, to being a national delegate and serving on the CREW Network Board.
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Hard Work, Luck, and Exceptional Client Focus:
A PROFILE OF DARCY MACKAY © 2016 Valerie Concello, Ronin Commercial Real Estate
Darcy Mackay has been with CBRE, the world’s largest commercial real estate services firm, for over 16 years. She continues to advance within the company and in September 2015 was promoted to President of Global Workplace Solutions West Division. She served as President of CREW SF in 2006 and as a national delegate with CREW Network in prior years. Highly successful in her career while balancing the needs of a family, she is a role model for many of our upand-coming young leaders who wonder what it takes to be successful in our industry. The following are excerpts from a conversation with Darcy.
It is more about the journey than knowing exactly where my next step is going to be. IN THE BEGINNING I have experienced a combination of being hard-working and being lucky. I went back to grad school and, while doing my real estate course work, fell in love with this idea that how we use land is an important choice, especially in a constrained environment like the Bay Area. I was lucky enough to go to work for Lynn Sedway, who everyone knows is a pioneer of the real estate industry. I learned the bolts-up fundamentals of the real estate business and how we analyze all sorts of things around property decisions from the standpoint of owners, investors, and occupiers. Lynn (and others) taught me the value of being exceptionally client focused. In a services business it is about deeply knowing your client’s business and what success looks like for them. Pairing that with your own commercial model creates a win-win for everyone. Lynn then decided to sell her company to CBRE. I was fortunate enough, as a fluke, to be asked to go to CBRE University. I was sent to USC, where I was exposed to the larger company [CBRE] that I never knew existed.
past presidents Darcy Mackay CBRE 2006 Past President
JOB PROGRESSION I have been very fortunate along the way to have people— sometimes very senior people—spot what I am doing and say, “That is a great fundamental skill set. Why don’t you apply it to this bigger, more complicated problem and see what you can do with it?” That is how my career at CBRE has progressed over the last 16 years. I have held many different positions, including running our consulting business and our global transaction management business. I was relocated to London, where I ran our client account business in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa, then relocated back to the United States to become the COO of a new business line (Advisory & Transactions). And last September, with the acquisition of Johnson Controls’ Global Workplace Solutions division, I was asked to take on the new role of President of the Global Workplace Solutions West Division. I don’t really think of life in terms of roles and steps; it’s more of what’s working for me in the moment. For me, it is more about the journey than knowing exactly where my next step is going to be. MOTIVATIONS ALONG THE WAY There are several things that I am always focused on when I consider next steps. First of all, I really like being on the steep end of my learning curve; that has been characteristic of me throughout my career. The second thing is, am I making a difference? Can I actually do a good job and add value to whoever the client is? And the third is, am I having fun and enjoying the people I am working with?—and that includes the teams that I build as well as the leadership across the organization. And finally, will it work for my family? I am lucky to have a very supportive husband, Keith Orlesky, who is one of my biggest champions. But I also need to respect the fact that I have a husband and two children who lean on me every day, and I need to be able to perform for them too. DEALING WITH GENDER BIAS You just focus on being excellent at what you do and forge ahead. I really do believe that people who are really, really good at what they do will always be recognized. And yes, they need be wrapped in a package that is hospitable. You can’t be excellent at what you do and be rude; that might work in certain specializations, where the skill set is hard to find, but in our business, a services business, you’ve got to have a strong dose of hospitality on top of being excellent. And, (continues on page 8)
(continued from page 7) if you find yourself in an environment where you continue to encounter bias despite delivering excellent results, change your environment! RECIPE FOR SUCCESS I have been inspired by Danny Meyer, a New York City restaurateur and the CEO of the Union Square Hospitality Group, and by his book Setting the Table. He’s really nailed, I think, the two elements it takes to succeed in business. Which is basically a recipe of 49% excellence—meaning, is the food cooked to perfection, is the wine paired well, is the food served at the appropriate temperature... all of that stuff that has to be to perfection—and 51% hospitality. And in his definition, hospitality means knowing exactly what that person needs at that moment. And really deeply understanding what can I give to this person that will make a world of difference. TEAMWORK One of my “golden truths” is that the team is always going to come up with a better answer than any one individual or I myself could. Some of that is just my upbringing and my training in college, where there were a lot of seminars where everyone was throwing out ideas and constantly either debunking them or building on them. Sometimes it can be painful, but sometimes it can be exciting and exhilarating.
I do work hard, though, at cultivating a very strong sense of individual contributions in my team members as well as a contribution to the whole. So when you look, for example, at people’s performance metrics, there is always individual accountability in there, but one must not lose sight of the bigger picture. To me, we are always trying to get the right balance between what we know our objectives are in the beginning of the year and how we instill creativity in the process. I am a big fan of lateral thinking. THE VALUE OF CREW I started with CREW on a national level through CREW Network before I became involved on a local level. The spirit of the organization, the programs, the networking, being able to be on the local board—in all aspects, CREW has been a meaningful part of my career. I have made lifelong colleagues and friends from my involvement with CREW!
About the Author Valerie Concello has been a commercial real estate broker for over 25 years and is a principal for the tenant brokerage firm Ronin Commercial Real Estate. She has an MBA from UC Berkeley and a CCIM designation, and she is a LEED AP. She is a past president of CREW SF.
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rights, although no one, including the employer, is obliged to disclose any information regarding wages. This transparency and sharing of information will more easily expose disparities.
While there’s still work to be done to achieve equality in the workforce, Elaine has noticed a significant change since she entered the field. “It has improved so much,” she says. “Now we’re talking about how you bring in the next deal, get the next promotion, and negotiate salary. The kind of things we used to deal with were different. A woman in the business was an anomaly. I’m so glad we’re not talking to each other about being chased around desks anymore.”
The impact of these amendments is that employees can now more easily discover discrepancies and challenge the fairness of their pay. This, in turn, has spurred employers to audit and reassess their compensation practices and decisions in order to resolve any pay issues before claims arise.
About the Author Delia Isvoranu is a partner with the law firm of Sedgwick LLP. She specializes in representing companies and employers in the litigation defense of harassment, discrimination, retaliation, wrongful discharge, and other employment-related matters, including wage and hour claims and class actions. She also provides training to employers regarding labor and employment law compliance issues.
About the Author Morgan Ward is a director at RETS Associates (Real Estate Talent Solutions), an executive search firm specializing in the recruiting and placement of interim, permanent, and executive positions in the commercial real estate industry. Morgan concentrates on the recruitment of accounting, finance, property management, and construction roles. She focuses on the full scope of the recruitment process and interacts with both clients and candidates.
Elizabeth Creger Asset Resource Group 1993 Past President
As the old saying used to go, “We’ve come a long way, baby.” Over my 30 years working in commercial real estate, I have witnessed firsthand, as an executive recruiter, the evolution of women in this industry. Many strides have been made in the advancement of women in the industry, yet many more are deeply needed. Joining CREW in 1988, serving as San Francisco’s VP of Programs, and then its president in 1992 not only catapulted my own career growth but also enriched my life and broadened my friendships and business contacts immensely. The CREW Network has been and continues to be essential in providing industry knowledge, career resources, and personal encouragement to both women and men of all ages as our evolution continues.
Diversity in Commercial Real Estate:
a perspective from
ELAINE ANDERSSON © 2016 Morgan Ward, Director, RETS Associates
When she joined CREW in the early 2000s, Elaine Andersson saw the organization as a useful way to become involved in San Francisco’s real estate market and to network with professional women like herself, using CREW as a tool to invest in herself and her professional career. What she did not realize was that her membership would lead to lifelong friendships, rewarding mentorship opportunities, and invaluable leadership skills. It would also strengthen her interest in gender and race inequality in the industry, issues which she would later research and publish findings on. Currently of counsel at Lubin Olson’s Real Estate Practice Group, Elaine has a long tenure in commercial real estate law. Her background includes in-house counsel positions at Boston Properties and at Cornerstone Properties, and she has been a professor of law at the Golden Gate University School of Law and Hastings College of the Law for over a decade. In addition, she was named one of the top 100 Most Influential Women in Business by the San Francisco Business Times, was honored by Thompson Reuters as a Northern California “Super Lawyer,” and served as president of CREW San Francisco in 2008. While known for her accomplishments in commercial real estate law, Elaine has also created buzz, stemming from her deep-seated interest in diversity in the industry, with a focus on women and minorities. For a long time she felt a need to dig deeper into why the commercial real estate industry has been so male dominated. She set out to use data and hard facts to present the issues in a way that her peers would respect and understand. “The real estate industry believes in numbers,” she explained. “So one of the most effective ways of talking about issues is by having the actual numbers to show what is happening now, and being able to measure change in the future.” For the past 12 years, she has led multiple programs focused on the elimination of bias, and in 2013 she decided to put her research in writing. Her “Diversity Report” came out in three installments: the first focusing on employment in the commercial real
past presidents Elaine Andersson Lubin Olson’s Real Estate 2008 Past President
estate industry, the second on law firms, and the third on real estate investment trusts (REITs). The reports showed that men of every ethnicity are more likely to be advanced in the industry than women of the same ethnicity. Among commercial real estate senior executives, white men held 77.6% of the 13,773 jobs. Elaine recognized that the first step to leveling the playing field was for women to obtain the same qualifications as men. “Beginning in the late 1960s, women in law schools went from almost none to approximately half the class by the early 1980s,” she said. “That solved two problems: there was now a sizeable pool of women, and we had the same qualifications—law degrees from Berkeley, Stanford, Harvard, and Yale—as our male peers. But another barrier to entry was actually getting the interview, and much research showed that, based on names alone, women and minorities were less likely to get interviews and were more likely to be offered lower salaries.” Looking back, she recognizes that a major positive change occurred when law schools assigned oncampus interview slots on a lottery system, allowing women and minorities a higher chance of getting an interview.
Knowledge and skills are the foundation of success. If your employer doesn’t give you a budget for continuing education, you should budget for it yourself. Elaine’s research, however, showed that there are still challenges in regard to women and minorities advancing in the industry. She emphasizes that the more women continue to improve their qualifications, the closer commercial real estate will get to true equality. “With men dominating the majority of careers in commercial real estate, one of the most important things women can do for their careers is to continually invest in their own professional skill sets,” Elaine explained. “Knowledge and skills are the foundation of success. If your employer doesn’t give you a budget for continuing education, you should budget for it yourself.” Women must strive to continually grow, and Elaine hopes that one day there will be an equal ratio of women to men in the industry and that 50% of CEOs and boards will be women. Until then, Elaine would like to continue publishing the diversity reports, shedding light on gender and equality issues through research and data. For example, her findings have yet to touch on the LGBT community in commercial real estate, an extremely important topic she feels needs to be addressed. (continues on page 8)
BUILDING STORIES: 740 Valencia Street
From Cars to Chocolate:100 Years of San Francisco Innovations © 2016 Donna Schumacher, Donna Schumacher Architecture
front façade, referencing classical architecture, a style typically used for civic buildings of prominence. The Metropolitan Motors Building housed automotive repairs shop for 76 years, as businesses came and went, with varying success. The retail corridor of Valencia Street continued to flourish as the neighborhood shifted and grew.
Discount Brake and Clutch, 1996
METROPOLITAN MOTORS, 1916 In 1916, construction was just being finished on the Metropolitan Motors Building at 740 Valencia Street, halfway between 18th and 19th Streets in San Francisco’s Mission District. It housed an automobile “machine shop,” one of a series of that sprang up along this newly formed retail corridor. Not coincidentally, this was the year the Model T Ford started mass production, which dramatically increased demand for this new mode of transportation and gave rise to the automotive repair industry. A decade after the catastrophic 1906 earthquake, the Building Department advocated for the architect, Harry S. Miller, to feature brick as the building material of choice. So many buildings having been destroyed by fire during the Great Earthquake, it was reasoned that brick would offer greater safety from fires for the workers within. (Concern for seismic stability was to come much later, when City officials had the political freedom to admit to the destructive power of earthquakes). Miller designed the building using Classical Revival style, as a nod to the wealth and privilege associated with automobile ownership at that time. Double-height columns ornament the
DISCOUNT BRAKE AND CLUTCH, 1992 In 1992 Ron Mallia bought 740 Valencia Street to house the newest and largest of his ever-expanding chain of automotive repair shops. Early on, Mallia recognized an expanding market for brake and clutch repair due to the rise in sales for smaller, foreign-made cars, which often included clutches; moreover, the hilly streets of San Francisco required trips back to the repair shop with reliable frequency. Renamed Discount Brake and Clutch and focusing on quality service at a reduced price, his business rapidly grew, so well in fact that Mallia was able to hire more employees, from 14 to 41. In 1995, he purchased the parking lot next door to store cars awaiting pick-up and opened a second shop on Valencia in the 1200 block. But the economy, like the tide of San Francisco Bay, does not remain the same. It was 2000 when the first wave of the recession hit. Automobile manufacturers started including maintenance
Ron Mallia at 736 Valencia Street construction site, 2007. San Francisco Chronicle/ Liz Hafalia.
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Helen Duong Ronin Commercial Real Estate 2013 Past President
In everything you do, it’s important that you have to have the passion for it to be successful; otherwise you are just wasting your time. Being part of CREW expanded my network with commercial real estate professionals, honed my leadership skills, and provided me with lifelong friendships.
CREW SF Past President Profile:
© 2016 Elaine Chan, Kwan Henmi Architecture/Planning, Inc.
BACKGROUND Aside from being a past president of CREW SF in 2007, Frances Choun is also a past president of the board of directors for the San Francisco Telegraph Hill Neighborhood Center and served on the board of directors for the American Institute of Architects. Frances is currently Vice President, Northern Pacific Division, for McCarthy Building Companies, Inc. She started off her professional career in the early ’90s as an architectural designer on the Sheraton Palace Hotel project. After the renovation was completed, the site contractor presented her with an opportunity to work for them. She took the offer, noting that, “if [she] only had the lens of an architect, [she’d] have limited breadth.” While on the construction site, she loved the quick tempo, enthralling energy, and working with metrics. Soon after, while working on the Yerba Buena Gardens project, she realized that some of her most formidable skills were bringing a team together to meet project goals and successfully interfacing with clients. Around this time, the division president began mentoring Frances, grooming her to become the marketing and business development lead. In this new role, Frances traveled between cities frequently and worked off-site independently, the demands of which eventually became a strain on her personal life. Though she had gained tremendously valuable experience, Frances recognized that it was time to go home to the Bay Area. She took almost a year off to travel the world and returned with more determination, wisdom, and vitality. OPPORTUNITY COMES KNOCKING In the mid-’90s, McCarthy had just entered the San Francisco construction scene and recruited Frances shortly
past presidents Frances Choun McCarthy Building Companies, Inc. 2007 Past President (See article on this page)
thereafter. By joining McCarthy, she knew that this wasn’t a run-of-the-mill job offer, but rather an invitation to build something long-term and sustain her passion for influencing the built environment. Frances remarks, “We all had our own strengths. McCarthy was the nucleus that empowered us to make amazing things happen.” Despite always being the youngest in the room, Frances’s professionalism, business acumen, and tactful, solutions-driven approach earned her respect in the industry. Frances reveals the three traits she exhibited while starting out in a challenging new environment: common sense, a passion for knowledge, and candidness—including the ability to admit when you don’t know the answer. She worked alongside her predominantly male counterparts to grow the company in a sustainable manner and cultivated a strong relationship with the community. EFFECTIVE LEADERSHIP Frances describes a recent opportunity of a large, highprofile project—currently classified information—as the “Super Bowl of opportunities.” After a year of preselling to the client and establishing a healthy rapport, the RFP was released and McCarthy was given the opportunity to submit proposals for two sites. Throughout the RFP process, she ensured that her team was in sync with the client and that their vision was strongly aligned with that of the construction partners. Her main objectivewas to win one or both projects, as well as leave a good impression. During this process, Frances focused internally on clear and effective communication to keep her team organized while drawing out the best in everyone. Externally, she utilized quality resources, subject matter experts, and a strong support base. By leveraging both sides, centralizing the main message, and presenting detailed site logistics, she was able to help the team convince the client to select them and win the larger project.
About the Author Elaine is the Marketing/Business Development Manager at Kwan Henmi, an architecture firm with a rich portfolio in the multifamily housing, transportation, education, and commercial sectors. As a multilingual solutionist with strong community ties, Elaine spearheads customer success efforts and streamlines business processes. Inspired by her mentors at CREW SF, she is currently enrolled in an MBA program with an emphasis in real estate and finance.
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Dandelion Chocolate, 2010
packages with the sale of their cars, wedding the purchaser to the dealership. Mallia saw his profits dwindle, and worse, he had to lay off loyal workers. When he got down to 12 employees, he knew he had to change. Being an astute observer of the neighborhood and street life in the Mission, where Valencia is one of the major arteries, he noted that “millennials” were moving into the neighborhood. He knew they would want unique places to live, shop, and dine. To address the first need, Mallia decided to develop his parking lot next door to 740 Valencia into residential condominium units, challenging the wisdom of the market by creating large two-bedroom units. Hitting the market in 2008, they were quickly bought up by the Mission’s growing group of new hip residents. To address the second need, Mallia decided to convert his building at 740 into a retail complex focusing on gourmet artisan foods, with three individual storefront entries. Working with Michael Harris of Michael Harris Architecture, Mallia had skylights added and reconfigured the façade. Franchises— including Gap, Banana Republic, and Starbucks—spotted the neighborhood’s new trends and lined up to present offers. Mallia politely but firmly declined their offers, because he had a
different vision: he wanted unique, San Francisco, small-artisan businesses for his updated brick Classical Revival building. DANDELION CHOCOLATE, 2010 The minute they entered the space, Todd Masonis and Cameron Ring knew that the Metropolitan Motors Building was the right home for their new project, Dandelion Chocolate. It had everything they were looking for: the right location (the heart of the Mission), the right character (double-height and brick exterior), and the right size (enough square footage to house both the boutique store at the front and the chocolate production in back). For Mallia, Dandelion fit perfectly with his concept of a boutique artisan food that he had imagined for building. Working with architect Chris Harrelson, originally of Brand+Allen and now at Gensler, Dandelion built out the space to function as a chocolate factory and to be appealing as a showroom. Like Mallia before them, Masonis and Ring were youthful entrepreneurs open to change. After having sold their first company, Plaxo, in 2007 to Comcast for over $150 million, the two business partners traveled through Europe, following their newly discovered passion for chocolate. Initially just in for the fun of it, (continues on page 13)
Marlies Bruning Wells Fargo Bank 1990, 1991 Past President
It was my honor to serve as CREW San Francisco president for two years in the early ‘90s, when the CREW Network was in its formative stages, and as co-chair for the 1993 convention in San Francisco. When I witness the growth of the Network and the outstanding caliber of the conventions (with keynote speakers including Condoleezza Rice (in SF!), Hillary Clinton, and Madeleine Albright), I am so proud to have been a part of such a successful organization. I treasure all of my longtime CREW friendships as well.
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Inside Dandelion Chocolate on Valencia Street
they took the time to experiment, without immediate concerns for monetization. Returning to Palo Alto, the two went to work in a friend’s garage in the South Bay (sound familiar?) where they both lived at the time. The American artisan chocolate movement had just barely begun at that time, with Scharffen Berger of Berkeley having opened in 1997. When Dandelion Chocolate launched in 2010, there were only a handful of artisan chocolates in the Bay Area or beyond. Today there are a few bean-to-bar chocolate makers in the Bay Area, but San Francisco has come to epitomize hand-crafted artisan style. Without doubt, Dandelion is at the forefront of this tasty trend, having received numerous local and national accolades and awards. Suffice it to say, this is some seriously delicious chocolate for hopelessly addicted chocolate addicts like me. (Full disclosure: After sampling the European drinking chocolate in the café, I brought a few bars home to stock my personal artisan dark chocolate stash, which is always in need of a delicious replenishment!) In 2014, with 600 stores waiting in the queue to begin receiving Dandelion chocolate, Masonis started the search for a larger space to expand into. A second location just a few blocks away will supplement, not replace, the Valencia showroom. After taking time to experiment with how to increase production without
losing quality, the larger facility should open in 2016. Upcoming projects include a new store in Tokyo that will emulate the Valencia store, so emblematic now of the San Francisco artisan style. Simulcra, anyone? 100 YEARS PAST AND FORWARD Architecture can seem to be permanent, and her functions fixed. But in truth, cities, neighborhoods and buildings are dynamic entities with unique stories of past, present, and future. Business types evolve, economies shift, and the buildings and the communities that reside within them change as well. 740 Valencia is one of those stories. San Francisco has others in its past and many more in its future. Thank goodness!
About the Author Donna Schumacher is the founder and creative director of Donna Schumacher Architecture (DSA), a boutique architecture practice for small-scale commercial and residential work in the Bay Area. DSA projects range from one-of-a-kind signature elements for architectural interiors, utilizing Donna’s background in fine arts, to small projects requiring to complex projects requiring multiple permits, tapping into her thirty years of experience with the San Francisco building department. DSA has recently introduced art consulting to its roster of services. Donna has been the managing editor for the VIEW since 2012.
Ginger Bryant SARES REGIS Group 2000 Past President
I joined CREW in 1992 to network with other women in the industry, and CREW members are my best friends— across the country. Leading the San Francisco chapter and then the National Network were great honors and showed me how important CREW is for each of us—beyond doing business together. While many things have changed and improved over the years, we still have much work to do. CREW Network and every CREW chapter play a vital role in making this industry better so everyone, regardless of gender or ethnicity, has the opportunity to do work that inspires them, lead their organizations, and reap financial rewards.
NEW YEAR, NEW ERA: Changing the Ratio by Equitable Practice © 2016 Rosa Sheng, Bohlin Cywinski Jackson; AIA SF Equity by Design
There is something very exciting about the beginning of a new year. Daylight hours get longer; there is a renewal of potential, reinvention, and hope.
field, why are so few women seeking licensure and advancing into leadership? And why aren’t they being recognized for design contributions or asked to participate on panels and juries?
We are at the dawn of not only a new year but an exciting “new era” as well. Ever since I read Phil Bernstein’s piece “The ‘Era of Connection’ is Coming, and Design and Creation Will Never Be the Same”1 on Autodesk’s Line/Shape/Space, I have been thinking about the “new era” and what it means for our ability to adapt to a rapidly changing world. Bernstein postulates that in order to understand where we are going, we must first comprehend where we have been.
Gender inequity in architecture In a new book by architectural historian Despina Stratigakos, Where Are the Women Architects?2, the many facets of this drastic gender imbalance are explored in great detail, from the 19th century to the present day. Stratigakos states that although women have long been working in architecture, their creative work was often unrecognized under their male counterparts, and they became relegated to managerial roles or tended to focus on residential and interior design. Historically, this often left men with the public recognition and financial gain for “Architecture with a capital A”—the work of large-scale institutional commissions.
There has been an increased interest in understanding why so few women are licensed and advancing into leadership positions in architecture and allied professions. In American architecture schools, women represent approximately 45 percent of total graduates. However, based on the 2014 Equity in Architecture survey, the number of women practicing architecture decreases at pinch points that occur after graduation during the course of their career. If they are undergoing the rigorous training to enter the
This imbalance persists still. In 2014 women represented just 22 percent of licensed architects and 17 percent of architecture firm principals. While that’s drastically better than 1973, when women represented 8 percent of architectural school graduates and a stark 1.2 percent of licensed architects, the numbers make clear that the upper echelons of the field remain heavily male dominated. Equity in the “new era” and redefining successful design practice But in this “era of connection,” we have the opportunity to better communicate the power and value of diverse thinking and broader representation in the design of the built environment. Changing the ratio of underrepresented professionals isn’t just a
Pinch Points, Equity in Architecture Survey 2014. Credit: Atelier Cho Thompson
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Catherine House Sperry Van Ness 2010 Past President
When I arrived in San Francisco in 2001, I was surprised with the similarities between the commercial real estate industry in the UK and the US. Over and over I heard from men in the industry that I should join CREW, an organization that does not exist in the UK. I deduced an element of jealousy that a similar organization did not exist for them. At the end of the day, I work with people because they are good at what they do, rather than due to their gender. CREW enables relationship building and education that has helped me open my own franchise company and become one of the top-performing brokers in the country at SVN.
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In the “new era,” Equity by Design looks forward to making new connections with CREW SF and the AEC community to expand the conversation and promote actionable plans for equitable practice in the workplace to change the ratio.
entrepreneurship, stronger alliances, and opportunities for civic leadership. We will expand opportunities and improve the access to design for more people than ever before. It is only then that our projects will have the most impact—not only on day one but also far into the future to influence generations yet to be born.
AIA WLS – Women in Architecture 1973–2014 Credit: Kate Schwennsen, FAIA for AIA WLS 2015
numbers game; equitable practice yields direct gains with economic and social impact. An inclusive design process is achieved not just by those sitting at the table but by stakeholders at all levels contributing to the diversity of ideas in a more engaged and meaningful way. In the book A Whole New Mind: Why Right-Brainers Will Rule the Future3, Daniel Pink postulates that in the new “Conceptual Age,” mastering key skills and senses—design, story, symphony, empathy, play, and meaning—will determine who thrives. The focus will not be just to produce better documents or better construction techniques at a lower cost and higher sustainability; we will disrupt the way things have been done and establish new ways that will champion the important core values of our ever-changing pluralist communities. How does this relate to architecture? By focusing on listening, adapting, and developing empathy for the communities where we live in and serve, we will develop new forms of collaborative
How will the “new era” affect design and building professionals? Equitable practice will focus importance on talent retention and engaging workplace culture, providing greater support to our staff. We will adopt new models of mentorship and resource sharing to create stronger support networks for navigating work-life flexibility, caregiving, and career advancement. In order to thrive, we need to focus on the importance of the health, safety, and wellness of our talent resources. As we have seen in the disruption of other industries, the call for design talent is expanding into other professions. Business schools are teaching design thinking, clients have higher expectations for design/build or integrated project delivery, and competition for design talent in related professions providing higher compensation is eroding the talent pool. Next steps for the Equity by Design Committee In the 2014 Equity in Architecture Survey, less than 50% of men and women surveyed were so satisfied with their current job situation that they would not consider leaving. This should spark a conversation about how to improve the current state of practice and workplace culture to support architecture and aligned careers in the built environment as viable professions for all. (continues on page 16)
Laurie Gustafson Sedgwick LLP 2015 Past President
I had the privilege and honor to serve as the 2015 President of CREW SF—one of the best experiences of my career! The outstanding leaders on our CREW board and committees and I had an exciting year, thinking big, taking risks and stepping out of our comfort zones. We launched a vibrant new committee, the Rising Leaders Group, the first group in the San Francisco Bay Area specifically dedicated to the advancement of young women leaders in commercial real estate. For the first time, in 2015, over 30% of CREW SF members made individual donations to the CREW Foundation to help fund scholarships for young women seeking careers in commercial real estate, industry research, and career outreach. Our chapter also raised a record-breaking $14,000 for the Foundation at our Winter White Benefit.
(continued from page 15) of the new Equity in Architecture survey findings, active dialogue, and learning-by-doing in one of the city’s richest architectural assets. Interactive breakouts follow each knowledge session. Through active discussion and engagement of open-design thinking exercises, participants will generate creative solutions to relevant practice issues confronting architects, allied and emerging professionals, and leadership. Participants will generate actionable and equitable practices to be collected and turned into Equity by Design Equitable Practice Guides and distributed as an open resource to transform the future of the profession.
Equity in Architecture Survey 2014 – Factors Influencing Job Satisfaction Credit: Atelier Cho Thompson
In 2016, the AIA SF Equity by Design Committee is continuing our work tackling complex issues surrounding talent retention with the following initiatives: 1. The 2016 Equity in Architecture Survey, which seeks to gather information on the professional experiences, backgrounds, and aspirations of approximately 3,000–5,000 men and women who have graduated from architecture schools in the United States. Parallel survey tracks are to be provided for the following: n those currently working in an architectural practice n those who have worked in an architectural practice in the past, but are currently employed in another profession (either in an aligned architecture/engineering/ construction (AEC) field or not) n those who have worked in an architectural practice in the past, and who are either currently not employed or are taking a career break or leave of absence 2. The AIA SF Equity by Design Committee will host its 4th Symposium on October 29th, 2016 at the San Francisco Art Institute. The day is designed to combine data sharing
In the “new era,” Equity by Design looks forward to making new connections with CREW SF and the AEC community to expand the conversation and promote actionable plans for equitable practice in the workplace to change the ratio. Please join us! http://lineshapespace.com/the-era-of-connection-is-coming http://press.princeton.edu/titles/10665.html 3 http://www.danpink.com/books/whole-new-mind 1 2
About the Author Rosa T. Sheng, AIA, is a senior associate at Bohlin Cywinski Jackson. As a licensed architect with 21 years’ experience in architecture and design, Rosa has led a variety of award-winning and internationally acclaimed projects, from the aesthetically minimal, highly technical development of the glass structures for Apple’s original high-profile retail stores, to the innovative and sustainable LEED NC Gold–certified Lorry I. Lokey Graduate School of Business at Mills College. Most notably, as the founder and chair of AIA San Francisco’s Equity by Design committee, Rosa led “The Missing 32% Project,” a 2014 Equity in Architecture Survey and research study, which launched a national conversation about achieving equitable practice in architecture. Since the group published its key findings, Rosa has presented in Boston, New York, Lisbon, Atlanta, Philadelphia, Seattle, New Orleans, and San Francisco. Equity by Design’s outreach for equitable practice in architecture has received national press in Architect Magazine, Architectural Record, and The Wall Street Journal, at TEDxPhiladelphia, and on KQED/NPR. Rosa currently serves as assistant treasurer on AIA San Francisco’s board of directors and is a member of the AIA National Diversity Council, as well as the Society for College and University Planning and the US Green Building Council.
Anne Blackburn, EdD Executive Advisory Forum 1987, 1988, 1989 Past President
I was lucky to serve as CREW SF President for two terms and as National Network President too. As a member now for 25+ years, it’s been rewarding in both work and life. I made many friends years ago when we were first starting CREW, as well as among current members, who provide ongoing support. As a member of both CREW SF and CREW East Bay, I can attest to the truth that one receives much more than one gives.
WORKING WITH EXECUTIVE RECRUITERS TO POSITION YOURSELF FOR YOUR NEXT CAREER MOVE © 2016 CREW Network Industry Research Committee
In 2014, CREW Network’s Industry Research Committee set out to investigate gender questions and issues related to working with executive search firms recruiting for senior executive and C-suite positions in the commercial real estate (CRE) industry. The project consisted of interviewing 11 representatives from 10 executive search firms located in major markets in the United States and Canada, using a list of interview questions that addressed the recruiter’s background, the positions involved, candidate engagement, job market activity, and any differences between the recruitment of men and women. Summary and Recommendations This is a time of great opportunity for women in commercial real estate. As the recruiters noted, CRE organizations now recognize the benefits and competitive advantages of diverse leadership and are actively seeking women as candidates for their senior executive and C-suite teams. These recruiters are on the front lines of this transformation, and it’s often their job to fill the diversity gaps that exist today. Although they reported that the pool of available qualified female candidates for the highest positions is limited at this time, they offered valuable advice and perspectives on the attributes they seek for today’s leadership positions, as well as ways for women to increase their chances for consideration; these recommendations were echoed throughout the recruiter interviews. Whether you are seeking a senior position or hope to advance your career to the next level, the advice below can greatly enhance your visibility to executive recruiters and significantly increase your odds for success once you have been identified. n Network, network, network. It’s common wisdom that most jobs are filled through networking, so the foremost recommendation is to build a vast network that specifically includes recruiters and other high-level executives who may be able to refer you. When looking to fill a new position,
many recruiters will tap their own networks, as well as professionals they have previously placed. Therefore, having recruiters and industry leaders in your network will increase your chances of being identified. n Ask for a referral. If you’re actively seeking consideration for a new position, look for a respected mutual acquaintance who can introduce you to the recruiter. Many of the recruiters reported that a referral from someone they respected carried a great deal of weight and would place you on their radar screen. n Keep your LinkedIn profile up to date. Maintaining a complete, up-to-date online profile, especially on LinkedIn, is critical to increasing the chances of a recruiter finding you. Nearly all of the recruiters use LinkedIn as either a primary or a secondary resource. Including information on your profile that a typical résumé can’t hold, such as articles and presentations, is also extremely helpful. It should be noted that, because (continues on page 18)
Jennifer Raike Old Republic Title 2002 Past President
It is a great honor to be the first recipient of the San Francisco CREW Chapter MVP award. I am excited to be acknowledged for over 25 years of service and involvement as an active member of CREW San Francisco. Not only have I learned leadership and negotiation skills but more importantly, I have built both professional and personal relationships that are invaluable.
(continued from page 17) many recruiters will check multiple online sources, including Google searches and Facebook, you should take steps to ensure that any publicly available information about you presents you in the best possible light. n Be visible. As many of the recruiters noted, just getting in their databases is not necessarily helpful. Particularly for higher-level positions, they’re looking for a combination of leadership and demonstrated expertise in the particular area of CRE. To stand out, they recommended involvement in professional organizations, participation in online professional communities, speaking for industry events, and writing for trade and association publications. n Prepare for the interview. Although the need to prepare for an interview may seem too obvious to note, every recruiter emphasized its importance. Before the interview, thoroughly research the position description, the company (if disclosed), and the individuals with whom you’ll be meeting. Equally critical is the preparation of your responses. Be prepared to talk about your unique qualifications and the value you would bring to the organization. Rehearse examples from your experience that highlight your leadership abilities and the results you achieved. In addition, think through any skills you lack and how you might overcome those, as well as difficult situations you’ve handled in the past. Bottom line: Know the position, know the company, and know why you can make a difference. n Cultivate your executive “presence.” Nearly every recruiter stated that, overall, women do not convey the same level of confidence or authority as men do in the interview setting. Therefore, women must evaluate and cultivate their executive presence—from their dress to their speech patterns to their nonverbal gestures—and get professional coaching if needed. In particular, they must become comfortable discussing their accomplishments
Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much. and leadership experience, be willing to take a position on industry trends and issues, and be ready to respond directly to questions regarding compensation. It is without question that the CRE industry will benefit from a more inclusive and diverse talent pool at the senior executive level. Women need to be vigilant about equipping themselves for higher positions and at the same time sponsoring and mentoring other women to make a difference in the industry collectively. With CREW Network’s continued commitment to advance women in CRE, the next steps of this research project will be to develop training to help CREW Network members put these recommendations into practice. As Helen Keller once stated, “Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.” CREW Network exists to influence the success of the commercial real estate industry by advancing the achievements of women. Thank you to the 2014 CREW Network Industry Research Committee for its dedication and commitment to the development of this white paper: Chair: Karen Samuels Jones, partner, Stinson Leonard Street LLP (CREW Denver board liaison); Linda Adler, attorney/shareholder, Carlton Fields (CREW Miami board liaison); Gail Ayers, PhD, CEO, CREW Network (staff liaison); Susan Cipione, attorney, McGuire, Craddock & Strother, P.C. (CREW Dallas); Katherine Gibbons, Investment Director, Principal Real Estate Investors (CREW Chicago); Cheryl Hardt, First Vice President, CBRE Group, Inc. (CREW NJ); Dee Headley, Vice President, DTZ Indy (CREW Charlotte); Hiew Kang, Managing Director, Southeast Region, Butler Burgher Group, LLC (CREW Atlanta); Sharmion Kerley, Marketing & Communications Director, CREW Network; Jennifer Robinson-Jahns, analyst, lease administration, CBRE, Inc., Global Corporate Services (CREW Seattle and Sound); Tonya Schloemer, Senior Project Manager, Corporate Real Estate & Facilities, TD Ameritrade (CREW Denver); Anne Spencer, director, Orlando Office Brokerage Services, Cushman & Wakefield (CREW Orlando); Beth Zafonte, Director of Economic Development Services, Akerman LLP (CREW New York).
Valerie Concello Commercial Real Estate, Inc. 2012 Past President
CREW is a great organization of women and men who want to make a difference in our profession and are seeking ways to elevate the stature and roles of women in commercial real estate. I have had the privilege during the last 10 years of my involvement with CREW to have worked side by side with some of the most talented, professional, bright, creative, and dynamic women in our field. They range in age and experience: from young leaders starting out to very seasoned pros in the latter part of their career. While we might be in an industry that has more men than women, through CREW I have seen women who refuse to be defined by society’s idea of what they should be.
A WORD FROM OUR SPONSORS
AND THAT WORD IS...
Leadership At Sedgwick, we know that leadership cannot exist without vision and empowerment. Developing women leaders is fundamental to who we are, and it is why we established the Sedgwick Women’s Forum over a decade ago. One of the first women’s initiatives at a law firm, it focuses on advancing women attorneys to positions of influence and authority. We understood then—as we do now—that investing in our women attorneys is crucial to our success.
At Pankow, we believe in thinking beyond the building. We’ve created a nimble organization that enables us to be a responsive, service-oriented builder. While we collaborate and work transparently with all project stakeholders, we advocate strongly for our clients. We continuously strive to see more possibilities and add value in the form of fresh ideas, greater efficiency, less waste, and more fun. Founded in 1963 and operating continuously in California ever since, Pankow has a stellar reputation for a collaborative, innovative, and efficient approach to the building process. This stems from a deep-rooted understanding and implementation of the company’s core values: client service, safety, integrity, a passion for building, and innovative thinking. Pankow is a proud sponsor of CREW SF and supports its mission to develop and advance women as leaders in commercial real estate. CREW has provided our women with opportunities to assume leadership positions on the CREW SF Board of Directors, among the Rising Leaders Committee, and at the CREW California Conference. Together with CREW SF, we are proud to support and mentor our member employees throughout California to see the possibilities, engage the power in people, and deliver value—in everything we do. Engage with us at www.pankow.com, or email Kristina Owyoung Vinson at email@example.com.
As San Francisco’s go-to water damage response firm, Ideal Restoration prides itself on being a good corporate citizen and a leader in the community. From working with the Salvation Army to create job opportunities for returning veterans, to donating remediation and abatement services to low-income homeowners, Ideal is committed to giving back to the city we call home. In his State of the City address, San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee praised Ideal for our commitment to veterans, as well as our new 28,000-squarefoot headquarters in the Bayview district. The mayor recently visited Ideal’s headquarters to discuss how the city can help ensure that Ideal can get San Francisco’s tenants and occupants back up and running as quickly as possible after a disaster. As San Francisco’s largest emergency response firm, we are committed to being on-site and ready to work anywhere in the city in under an hour. Our clients and their tenants depend upon us, and we do not take them for granted. Commitment to our partners, clients, and the city we live in is what we’re all about.
Our commitment shows in our numbers: 35 percent of the firm’s leadership positions are filled by women, and 50 percent of Sedgwick’s new lateral partners are women. Sedgwick is ahead in the legal industry, with 33 percent of our partners being women, exceeding the national average of 26 percent. It’s not just in the numbers. Our leadership is further strengthened by the individual accomplishments of our attorneys. A few examples: Retail attorney Stephanie Sheridan was recently appointed office managing partner in San Francisco, the firm’s largest office; Washington, DC, partner Barbara Werther is recognized as one of the leading construction and government contracts attorneys in the country and cofounded the National Women in Construction Conference; Los Angeles partner Marilyn Klinger is chair emerita of our Construction Practices group and Chambers USA ranked; San Francisco partner Lillian Stenfeldt heads the firm’s Creditor Rights and Bankruptcy group; and San Francisco partner Laurie Gustafson, 2015 president of CREW SF, was recognized by the SF Business Times as a Woman of Influence and is a nominee for the 2016 ELEVATE Industry Impact Award in commercial real estate. Our leadership shows in our collective experience, which spans the globe and virtually every industry. The women of Sedgwick are standout attorneys, industry influencers, and advocates for the continued focus on inclusion and diversity across the legal field. For more information about Sedgwick and the services we provide, please visit www.sedgwicklaw.com.