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Published On Dec 03, 2021 in 
Leadership & Development, PECO Culture, and PECO News

PECO NOW supports the women leaders at Phillips Edison through advocacy programs, supporting resources, leadership opportunities, and scholarships. One of the opportunities offered to associates in 2021 was a scholarship to attend CREW Convention in Las Vegas, a global commercial real estate conference hosted by CREW Network.

Jennifer Spicer, Senior Financial Analyst, and Hannah Williamson, Senior Financial Analyst, were selected for the scholarships and attended the conference along with Rene Tingey, Senior Regional Property Manager and President-Elect of CREW Sacramento.

CREW Network hosts this annual event each year, offering three days of inspiring presentations, networking, leadership development, deal-making opportunities, and commercial real estate industry insights. We’re proud to have PECO represented at this global event with our own inspiring leaders!

We caught up with Jennifer, Hannah, and Rene to hear what their experience was like and get their top takeaways. Read what they shared with us below.

 

A person smiling for the camera Description automatically generated with medium confidenceJennifer Spicer, Senior Financial Analyst

Tell us about your experience at CREW Convention.
It was AMAZING! I have never been in a room full of so many talented, kind, and motivated women and men. Mrs. Alvarado (CEO of a Hispanic owned construction company and part owner of the Colorado Rockies) and Sarah Thomas (the first female NFL referee) were excellent speakers. Their stories were inspirational and made me want to go bust down barriers in my life that I really didn’t even realize I had put in front of myself until that point in time.

What are a few of your top takeaways from the convention?
Do not let barriers hold you back or define who you are. Speak up and advocate for yourself. You know more than you think. There are a lot of people out there, men and women, that value the input of women in CRE, and they realize the value of having women in leadership roles. And in order to develop and elevate women to the leadership roles within our organizations and the industry, we must lift one another up at every level.

How do opportunities like this make you a better leader within PECO?
It forces me to interact with others that I typically may not have otherwise, as well as advocate for the women of PECO to receive continued development. It also taught me that I do know more than I thought even if I’m not cut from the same cloth as others in my department. I have valuable input and knowledge that can and should be shared with others. It forced me to reevaluate my core values and see how they align with PECO’s values and to use those values as my spark for constant learning and development.

 

A close-up of a person smiling Description automatically generatedHannah Williamson, Senior Financial Analyst

Tell us about your experience at CREW Convention.
The CREW Convention in Las Vegas was such a great experience. I had never heard of CREW before being awarded the PECO NOW scholarship and I had little understanding of what this convention would look like. I was immediately welcomed into CREW by so many women from around the country. I was able to attend multiple breakout sessions including an emerging leader’s discussion and retail presentations that have given me so much confidence and more retail-specific tools to bring back to PECO.

What advice do you have for women looking to improve their leadership skills?
The best advice I can give to someone looking to improve their leadership skills is to get involved and put yourself out there. Joining an internal committee is a great place to start – I joined PECO NOW earlier this year and I found that it was a great way to meet people, share your ideas, and find your voice. There are many resources within CREW for leadership development as well. Networking and joining a group can be difficult and somewhat overwhelming at first, especially one as large as CREW, but taking smaller steps can help you gain confidence along the way.

How do PECO NOW and CREW Network support women in CRE?
PECO NOW and CREW Network are driving towards the same goal – lifting women up and providing opportunities for career development and networking. PECO NOW is a great resource for both women and men for internal networking and I would love to see a larger emphasis on external networking as we move into 2022. I feel fortunate to be part of a company that has resources and a strong emphasis on women's growth and development – I’d love to have more of my peers join CREW Cincinnati, or their respective chapters, to bring energy and ideas back to PECO to empower women even further!

 

A close-up of a person smiling Description automatically generatedRene Tingey, Senior Regional Property Manager

Tell us about your experience at CREW Convention.
Every CREW Convention I have attended leaves me feeling inspired, educated, and excited about being part of the experience with so many other incredibly talented commercial real estate professionals. The guest speakers are so diverse that it gives you a great feel for how different success looks for different people. It isn’t a “one-size-fits-all” image that I had long believed. I love hearing about the challenges people had to overcome to get where they are – it always leaves me inspired to take on more.

How do PECO NOW and CREW Network support women in CRE?
PECO NOW and CREW Network both provide opportunities, networking, and peer connection for women in the CRE industry. They recognize the challenges that being female in this industry can present and provide encouragement, support, and resources for navigating those hurdles. Both groups are focused on not just acknowledging the differences but celebrating them while trying to bring more equity to the industry.

What advice do you have for women looking to improve their leadership skills?
Accept every opportunity that is presented, no matter how big or small, and then watch and learn. You have no idea what accepting an invitation to join will lead to or the company it will surround you with. Especially in commercial real estate, it is a relationship business.  The best contacts and relationships I have built over the years have been from the invitations that I may have been too busy or too tired to accept but did – and I have never regretted it.

Identify those who you admire as leaders and then identify why. What is it about them that draws you in? Consider how they speak to those they lead, how they connect, even what they wear and how that influences peoples’ perception of them. Take note of what you like or don’t like, and what skills you possess that you could showcase in a similar way that would strengthen your own leadership style. Hone in on who your true authentic self is and showcase the strengths you bring to the table unique to you.

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