Meet Karyl Argamasilla, Miami CREW Prez
In the summer of 2001, Karyl Argamasilla had just passed the bar and been on job interviews with a number of major South Florida law firms, many of which seemed interested. She had, she tells us, a lot of options at that moment. Then came hiring freezes in the wake of 9/11.
The freezes were only temporarily, but they indirectly led Karyl to a job with a boutique real estate firm that was hiring an attorney. (There's an old saying our grandmother used to share: "When life closes a door, go work at a boutique real estate firm.") Thus she was doing hands-on real estate tasks that she might not have experienced at a large law firm until years had passed. She also found her professional passion in real estate law. The legal aspects of putting deals together—acquisition or development or finance—are endlessly fascinating, she says. These days Karyl’s of counsel at Bilzin Sumberg, in its Miami office. Karyl took a selfie recently with students at Young Women's Preparatory Academy, whom she mentors.
Karyl first got involved with CREW Miami in earnest in 2006. By 2010, she was on the board of directors, she became chapter president at the beginning of this year, when CREW Miami is poised to host the org's national convention (in late September/early October, when everyone in the country is starting to remember that summer ends, so maybe they should go somewhere that it doesn't). CREW has an important role in professional networking, and raising the visibility of women in a traditionally, and still largely, male industry, she explains. But it’s also important in introducing the profession to a new generation. This year CREW introduced two new levels of membership for new entrants: Student (for those studying real estate), and Associate (for professionals with less than two years' experience in the biz). Snapped: Karyl and May's luncheon panel.
CREW Miami has started a number of initiatives to attract, or at least introduce, young women to the industry. CREW Careers, for instance, is a program that mentors girls in middle- and high school, essentially letting them know that such a career is possible. “We talk to them about commercial real estate, which is a world they usually don’t know anything about,” Karyl says, "and we have ongoing relationships with some of the students." CREW Miami also does U CREW twice a year, with Florida International University in the spring, and the University of Miami in the fall, providing professional information to older students. Snapped: a CREW Miami fishing crew.