President's Message: 2021 Year's End

December 15, 2021

Thank you Edmonton CREW for a wonderful year!  Although it was not how I anticipated the leadership year would go, I think we made the best out of the situation we were faced with.  I really commend all of you on your resiliency.  I’m so grateful for our 2021 board of directors, 2021 sponsors, and most importantly the CREW Members.  As I have previously said in the past, we don’t have CREW without You.  I am so thankful for those smart women who collectively gathered 11 years ago, in creating the genesis of Edmonton CREW to have a group of like minded people who are supportive in the advancement of women in CRE.  Thank you founding members for believing in this initiative and we hope we are doing you proud.
My initiative this year was spotlighting the importance of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion.  This time last year, we saw ripples which grew into waves. 

  • Kamala Harris becoming the first female Vice President of USA
  • Kim Ng shattered the glass in Major League Baseball becoming the first female, and of Asian decent, as the general manager of the Miami Marlins
  • Making history in Canada on the same day, Edmonton and Calgary elected one of Canada’s first mayors of Punjabi decent. Calgary elected their first female mayor, Jyoti Gondek and Edmonton’s Amarjeet Sohi.
  • In addition, City council had broken a barrier.  We have tipped the balance, and we elected the most women city councillors to a count of 8 women (2 of visible minorities) and 4 men.

Allow me to shed a little light on why Diversity, Equity and Inclusion topics are so important to me.  As person of colour and a female in a male dominant industry, many of you can relate, inclusion is not always a given.  Luckily, I was given an English birth name, which allowed me to be more easily called upon and included in the school yard for activities.  As a new graduate embarking on a new career, I found myself on the outs of the “in” group.  I desperately wanted to be included and fit in.  Found myself taking on a persona just to assimilate.  That was not me.  My encouragement to you is that your individuality is rich and unique.  Your personal experiences and opinions are welcomed and sought out.  Don’t abandon who you are.
As my year comes to a close, I want to acknowledge the outgoing Board Members as well.
Karen Dyberg – your commitment as Membership Chair these past few years do not go un-noticed.  During your tenure as membership chair you and your committee collectively welcomed an average of 18.75 new members each year.  You’ve held our membership numbers constant ranging from 108 – 110 members and keeping member retention rates hovering around 80%.  Thank you for all you’ve done since filling this role in 2018, and your incoming membership chair will have some big shoes to fill.
Laura Bradley – your leadership last year was impressive.  Who knew that when we were attending the Leadership Summit in January 2020 that we’d have to completely come to a halt the middle of March 2020.  You were just getting into a groove, but your agility to pivot and offer virtual events was inspiring.    Although we weren’t able to celebrate our 10th year anniversary in style for our signature Breaking Ground event, you demonstrated your adaptability to the environment and spearheaded the video of interviews with CREW Members and Sponsors showcasing where CREW started and how far we’ve come.  Like Past President Jill Sheward said “We’ve come a long way baby”.  This video rang loud and clear to me.  It captured the epitome of why Edmonton CREW is so important.  It made me emotional, because so many of these women encouraged me and mentored me to where I am today.  Thank you Laura.  You have been a tremendous support to me and have been a huge inspiration on how to lead. 
 
As I pass this torch to Laura Way-Olenek to lead Edmonton CREW in 2022, I know that we are in good hands.  I’m excited for what the future will bring under Laura’s leadership.  The planning and organization that is going on behind the scenes, I know that Laura and Robyn will catapult Edmonton CREW into the next stratosphere.  It has been my pleasure to serve as Chapter President this year.
 
- Angela Wu-Kemp