Last month, Farrow-Gillespie Heath Witter welcomed real estate attorney Paula Beasley to the firm. We value Ms. Beasley not only for her extensive experience with commercial real estate law, but also for her passion and dedication to her community. Currently, she is the president-elect of the CREW Dallas Chapter. The following is an interview with Ms. Beasley regarding her ongoing work with CREW.
What is CREW?
CREW Dallas – Commercial Real Estate Women – is a local business network that creates success for women in commercial real estate. CREW Dallas is the leading organization for decision-making executive women that provides opportunities for networking, education, leadership development, and civic/philanthropic involvement.
CREW Network is the industry’s premier business networking organization dedicated to advancing the achievements of women in commercial real estate. CREW Network members comprise professionals globally and represent nearly all disciplines of commercial real estate. CREW Network currently has 74 chapters in the US and Canada and one affiliate in the UK.
When was the CREW Dallas Chapter and Crew Network founded?
The CREW Dallas Chapter began in 1980 with a small group of 12 “real estate girls” who wanted to bond together in the male-dominated industry of commercial real estate. Today we have over 330 Dallas members.
CREW Network was founded in 1989 on the same principles of bringing together women in commercial real estate to exchange information, develop business contacts and help each other succeed professionally. Currently, we have 10,640 Network members in the US, Canada, and the UK.
What is your role, Ms. Beasley, as President-Elect of the CREW Dallas Chapter?
As President-Elect of the CREW Dallas Chapter, I began a 4-year executive service role with our chapter in January of 2017. As of January 2018, I will be the CREW Dallas President. The following year I will serve as Past-President and then as Chapter Advisor.
As President-Elect, I am a member of the CREW Dallas Board of Directors and the CREW Dallas Executive Committee. I also serve as a Board Member of our philanthropic organization, CREW in the Community. I am one of two CREW Dallas delegates to the Network and have attended three leadership summits this year at which delegates from all Network chapters attend leadership training, participate in educational seminars, and vote on any business of the organization. This year I traveled to Los Angeles and Toronto for summit meetings and the third was recently held in Houston prior to the CREW Network Convention. I have a role on the CREW Dallas Nominating Committee which chooses award recipients throughout the year. And finally, as President-Elect, I have a seat on the NTCAR Board of Directors.
What are the organization’s goals for the future?
CREW Dallas has a strategic plan which contains seven goals:
- Networking/Social – to make member to member interactions the primary focus of all activities. To promote member to member business or referrals along with business development opportunities.
- Professional Education – to produce timely, relevant programming that responds to member needs, advances their success, and develops leaders.
- Marketing / Communication – to create strong visibility for members and the organization through a robust, effective, and relevant marketing program.
- Membership Development – to have a growing, engaged, loyal and diverse membership that encompasses all commercial real estate disciplines and career stages.
- Revenue / Finance / Funding – to manage our finances in a prudent and strategic way and secure the necessary funding to support our mission and achieve its goals.
- CREW Network – to support the mission of CREW Network and encourage member involvement.
- Philanthropy – to provide networking and leadership opportunities for our members through CREW in the Community.
You attended the CREW Network Convention in Houston this past week. What is the convention’s purpose?
CREW Network hosts an annual convention in different locations each year. Last year we met in New York City; this year was in Houston; next year we will meet in San Diego. The CREW Network Convention aims to bring women together from around the country where relationships are formed, developed, and strengthened.
The host city chapter works with the Network organization to arrange tours of the city, networking dinners, industry leader speakers and several break-out sessions on current topics. City excursions give the “inside scoop” on the local markets, buildings, and developments that are unique to that area. For example, when Dallas hosted the convention, we arranged tours of Cowboy Stadium, NorthPark Mall and our Arts District. This year’s convention featured terrific insights from Dr. Travis Bradberry on emotional intelligence, Spencer Levy on the CRE market, and the actress Geena Davis about building strong, confident young women through positive roles in film and media.
What are your favorite parts of the CREW Network Conventions?
My favorite part is re-connecting with friends that I met at previous conventions and leadership summits. I also enjoy spending time with our Dallas Chapter friends. The convention provides a way to network and get to know people on a personal level outside of work that builds lasting relationships and friendships – which usually leads to doing business together at some point down the road.
What’s new in commercial real estate these days?
Autonomous cars and voice command are the new trends in commercial real estate. Autonomous cars are not too far in our future and they will affect the development of commercial parking, roadways, and infrastructure. Voice command technology is increasingly being built into commercial sites, such as hotels and other buildings of the hospitality industry. One hotel developer is planning to have an Amazon Alexa in every hotel room.
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Paula Beasley practices commercial real estate law, providing counsel and facilitating negotiations for clients involved in sales and acquisitions of real estate. Ms. Beasley provides legal services on a variety of issues including lease enforcement and defense of fair housing complaints.
Paula is an adjunct professor at SMU Cox School of Business, the 2017 President-Elect of the Dallas Chapter of Commercial Real Estate Women (“CREW”), and has been named to the lists of “Best Women Lawyers in Dallas” and “Best Lawyers in Dallas under 40” by D Magazine.