Over the last few months, as our country was absorbed with voting, the insurrection in Washington and inauguration of our 46th President, I began to focus on a much smaller but important transition happening in Philadelphia. For two years, in preparation, I have sat on the CREW Greater Philadelphia Board of Directors. My first year as our Chapter delegate to CREW Network, the group that is the mothership to CREW chapters. And last year I served as our Chapter’s President Elect; I was back up to our phenomenal 2020 President, Rosemary Loverdi.
Each year our Board and Chapter leadership transitions. We install new officers, our committees add on a new co-chair as one rolls off, and we form and retire task forces to address issues that need our attention. I doubt that any of us have thought of “the peaceful transition of power” when we agree to take on our positions or transition from them. Consistent with this, I have watched the members of our Chapter organically form relationships as they encourage, support, and develop the new “leader” to follow. Like those that serve our country, I believe our collective focus has and continues to be to serve our Chapter, members, and the larger commercial real estate community.
So, what is next now that we have made the transition? What is on our plate?
In 2021 we will build on our many successes in our nearly 40-year history. You should expect from us our outstanding programming and events, which include our annual golf outing on Monday, May 17, 2021, and our annual fall fundraiser, to be held in early October, where we raise critical funds for scholarship and to support local organizations that support our youth. In addition, we have the following new initiatives to launch or refine:
- Building on our decision in 2020 to change the Chapter’s name from CREW Philadelphia to CREW Greater Philadelphia, we will continue to dig into assuring that our Chapter’s programs, outreach, and membership reflects that we have a diverse group of commercial real estate professionals throughout our nine-county region.
- Leveraging the work of CREW Network’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Task Force, CREW Greater Philadelphia has formed a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Advocacy Group to be led by Kathy Fahy, our 2022 President Elect. The group will be dissecting our programs, practices, and governing documents to assure that our Chapter and membership can join other commercial real estate professionals as we collectively work on changes that will diversify our profession. As a backdrop for some of the ideas and work that will likely come from this group, on Thursday, February 18, 2021 our Chapter is hosting a free panel discussion on the CREW Network 2020 Benchmark Study: Gender and Diversity in Commercial Real Estate – A wakeup call and call to action for the Commercial Real Estate Industry.
- Developing new leaders. A former Chapter President, Rebecca Udell, has tirelessly led the development of a CREW Greater Philadelphia Leadership Development program. Originally expected to launch in 2020, we will instead host our inaugural class in 2022. The goal of the Leadership Program is to assure that we pour into our members critical leadership skills that will propel them through their careers and life. Limited only to CREW Greater Philadelphia members, registration will open this fall. It is one of the many reasons to be a part of our Chapter.
When this message is published, the “peaceful transition of power” will have occurred, and Joe Biden will be our 46th President. I encourage you all to read Amanda Gorman’s Inauguration Poem, “The Hill We Climb”, a poignant and clear message for us all to move forward and embrace the opportunity to be our best. In 2021, let each of us do our part to form “a more perfect union.” It did not come easy in 1787 during the Constitution Convention and it will not be easy in 2021. CREW Greater Philadelphia will be doing our part. Like our country, we will be continuing to look inward, asking ourselves tough questions, because without this, we will not be able to help the commercial real estate industry transition to become “a more perfect industry."
Carol Horne Penn
2021 CREW Greater Philadelphia President