Rising Leaders: Where New CRE Professionals Come to Thrive

CREW SF Rising Leaders Committee, CREW SF, San Francisco, Bay Area
Rising Leaders at CREW Convention Seattle 2015 | Image courtesy of CREW SF
CREW SF Rising Leaders Committee, CREW SF, San Francisco, Bay Area
Rising Leaders at CREW Convention Seattle 2015 | Image courtesy of CREW SF

By Kristina Owyoung Vinson, Pankow Builders and Amanda Bates, Kilroy Realty Corporation

This article will also appear in The VIEW, the quarterly newsletter of Commercial Real Estate Women San Francisco (CREW SF). CREW SF’s mission is to develop and advance women as leaders in the commercial real estate industry. It is 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. For chapter news, events and membership information visit crewsf.org.

CREW SF Rising Leaders Committee, CREW SF, San Francisco, Bay Area
[dropcap]T[/dropcap]he CREW SF Rising Leaders Committee is the first such group of its kind in the San Francisco Bay Area: a young-female leadership-oriented group specifically dedicated to the advancement of young leaders in commercial real estate.

The committee was created in the spring of 2015 to create a space where dynamic young women feel empowered. Guided by the core values of leadership and innovation, the group is focused on providing leadership training and positions of responsibility in CREW. It also helps to re-engage more seasoned (we like to call them “spicy”) members of CREW through mentorship opportunities and connections to a new, vibrant group of members.

CREW SF Rising Leaders Committee, CREW SF, San Francisco, Bay Area

The Rising Leaders Committee was created through great commitment: from the board members who dreamed up the committee and reached out to the CREW national network of 72 chapters and 10,000+ members to learn how to best establish its structure; to 2015 CREW SF President Laurie Gustafson and Board Liaison Kristina Owyoung Vinson, who guided the committee into inception with a core number of younger professionals (Amanda Bates, Kena David, Erica Hurd, Jolene Goldsmith, and Elaine Chan) who helped establish the goals and structure of the group.

The committee has been visible nationwide, as there were seven Rising Leaders who attended the national CREW convention in 2015 in Seattle, many of them having received scholarships to attend. The 2016 CREW Network Convention took place in New York City in October, and five Rising Leaders were in attendance thanks to scholarships.

Locally, Kristina Owyoung Vinson was honored in February 2016 with a nomination for Elevate’s Commercial Real Estate Industry Impact award spearheaded by the Registry, CREW SF, East Bay CREW, and CREW Silicon Valley. Moreover, the group has helped to increase CREW SF’s associate membership (1-5 years of experience in the industry) by 35 members since the committee’s inception.

The Rising Leaders Committee has had three successful morning seminars, called “coffee talks,” helmed by CREW leaders and past presidents, to educate those new to the industry on the many facets of the CRE world.

Now, the current committee co-chairs, Erica Levine (Arup) and Erica Hurd (Equity One), and members are working closely to plan various networking and informational seminars and events, including Wine Savvy 101, The Coffee Talk Education Series, the Leadership Embodiment Workshop, Golf Savvy 101, High Spirits and Legacy Bars, Rising Leader–led job site tours, and informal happy hours.

By engaging younger members of the Bay Area commercial real estate community early on and developing their leadership skills and industry knowledge, we hope these members can bring their successes back to their respective companies. We recognize the need to actively work towards parity, and when we have more women in commercial real estate leadership positions, entire companies and the industry as a whole will benefit.

We believe that both senior men and women need to focus on training the next generation of leaders in the industry to grow the future of commercial real estate and that it is incumbent upon our chapter and our Rising Leaders committee to work to achieve parity.

About the Authors
Kristina Owyoung Vinson is a dedicated communications, marketing, and learning and development professional with a passion for leading and inspiring others to communicate more effectively. As Director of Culture and Communications for Pankow Builders, she is responsible for developing and implementing corporate initiatives to build a strong internal community centered on Pankow’s vision, mission, values, and goals. Kristina ensures that the company has a single, consistent voice and brand by leading its global communications. Kristina actively serves on the Board of Directors of CREW SF and is the Director of the Rising Leaders committee. This year, Kristina received multiple nominations for the Commercial Real Estate Industry Impact Award from ELEVATE: Honoring Diversity & Women Leadership in the Bay Area.Kristina is a fourth-generation Bay Area native and lives on the Peninsula with her husband, Todd. In her spare time she enjoys scuba diving, traveling, dancing, and wine tasting.

Amanda Bates is an investment director at Kilroy Realty Corporation. She is in charge of underwriting acquisition and development projects on the West Coast. Amanda also helps lead the company’s disposition and joint venture diligence processes. Amanda moved to San Francisco in June of 2014 and previously worked at HFF in Washington, DC, as an office investment sales analyst and at JPMorgan Chase in New York City as a private banking analyst. She graduated from Emory University in 2010 with a degree in finance and international business.

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