At its December 2016 luncheon, CREW-Miami celebrated an impressive array of achievements by the organization and its members.
Cristina Lumpkin of Bilzin Sumberg Baena Price & Axelrod LLP expressed gratitude to the amazing team who helped to make her year as CREW-Miami’s 2016 president so productive. “I am proud of the work we have done and all that we achieved this year, from our membership number reaching a new high of 275, our excellent programs and fabulous signature events, our outreach programs through U-CREW, and our scholarship program.” She also expressed the very successful Fall Connections event held at the Freedom Tower in October.
CREW’s dedication to improving the lives of women and girls was confirmed with past president and co-chair of the Fall Connections committee Joy McKenna’s presentation of a $20,000 contribution to the Women’s Fund of Miami-Dade. Since 2003 when the alliance began, CREW-Miami has donated more than $130,000 to the Women’s Fund. Marilyn March, the organization’s about-to-retire director, thanked CREW members for their steadfast commitment.
Continuing CREW’s “pay it forward” approach to professional networking, education director Sandy Londono urged members to participate in the chapter’s mentoring program, designed to ensure that new members are integrated into CREW-Miami’s culture and opportunities quickly and effectively.
Scholarship committee chair Christina Kong announced recipients of five $2,000 grants awarded to women whose academic pursuits will prepare them for leadership in the commercial real estate industry. Scholarship recipients are Kathleen Mitchell, pursuing a master of science in real estate development at Nova Southeastern University; Madeline Nwankwo, working on a master’s in international real estate at Florida International University; Irma Qureshi, studying for a master of laws degree in real property development at the University of Miami School of Law; Elena Bondarenko, also pursuing a master of laws degree in real property development at UM’s School of Law; and Jessica Moreno, who is on track for a dual master’s degree in international real estate and hospitality management at Florida International University. Each scholarship comes with a 2017 CREW-Miami membership.
Cristina acknowledged the dozens of members who served on the board and committees during in 2016, and thanked Maria Bixby and Lea Cerdido of CorEvents, CREW’s indispensable administrators for the past nine years.
She then presented CREW-Miami 2017 President Kimberly Ginsburg. Kimberly is senior counsel at Holland & Knight, where she practices commercial real estate law. A CREW member since 2011, she served on the communications committee in 2012 and as programs committee chair in 2013. Kimberly has served on the board since 2014, as director of programs and director of sponsorship. Noting that a “Women at the Top” program showed her that “it’s all about relationships,” she said one of her goals is to encourage members to do more business together, using CREW as an overall catalyst for success.
Following the introduction of the 2017 board of directors and committee chairs, awards committee chairman Joann Soman presented the chapter’s tenth annual awards to members for outstanding achievements. Assisting her were committee members Sandra Goldstein, Andres Rodriguez, and Margaret Nee.
Honorees were Karyl Argamasilla – Mentor of the Year, Joy McKenna – Legacy Member, Gayle Bainbridge – Star Member (also cited this year by the Women’s History Coalition of Miami-Dade County as a Woman of Impact), Maria Juncadella – Outstanding Leadership, Christine Kong – New Member of Year, Andres Rodriguez – Outstanding Member of Year, and Unsung Hero – Diana Carballeira for her energetic work on the Fall Connections fundraiser.
Highlighting CREW’s mission to facilitate collaboration among members were the 2016 Networking Deals of the Year. The award for a transaction worth less than $2 million went to two CREW-Miami past presidents, Yvonne Bare and Joy McKenna. Yvonne’s firm, Takeform Architectural Graphics, provided comprehensive signage services for a Decatur, Georgia, commercial property managed by Joy’s company, Research Management Corporation. Recipients of the 2016 Networking Deal with a transaction value above $2 million were Linda Adler of Carlton Fields, Terri Echarte of Gibraltar Private Bank & Trust, Natasha Lowell of First National Bank South Miami, and CREW-Dallas’ Kassandra McLaughlin of Bell, Nunnally & Martin. This time-sensitive deal involved the purchase, sale, and funding of a complex reverse 1031 exchange of like-kind restaurant properties in South Florida and Austin, Texas.
The President’s Award, chosen by Cristina, went to Ligia Labrada. “Our lunch programs were very well-attended and I have heard countless times that we have the best programs in town,” said Cristina. “As programs director, Ligia helped me to fulfill my vision for my year as president.”
–Susan Cumins, CREW-Miami member since 1998