There’s no better way to recharge and get inspired than the CREW (Commercial Real Estate Women) Network Convention and Marketplace, and this year was no exception. More than 20 CREW-St. Louis members attended the convention in late September, joining CREW members from around the world. Here are four takeaways on leadership from the convention:
1. “A desk is a dangerous place from which to view the world” — I really liked this quote by John le Carre that was shared by Debra Fine. Debra spoke about the fine art of building business relationships at the pre-conference leadership summit for chapter leaders. She also gave some good conversation tips. For example, when asked “How are you doing?” Don’t just say “Great” or “Good.” Give your networking partner something to work with like “Great; I just got back from vacation.” Now, you’ve lobbed them an easy ball to catch and throw back with questions about your vacation.
2. “Be the catalyst” – Keynote speaker Carey Lohrenz was the U.S. Navy’s first female F-14 Tomcat fighter pilot. She talked about the need to have purpose, focus and discipline and about relentless preparation so that in a tough situation you can fall back on your training.
3. “It takes extreme focus to achieve extraordinary results” – One of my favorite parts of the convention was the keynote Sara Robb O’Hagan. Author of Extreme You: Step Up. Stand Out. Kick Ass. Repeat. Sara talked about making failure your fuel; playing your specialist game; changing the game; and bringing out the extreme in others. (I’m already enjoying her book).
4. “Hang on to the lesson, not the failure” – This came from Leslie Hale, one of the Distinguished Leaders panelists. She also talked about taking calculated risks and mastering the rules and making them your own.
In addition to these general leadership sessions, there were breakout sessions on specific markets and industry trends. Of the ones I attended, I thought the most interesting was Vision 2020: Navigating Current and Future Trends. Joshua Harris, vice president of strategy for Skanska, gave his take on factors suggesting a recession is near as well as factors suggesting growth will persist, tech trends and market trends.
Of course, networking opportunities were woven throughout the two and a half day conference. Our St. Louis group got together for dinner and managed to find each other often through the more than 1,200 attendees. If you ever have the chance to attend, I definitely recommend it!