Leadership Spotlight: Jennifer Chambers, President-Elect

2019 Leadership Spotlight Series

This week, the spotlight is on Jennifer Chambers, President-Elect and Board Liaison to Sponsorship. Jennifer is a Partner at Plante Moran and has been involved with CREW Detroit since 2011. In her role as the president-elect of CREW Detroit, Jennifer serves as the “right-hand” to the president. She participates in review of the strategic plan and moderates the nominating committee to slate the upcoming board of directors.  Along with the president, she serves as a National Delegate to CREW Network by attending all CREW Network meetings. She has an excellent understanding of the resources at CREW Network and helps prepare chapter leaders.

Why did you join CREW? And how long have you been in CREW?
I joined CREW in 2011 after attending events as a nonmember for several years.  I sought membership as a way of expanding my knowledge, relationships and commitment to the real estate industry.

Why is CREW important to you? To your company?
The advancement of women in their chosen professional career is something I am truly passionate about.  For the past 17 years, my career at Plante Moran has been primarily focused on serving clients in the real estate industry.  CREW Detroit is an organization that brings together my passion for advancing women in the industry that I have dedicated my career to – real estate.  Plante Moran has been a long-time supporter of CREW and its mission, having several PM staff as members as well as being a sponsor for many years.

What has CREW done for you? Personally and Professionally?
In my career serving real estate clients, mainly developers/operators of CRE, I thought I had a pretty good connection to the industry.  After joining CREW, my understanding, appreciation and passion for the industry blossomed into so much more.  CREW attracts a diverse group of individuals in a variety of aspects of CRE.  Being able to learn more about the industry, meet talented new people, while helping to advance the success of women in this industry has been an extremely fulfilling experience, both personally and professionally.

Why should people within the CRE industry join CREW?
This was Kelli’s response and I’m pretty sure it can’t be topped – so I’m agreeing with it! “As the premier organization in the commercial real estate industry, I believe CREW is continuously challenge the status quo and asking “Why?”  From the white papers that Network has published on equality and diversity/inclusion to growing into a global organization, it has helped transform the conversation in how the CRE industry has been operating by openly discussing the areas of improvement and providing tools to help make those changes.  “ – Kelli Herman

3 things I wish I had known to elevate my professional career.

  1. 1. Don’t get too caught up in what others are doing or how they do it – have confidence in forging your own path
  2. The idea of a having a “personal board of directors” was introduced to me later in my career.  Having someone articulate that concept to me really resonated and I wish I would have known it sooner.
  3. Join CREW sooner – I had ~10 years of experience in my career/industry and wish I had been more involved sooner!

How have you been involved in with CREW? Committees; Board?
During my first year of CREW, I jumped in with both feet to the Impact Committee and really enjoyed getting entrenched with my new membership right away.  The following year, I became a Chair of Impact and served in that role for 2 years.  For the past 4 years, I have had the honor of serving on the Board as the Treasurer and for 2019 am so excited to be the President-Elect/Chair of Sponsorship.

What advice would you give a new Member?
Get involved — Day 1!  You will feel the spark and the excitement of CREW is you jump in and get active.  I recommend finding a committee that aligns with your goals and interests and seize the opportunities!

Who was your CREW Sponsor?
Donna Hanson – she is also a Partner at Plante Moran and has been a CREW cheerleader for many, many years.  Donna has been a long-time member, and served on the Board for 4 years preceding my election to the Board.  Her enthusiasm about the organization was contagious and I credit her for helping lead me to CREW.

What is your favorite quote?
Gosh, so many great quotes that inspire me.  I frequently reflect on  this one: “Be the change you wish to see in this world” – Mahatma Gandhi, but I also love this one because I embrace being optimistic on a daily basis: “Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement.  Nothing can be done without hope and confidence” – Helen Keller

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