President’s Message

November 29, 2021
Written by: Nathan Donato-Weinstein

What a year. 

As we close the book on 2021, it’s a good time to reflect on accomplishments and progress as a chapter. Despite the ongoing challenges of COVID-19, our community still worked to lift each other up with education, networking and growth. Here are just a few highlights. 

Zoom. In-person. Hybrid. We tackled all three programming modes in 2021 as the pandemic required flexibility. Our offerings included our first-ever virtual comedy night, a Santa Cruz beach day, a walking tour, a party at the Earthquakes stadium, and even a lobster feed (the later thanks to outgoing Past President Kristi Pearce-Percy). In all, nearly 1,000 people registered for more than 25 programs and happy hours in 2021. We’re hoping to be mostly physical in 2022, and the Programs Committee led by incoming director Laura Kreuger is putting together an ambitious slate of events for 2022. Major kudos to Programs Director Michelle Goudeaux for her stewardship of Programs over the last two years. 

The Rising Leaders committee, led by director Alyssa Chaulkin, recruited an impressive cohort for the annual mentorship program, and kept participants engaged through a (mostly) virtual workshop series. Keep an eye on our mentees – they’re going places. And if you have not participated before, please consider reaching out to incoming director Kimberly Taylor for details. 

The UCREW committee, led by Sabine Zimmerhansl, continued to meet with students, introduce them to successful women in CRE, and share insights on career pathways. UCREW is an important tool in increasing the pipeline of women in CRE, and this year the UCREW committee also explored ways of preaching under-served high school students. Stay tuned… 

Diversity, equity and inclusion are part of the fundamental mission of CREW -- it's who we are as we strive to advance women in CRE. The DEI task force produced three events in 2021 that drew roughly 200 registrants. We also invested in an internal workshop for CREW chapter leaders (and emerging leaders) focused on understanding DEI and “walking the talk” as we strive to become a more inclusive chapter. Special thanks to Jennifer VanderArend for leading our efforts on DEI. 

Finally, our chapter can’t function without the seamless functioning of all our various committees and volunteers. I would like to shout out Dee Armstrong and the Sponsorship Committee for encouraging us to find ways to provide value to our sponsors during an unconventional year; Leigh Knight and the Membership Committee for growing and engaging membership despite the headwinds and uncertainty; Ryan Rusler for keeping our finances strong; Mary Carter and the Communications Committee for keeping our membership informed; Secretary Lauren Mader for her wise counsel (and amazing meeting minutes); and incoming 2022 President Sarah Mancuso for being our board’s rock. (She’s going to be an amazing president!) I would also like to thank Kristi Pearce-Percy, our outgoing Past President, for the impact she had on our chapter and community over the last few years – we couldn’t have done it without her.

Thank you to membership for allowing me the opportunity to help lead our chapter this past year. Your CREW membership is only as good as what you put into it. Please consider getting involved in a committee, or even just volunteering at an event.  Explore the things CREW Network has to offer – like the CREWbiz forums, white papers, high-quality Network webinars, and Network summits and conventions. 

In gratitude,

Nathan Donato-Weinstein
CREW SV 2021 Chapter President