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News and Views: The CREW SF Blog

Mar 15, 2017
Paint and Sip Evening in San Francisco: Unleash our inner creativity powered together in the female collective energy


By Jen Chan, President, White Tiger Condo Conversion 


Creation is the doorway to the source of energy and bonding as a collective group is catalyzed and energized. It is the joining with the feminine that the energy which fueled the separation releases and flows back into wholeness. Expressing further into our feminine creative aspect experienced through the heart and what is symbolized in the heart through our art.  Along with good food, nice wine, and nurturing friendships is a meaningful evening well spent.


Read more about this in The View.


Mar 15, 2017
Achieving the Improbable Dream: Affordable Home Ownership for Millennials


By Jen Chan, President, White Tiger Condo Conversion


“The New American Dream of home ownership and building wealth is the new evolution to housing.  San Francisco and Bay area are in demand of different alternatives and steps towards market affordable home ownership for first time home buyers and millennials. Education is key and action steps to start from renting housing, to shared ownership, to home ownership – TIC and condo conversion homes are essential to alternative home ownership.”


Read more about this in The View.

Dec 08, 2016
Dress for Success Suit Drive: A Big Success

By Lindsey Madison, SIMEON 


What better way to start off the Holidays than by giving to those who are in need? At the November 16, 2016 Economic Forecast Luncheon, CREW SF members donated in droves, bringing in suits, shirts, skirts, shoes, handbags and more worth an estimated value of $2,500. The Community Affairs team members volunteered that day to collect, sort and deliver the items to the headquarters at Dress for Success San Francisco (DFSSF).


We understand the importance of first impressions and the benefit from dressing the part to feel empowered. DFSSF is a non-profit entity that assists low-income women entering and reentering the work force by securing professional employment attire. Equipped with professional attire, these women are empowered to ace their next job interview. In addition, the women are able to participate in several programs such as employment retention and job training, and access to a career center to suit meet all their professional needs.


Since CREW SF is dedicated to empowering women in the commercial real estate industry, we benefit from a community of women and men who help broaden our network and reach. We are honored that through this network we can assist the less fortunate through our various community partners. In our efforts to focus on broadening expanding the CREW community, we feel that now is the time to branch out to a broader community of women and girls who are looking for career mentorship. As we step forward into 2017, Community Affairs will be partnering with the Life Learning Academy to provide young girls with career guidance and create awareness for their teen housing program. We look forward to the community engagement events that will arise from these partnerships and the lives that will be changed from our efforts.

From Left to Right: Charlotte Brook (CB2 Builders), Megan Hemmerle (ARUP), and Lindsey Madison (SIMEON)

Nov 03, 2016
CREW SF Begins Outreach to High-Tech Companies


By Denise Yee


With so many high-tech companies moving into San Francisco the last few years, CREW SF’s Rising Leaders Committee and Membership Committee are teaming up to plan membership outreach lunch presentations to the women in the real estate department of local tech companies.  Denise Yee, Brand Manager for the Communications Committee, works at Salesforce West building at 50 Fremont and helped to facilitate a CREW SF presentation to Salesforce which took place on October 26th.  Twelve Salesforce employees from different areas of real estate attended the presentation, held in a large conference room with the small tables configured in a U-shape to encourage discussion. 


Rising Leaders Committee members, Elaine Chan (JLL), and Kena David (BCCI Construction) narrated a PowerPoint presentation about CREW SF, including statistics about the percentage of members in each real estate profession, and examples of some past events and activities.  Also in attendance were current CREW SF President, Kristin Paul (PGIM Real Estate), and past Presidents:  Frances Choun (McCarthy Building Companies), Elaine Andersson (Bricta Media, LLC) and Laurie Gustafson (Burke, Williams & Sorensen, LLP).  They greatly contributed to the presentation by sharing their own personal experiences of how CREW SF has benefited them, such as making connections which furthered their careers along with the friendships they’ve developed with other members.  It was a very successful and well-received presentation.  The attendees were sent a Membership Brochure and links to upcoming activities and sponsorship opportunities.  A presentation to Google is being planned for early next year. If you are interested in having a presentation to your real estate department on CREW SF, please reach out to Elaine Chan ( Co-Chair of our Membership Committee. 


Sep 29, 2016
High Spirits & Legacy Bars


Over the last 40 years, San Francisco has transitioned from the Summer of Love to the center of tech. Yet over the same period, certain neighborhood establishments have managed to stay relevant even as the city changes drastically around them. To learn how San Francisco’s legacy bars offer cultural continuity in an ever-changing city, CREW SF’s Rising Leaders committee invited the San Francisco Chronicle’s real estate reporter, J.K. Dineen, to share stories from his book, “High Spirits: The Legacy Bars of San Francisco.”


First things first: “High Spirits” is not a guidebook on where to get wasted in San Francisco (sorry!). Rather, it’s an anthropological study of the city as viewed through the bars recognized by San Francisco Heritage for significant historic and cultural value.


Dineen’s talk ranged from architecture and history to stories of owners taking shots of ouzo and regulars drinking with their dead cats in tow. While entertaining, the funny stories contained an undertone of sadness; the older crowd that Dineen got to know while writing “High Spirits” had been largely pushed out by San Francisco’s soaring cost of living, and several of the bars closed while the book was being written. Dineen believes that this trend is sad but inevitable; as the cost of land and rent rises, landlords lease to new tenants who can keep up with market rates and old tenants are forced to close shop.


While we may be losing a sense of community and a non-traditional venue for history and culture, Dineen paid homage to San Francisco for fighting harder than many other cities to preserve legacy bars.

The talk was followed by appetizers, drinks, book signing, and networking.

Aug 16, 2016
“Dude, Where’s My Office?” Event Recap

By Leyla Sfeir, Energeia Solutions


“Dude Where’s My Office?” took place on July 11, 2016 at the iconic City Club building in San Francisco. The event was attended by more than 60 people.

Keynote speaker Nina J. Gruen, principal sociologist at Gruen Gruen + Associates was joined by panelists Lynn M. Sedway, principal and president of Sedway Consulting; Lisa Bottom, principal at Gensler; Lori Coleman, VP of management services at Madison Marquette; and Kena David, sustainability manager at BCCI Construction Company to discuss how changing demographics are affecting commercial real estate development in the Bay Area.


The needs of the millennial employee, such as the desire for green and open spaces that promote collaboration, are driving forces for companies to design work spaces that promote the use of common areas. To no surprise, technology has greatly shaped the way millennials conduct business, which has had a large impact on the retail sector. Trading physical stores for an online experience has left many prime retail spaces in the Bay Area open for lease.


The panelists also discussed how millennials’ shift to doing everything online has affected the way they socially interact and how they value those interactions. A lot of communication happens through email or text, when often it might be easier to pick up the phone or meet in person and have a conversation with the client. Eye contact, body language, and tone help enhance communication. These skills are being lost online.

Finally, the speakers briefly touched on the wage disparity between men and women, and attributed the cause, at least in part, to women being less vocal than men: they simply do not ask for raises as frequently as men do. Ms. Gruen emphasized that “Women need to speak up and ask for what they want.”

Jun 17, 2016
Rising Leaders Coffee Talk: Real Estate Development

By Morgan Ward


CREW San Francisco’s Rising Leaders Committee hosted their second successful “Coffee Talk” event on June 9th, 2016 with a discussion focused on development in the real estate industry. An intimate group of young professionals gathered at Merlone Geier’s office where they heard from past president and COO at Sares Regis Group, Ginger Bryant, and Jain Wager, Managing Director at Merlone Geier.


Jain and Ginger discussed how they grew in their careers and got to their positions in such a male dominated industry, walked through their day-to-day responsibilities, discussed current projects, and emphasized the importance of learning crucial negotiation skills.


“It’s all about remaining authentic and understanding who you’re negotiating with,” said Jain. “You don’t need to model men. Be yourself as a woman.” Ginger also discussed the importance of being mindful in your career in order to move it forward. “I didn’t always have a grand plan,” she said. “But I was always aware of major career milestones.” She explained that she could tell what would be a pivotal point for her career, and was able to make decisions accordingly. The group of young professionals left the “Coffee Talk” with newfound insight into the world of development and great new real estate connections. 

Jun 14, 2016
Flex Your Networking Skills

By Madelyn Yeung on June 13, 2016


Have you ever entered a room full of strangers and unfamiliar faces at a business-related event? Whether or not you’ve mastered networking, a vital socioeconomic skill, Emily Haggerty presents several essential tips in her article, 'Networking: Entering the Room with Confidence.'

Networking 1.png

Making and Accepting Introductions

It’s not always about who you know. It can also be about who the people in your network know, and more importantly, what connections can be made. Build rapport with your current network and be generous with them. Making useful introductions will strengthen your relationships, which will lead to even more connections.


Trying New Activities

Good relationships are based on authenticity, so get creative and consider unique events outside of the norm. Activities which emphasize a shared interest not only create authentic and social opportunities, but, over time, the room is no longer filled with strangers.

Networking 3.png

Following Up

Follow-up with the people that you meet. Even a quick “it was great to meet you” email will go a long way in spurring conversation the next time you see each other and try to incorporate something from your conversation that helps make your time together memorable.


“To Be” List

  • Be Yourself

  • Be Passionate

  • Be Honest

  • Be Present


CREW SF routinely creates opportunities to cultivate connections into relationships. A great way to flex your networking skills would be at our next Membership Madness event at the beautiful offices of Gensler Architects over Layer Cake Wine. Details below; see you there!


Membership Madness

Wednesday, June 15

5:30 pm - 7:30 pm

Gensler Architects

2 Harrison Street

Suite 400

San Francisco

Jun 07, 2016
Pay It Forward for a Chance to Win a $200 VISA Gift Card

By Madelyn Yeung




CREW Network Foundation has been encouraging women to pursue an education in the commercial real estate industry since 2008. The Foundation provides scholarships, career outreach, and research, and is the only foundation that dedicates its resources solely toward advancing women in commercial real estate. We need your support in reaching our goal to have 100% of our membership donate! In addition to your tax deductible donation, every member who donates in any amount to the Foundation from now through September will be entered into a monthly drawing for a chance to win a $200 VISA gift card.


So what are you waiting for? Pay it forward and donate here!

Jun 07, 2016
A Successful Year for the Rising Leaders Committee

by Erica Levine 


The CREW SF Rising Leaders committee celebrated their successful first year with a tour of 85 Bluxome Street followed by networking and drinks at Local Brewery.


Rising Leaders Kena David (BCCI) and Alicia Deschamps (RIM Architects) led the tour of 85 Bluxome Street, the first new-build commercial office space in the world to receive WELL certification. Sustainable design features of the 55,000 square foot LEED gold building include daylighting, a rooftop garden, bicycle parking and showers, rainwater capture for non-potable use, and an energy-efficient variable refrigerant flow HVAC system.


After the tour, the Rising Leaders headed to Local Brewery for drinks and networking with the building team and other CREW members.


The Rising Leaders committee aims to foster growth opportunities for women fresher to the commercial real estate industry. For more information, see their committee page on the CREW SF website


Rising Leaders toasting to a successful first year at Local Brewery.


Rising leaders and immediate past president Laurie Gustafson enjoying the view atop 85 Bluxome. When complete, the roof will be covered with a rooftop garden featuring permeable pavement that allows rainwater to reach the greywater treatment system. 


Railroad ties get a second life as the entrance art piece at 85 Bluxome



Daylight is abundant through the front facade of 85 Bluxome. 

the VIEW

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