DETROIT – More than 40 Detroit high school girls and 40 local professionals participated in CREW (Commercial Real Estate Women) Detroit’s CREW Careers program at Quicken Loans May 13.
This year’s students hailed from Detroit Public Schools’ Golightly Career and Technical Center and Denby High School, and Detroit Cristo Rey High School.
At the event, students became developers for the day. Placed in groups, the girls were assigned the task of redeveloping a shopping plaza. Each group’s redevelopment was judged based on concept, feasibility, environmental consciences, creativeness and benefit to the community. The winning team, made up of six students, considered the demographics of their own neighborhoods, then chose the most common challenges of each and developed a shopping center that helps address them. Each group was led by a pair of CREW member advisors.
Before separating into groups at CREW Careers, students heard from Tosha Tabron, vice president and relationship manager for Global Philanthropy at JP Morgan Chase. Tabron, who led the deployment of $25 million in philanthropic investments to Detroit-based nonprofits in 2014, shared her success story with the girls, motivating them to beat adversity and follow through on their professional aspirations.
In addition to educating the girls on what it takes to develop a piece of commercial real estate, the program also enhanced team building and presentation skills and showed the students how to successfully network in a professional environment.
Participating students were invited to apply for internships with Quicken Loans, Michigan Community Resources, Barton Malow Company and Turner Construction, as well as apply for a scholarship put forward by the family of CREW Detroit member Nicole Blocker. Winners of the competition received $100 gift cards and students who participated but did not win received $25 gift cards; every girl went home with a messenger bag filled with academic and professional supplies and resources.
CREW Detroit members developed hands-on, interactive and inspirational activities for the program, which takes place each spring. In addition to dedicating a day of advising, some members also visited the students at school prior to the event. During these sessions, the girls learned about the commercial property development process and how real estate transactions transpire, preparing them for the competition.