CREW Detroit Helps Women In The Commercial Real Estate Industry
Currently celebrating its 30th anniversary, CREW Detroit, one of 74 CREW chapters across the U.S. and Canada, is an organization of commercial real estate professionals, which includes more than 160 Metro Detroit area experts representing every discipline in the commercial real estate industry, including architects, attorneys, brokers, contractors, designers, developers, lenders, title agents and more. The more than 150 members represent more than 130 local firms and nonprofits.
And exactly zero of them are men.
CREW Detroit — or Commercial Real Estate Women Detroit — is a founding member of the CREW Network, an organization dedicated to advancing the success of women in the traditionally male-dominated industry. At its helm are two Jewish women, Board of Directors President Dana Kreis Glencer and Board President Elect Andrea Burg.
Kreis Glencer, 42, is an attorney and member/partner at Bloomfield Hills-based Dawda Mann, where she has worked since 2001 and is responsible for transactions in the sale, purchase and leasing of commercial real estate. She is a 1991 graduate of Berkley High School and 1995 graduate of Oakland University, where she played women’s soccer. Kreis Glencer then graduated Cum Laude in 1998 from Michigan State University Detroit College of Law.
A mother of two daughters — ages 8 and 10 — Kreis Glencer, who was raised in Huntington Woods and now resides in Bloomfield Village, is committed to demonstrating for her girls the importance of women supporting other women as well as the ideals of education, hard work and volunteerism that her Jewish upbringing instilled in her. She had her bat mitzvah at Temple Beth El, where she and her family are still members today and both of her daughters attend religious school.
“I chose to get involved with CREW Detroit because I saw a close-knit group of women that helped each other … whether to secure business, obtain referrals, advance their careers or offer advice, and it really struck a note with me how powerful a network of women can be,” Kreis Glencer says. “I have found referrals, new business leads and clients to help me professionally, but I also have gained invaluable relationships and personal friendships. I don’t know that enough women recognize the power in learning from other women.”
Despite its heavy prevalence of male professionals, Kreis Glencer finds commercial real estate a career choice quite well-suited to women’s skill sets, especially in terms of negotiation and multi-tasking. She also would encourage young women to consider commercial real estate as a career path for the work/life balance it can afford.
“It’s a good career for balancing work and family,” Kreis Glencer says. “I can take a conference call on the soccer field while watching and supporting my girls and then draft documents later in the evening after they’ve gone to bed.”
When asked for her best career advice, Kreis Glencer advises young women to keep it classy. “Always maintain professionalism and decorum in both your appearance and actions,” she says. “Dress appropriately, don’t swear in the workplace and follow through on your commitments. There is nothing worse than someone who overpromises and underdelivers.”
CREW Detroit’s Board President Elect, Andrea Burg, 51, is vice president of project and development services at JLL, a financial and professional services firm that manages new construction and renovations for its real estate projects.
A 20-year commercial real estate industry veteran — and no stranger to being the only woman in the room — Burg earned her bachelor of science degree in civil engineering with a concentration in construction management from the College of Engineering at the University of Michigan. Prior to that, the Oak Park native and now Bloomfield Township resident graduated from Oak Park High School. She has been actively involved in CREW Detroit for a number of years, previously serving on the board of directors in 2012-2013 and as the group’s sponsorship chair from 2008 to 2011. As president elect, Burg will begin her term as Detroit chapter president in 2017.
“Through my involvement in CREW, I’ve been able to meet and work with so many women who have the same work ethic and client focus that I have,” Burg says. “On one of my most recent projects, every consultant and contractor was a CREW member company. It’s very gratifying to know that you are working with people who you can count on to perform.”
Burg chose the commercial real estate field and would encourage other women to do so because of the diversity of work available in the industry. She also would encourage young women to find work in what they enjoy.
“I think there are so many career paths and opportunities in the commercial real estate field, and I do what I love and love what I do,” Burg says. “Find a career that you are passionate about. It’s important to be able to have fun at work.”
Burg, who also is a mother of two, grew up in a strong Jewish community, where the majority of her friends and neighbors were Jewish. She has fond memories of summers spent at Camp Tamarack and family holiday meals at her Bubbie and Zaydie’s house, which eventually transitioned to her parents’ house.
“It was important to me to save all of my mother’s serving pieces when she and my father passed away,” says Burg. “I want our children to have those same memories.”
One memory Burg is hoping to see fade, however, is the steep inequality in industries like commercial real estate.
Commenting on results from a recent CREW Network benchmark survey of women in the industry, Burg says, “It is good to see that there have been some gains in compensation, positions and job satisfaction for women. But it still is a bit disheartening to see how much further women need to go.” *
For more information on CREW Detroit, visit www.crewdetroit.org.
By Hope Brown, Special to the Jewish News