It is a privilege and an honour to be President of Toronto CREW in 2018. I have been on the Board of Toronto CREW for the last four years as Treasurer, Board Liaison for Programs and Golf and as President Elect. I have also had the opportunity to lead the development of the Women’s Leadership initiatives. It has been a pleasure to work with our many talented members to continue building the programs, learning and networking opportunities which Toronto CREW offers. I look forward to working with our Board, committees and all our members to build on this strong foundation. I am especially pleased to hold this position in the same year that Tara Piurko is the President of CREW Network. Tara’s impressive rise to this prestigious position is an important accomplishment and raises our chapter to a position of prominence in the Network.
In 2017, Toronto CREW had many other honours and accomplishments within CREW Network. In June, Toronto CREW was chosen to host CREW Network’s Spring Leadership Summit. Our committee leadership and volunteers organized an impressive event which was widely attended and much praised by attendees from across the Network. Later in the year, Toronto CREW achieved, for the first time, the CREW Foundation Challenge, achieving all three targets – a $1,000 donation from the chapter, 100% Board participation and 50% membership participation. In October, at the CREW Network Convention, Sheila Botting, Partner and Canadian Real Estate Leader, Deloitte LP and long-standing Toronto CREW member, was one of four women recognized as a Distinguished Leader from across all chapters.
There have been a number of other first’s and new highs accomplished in the past year. Membership grew to 270 in 2017. Our committees continued to deliver creative new programming including a five-part Board Readiness Program enjoyed by 40 of our senior members, an engaging evening with Amanda Lang enjoyed by 200 members and their guests, a Power Speaking Program and a variety of other engaging events ranging from property tours to a panel exploring the evolution of retail, to networking evenings with other real estate organizations. This has all culminated in one of our strongest sponsorship campaigns ever. We are pleased and very thankful for the ongoing support and commitment of our many sponsors. With the talent, energy and creativity that our leaders and members bring to Toronto CREW, I think that we are truly, very well positioned for the year ahead.
I believe that it is a pivotal time to be a professional woman in business. With our society’s growing realization that diversity in the work place is not only a fair strategy, but a smart one, there are many groups promoting the elevation of women to positions of power in the Board Room and in the C-suite. Diversity of teams, leads to diversity of thought, promoting better decision making and success.
I believe that organizations like Toronto CREW, in fact especially like Toronto CREW, have a key role to play in helping to promote, sponsor, encourage and inspire women to be prepared to keep that pipeline to the boardroom and the C-suite full and active. I am impressed by and proud of the progress that we have been making together in developing a strong brand in our industry. We must continue to work creatively together to raise the bar high in providing our members the opportunity to grow and learn. In short, we must get engaged to make a difference.
In 2018, we will continue to build on the foundation laid in prior years. We will continue to foster a spirit of inclusiveness, inspiring more members to participate actively and offering them the opportunity to make a difference. It is through active participation that we experience the most personal growth and gain the biggest value from our memberships. We will reach out to our industry by building bridges and partnerships that provide opportunities for our members to be heard and seen. We will encourage our committees to develop strategic plans that will guide them in their execution of thoughtful and innovative work.
Finally, we will continue to promote the development of innovative, entertaining and intellectually stimulating programming that strengthens our brand and helps us to keep learning.
I invite you to join us to make a difference this year. Let’s work together to empower Women to Excel, Influence and Lead throughout their commercial real estate careers.
President of Toronto CREW