by Scholarship Winner, Ellie Scott (Avison Young)
When people ask me why I joined CREW, my typical answer is I wanted to meet other women in the industry and cast a wider net of resources. Having the perspective of before and after attending the convention, I had no idea how vast the CREW network actually is. Attending the CREW Convention in Orlando was a huge eye-opener for me to understand the community of CREW. The incredible women, their experiences, their resources, and knowledge... to see so many in a room together (and knowing it was just a small portion of them too) was really great to see first hand.
There were so many great things about the convention itself. The keynote speakers (Carey Lohrenz, one of the first female fighter pilots; Skylar Tibbits who researches and experiments incredible things I literally never would think of at MIT; and Sarah Robb O’Hagan, a kiwi who made many fails before finding her success in life) that were chosen I will be the first to admit, I had no clue who they were…even after a quick google search I hadn’t heard of them before…but they ended up being incredible speakers. Not only were they motivational, but thought-provoking, thoroughly interesting (and mind-blowing at times), and certainly made me want to do more, push myself more, and ask questions for both my personal and professional self. The numerous panels, breakout sessions, and fireside chats also had me rigorously note-taking so I could remember key points and research topics further. One of my favorite parts of the convention was a panel of 4 CREW members (Annemarie DiCola, CEO of Trepp LLC; Leslie Hale, CEO of RJL Lodging Trust; and Natalie Palladitcheff, President of Ivanhoe Cambridge – and moderator Wendy Mann, CREW Network CEO) who spoke so openly about their struggles and paths that led them to where they are. Some steps and missteps. It's fascinating to hear their stories and know we aren’t alone when struggling with something or to jump on an opportunity when you are afraid to fail. There are many women who paved the way for us, and CREW gives you the resources to be able to talk to those women and ask questions. Or in this case, to listen to them at a convention!
Another focus on the convention was the fact that CREW started 30 years ago. Remembering the grassroots and how it all started, in the basement of one of the founding member's homes, to where it is today. There were many of the founding members in attendance, which was great to see. Gaining the perspective of how much it has grown… its quite something. Chapters are starting up in Europe now!
I am very grateful I was able to attend the CREW Convention and represent part of the Edmonton CREW chapter. I was able to meet other Canadian CREW members and spend time with them. Again, just an example of connections I made that I wouldn’t have made had I not gone.
When the next opportunity to attend the convention comes up for myself, it won’t be a hesitation whether or not to go, the only question will be to my husband and if he’s ok with me heading out of town. The learning opportunity, ability to continue to cast a wider net and meet more incredible women, the foundation of such a supportive environment…the list goes on. The convention was truly great and I look forward to attending many more in the future. Thank you Edmonton CREW for this opportunity!