By: Laura Hulberg
Valbridge Property Advisors once again sponsored CREW (Commercial Real Estate Women) Network’s 2021 Convention, this year in Las Vegas, NV during the final week of September. The hybrid event was smaller than in years past due to Covid, but in many ways more intimate, allowing for in-depth conversations and deal-making.
Although I have been a member of CREW Silicon Valley for a few years, this was my first opportunity to attend a CREW Network Convention, along with our VP of Marketing, Karl Finkelstein. As a sponsor, I was impressed at the effort made by event coordinators to ensure that there was ample time and space for the “Marketplace” exhibition. Likewise, convention attendees made a solid effort to visit each sponsor. While many guests were drawn to us for the female-focused swag (cooling gel eye mask, anyone?), the vast majority stayed and listened to Karl and I flex Valbridge Property Advisors’ prowess.
Many of our CREW acquaintances had heard of Valbridge, and of those, about half had used our services somewhere across the nation. I was proud to hear that those existing clients were pleased with our capabilities, especially the ability to do portfolio work nationwide and solve complex appraisal problems. Those who had not heard of us craned their heads over my shoulder to see our locations map banner touting over 80 offices, either verifying that we are truly nationwide or checking to see if there was a little blue dot in their marketplace.
In addition to the exhibitor and networking portions of CREW Network Convention, I took the opportunity to attend as many of the educational sessions as I could fit in. While the property vertical talks were more geared toward brokers, developers, and investors, the professional development presentations really struck a chord with me. My favorite presentation was “A Title Makes You a Manager, People Make You a Leader” by Shellye Archambeau, Fortune 500 board member and former CEO of MetricStream. In her talk, she focused on career planning, goal setting, and growth mindset through various career phases. If there was just a single thing I took to heart from the conference, it was her advice to “make decisions consistent with your goals” every day.
I seem to have found my tribe with CREW Network, CREW Silicon Valley, and also within Valbridge Property Advisors. This is a space where I have been able to align my personal identity with my professional life and grow the two together. As I write this, I think about the parallels between CREW Network and our own ecosystem within Valbridge. What a boon to our team members and the profession that we have such supportive, strategic resources like Valbridge Women’s Council (VWC) and the newly formed Future Leaders Alliance (FLA). These groups are earnest in their goals of elevating each and every Valbridge employee, and I know for a fact that is something unique in our profession.
Our network gives us a hand up to play in new spaces, design our growth path, and be the best version of ourselves. I encourage you to be a joiner – participate in VWC, FLA, or a local networking group. Invest the time in yourself and reap the rewards. At the very least, you will learn something, but you’ll soon see an opportunity to reach new heights for yourself and your team.