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Exploring And Networking With DC’s Women In Commercial Real Estate

The glass ceiling is cracking in commercial real estate—and Commercial Real Estate Women (CREW) DC has a record 561 members, all contributing to that effort.


Recent years have witnessed a significant push toward closing the gender gap in traditionally male-dominated fields. Commercial real estate is no different. Honoring the decisive advances by women in CRE remains as pertinent as ever—as is cultivating early interest in the industry.

Instrumental to maintaining female momentum in the industry is allowing young women the chance to explore the field firsthand. Wendy Feldman Block (above) of CREW DC, winner of this year's Outstanding Impact Award, has been doing just that, by orchestrating opportunities for young women through the CREW Foundation as well as through her leadership with Tikkun Olam Women's Foundation and March of Dimes.

Her work with female college students to encourage them to enter CRE fields has had a major impact on numerous aspiring professional women.

In keeping with the theme of inclusivity, CREW is honoring women hailing from all walks of the commercial real estate industry on Oct. 6 at its annual Awards Gala.


"Some of the power of the CREW DC network can be directly attributed to the breadth of our membership," 2016 CREW DC president Michelle Kilby says. "From brokers to architects; from owners, developers and project managers to contractors, urban planners, attorneys and more, the women within CREW power every phase and aspect of commercial real estate."

CREW is by far the most prominent networking organization in the US geared toward women pursuing careers in commercial real estate, and several of its executive members have been seeking to ensure that it continues to grow excellence, rather than simply maintaining it.

“There are incredible benefits to leveraging a network of 10,000 members across the country,” Michelle says. “Our goal is to help other women tap into this huge real estate industry, to recognize key projects and real estate teams.”


CREW DC is determined to shine the spotlight on the inspiring accomplishments of its women—work that spans every corner of CRE. Michelle emphasizes the importance of recognizing young women in particularly challenging fields, such as CRE finance.

This year's winners demonstrate these goals. Rising Star awardee Jennifer Niedzwieki of Capital One Bank balances her work leading CREW DC's finance committee with her career in acquisition debt financing. 

CREW EDU leader and 2016 Annual Achievement Award winner Melanie Domres of Novus Residences co-launched a new subsidiary company for legendary development firm CafritzLynn Bennett of Coakley & Williams earned the Corporate Leadership Award this year as she more than doubled the number of women employed at the firm, while playing an active role on CREW's Membership Committee.


Women in CRE are responding to the opportunities to grow and lead provided by CREW DC, with the chapter now at its largest membership ever—a record 561 members.

The award ceremony, on Oct. 6, will bring the entire industry together—members and nonmembers, women and men—as a way to recognize these incredible women, recruit new members and have some fun.

One more enticement? This year’s gala features Mordecai Scott, associate at Savills Studley, Mitch Bonanno of Vornado/Charles E. Smith, Brad Nicklin of Baker Tilly, and VP of Capital One Financial Corp Brian Gormley, as guest bartenders.

To learn more about Bisnow partner CREW DC, click here.