October 12, 2006

Girls learn the ropes of commercial real estate

BT Marketing


CREW Seattle, with the support of Cushman & Wakefield, KeyBank and other sponsors, held its second annual CREW Careers event last April at Kent Station, a shopping complex in downtown Kent.

The CREW Careers program was launched in 2005 in 10 cities and has grown to 19 in 2006. The hands-on classroom program, presented by the CREW Foundation, is designed to open the eyes of teenage girls to the many careers available in the commercial real estate industry.

Commercial real estate services firm Cushman & Wakefield is the global executive partner of CREW Careers with the CREW Foundation, the philanthropic arm of CREW Network. KeyBank is the global senior partner of the CREW Careers program.

Approximately 20 girls took time out from their spring break on a rainy Friday to learn the real estate ropes from the best and brightest of local CREW members.

Photos courtesy CREW Seattle
Local girls toured Kent Station earlier this year as part of the annual CREW Careers event.

“Girls today know about being doctors and lawyers, but they probably don’t know much about commercial real estate,” said Michele Guidinger, director of membership and board member for CREW, and regional operations manager for Cushman & Wakefield of Washington. “This kind of program gives women in commercial real estate a chance to give back to the community and to make a difference in the future of young women and our industry.”

The girls, from the Girl Scouts Totem Council and Powerful Voices, spent the day participating in hands-on activities and topical presentations that ranged from “how to shake hands” to “how to get hired” to “how to write a resume.” A popular presentation was “what not to wear,” a lively demonstration presented by Jennifer Reyes of Stewart Title Co. and Kelly O’Connor of The Macerich Co., who coached the girls on professional attire.

The girls were introduced to basic business etiquette that they can carry over into overall life skills.

The curriculum introduced all facets of real estate, including development, financing, design, construction, marketing and leasing. A hard-hat tour of an unfinished portion of Kent Station exposed the girls to the nuts and bolts of a real-time construction project. “The girls were fascinated by the appraisal presentation and the concept of how we value property,” said Anne DeVoe Lawler with Jameson Babbitt Stites & Lombard and CREW Foundation chair.

CREW Careers includes hands-on classroom training.

One comment from a 10th grader — an understatement to most of us — was “the whole process of building a whole building is really amazing!”

“The marketing presentation was a big hit and architecture piqued the girls’ interest,” said Roberta Fuhr, senior vice president and western region manager of KeyBank Real Estate Capital. “The day was a huge success and it was rewarding to see how involved the girls, as well as our CREW volunteers, were in the activities,” said Fuhr, whom is also director of community outreach and a board member of CREW Seattle, plus a CREW Foundation trustee.

“Giving girls the tools and skills to help them achieve economic self-sufficiency and independence is one of the main focuses of CREW Foundation,” said Lawler. “We had well over 20 CREW Seattle members participate in this year’s event in the spirit of mentoring and giving back in a meaningful, hands-on way.”

Other global partners include Starbucks Coffee Co., Guggenheim Capital, McCarthy Building Companies and the National Association of Industrial and Office Properties.

Barbara Travers, owner of BT Marketing, is a marketing consultant for commercial real estate companies.

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