Leadership Spotlight: Jennifer Chambers, President

This week, the spotlight is on Jennifer Chambers, Chapter President. Jennifer is a Partner at Plante Moran and has been involved with CREW Detroit since 2011. In her role as the president, Jennifer leads the initiatives of CREW Detroit. 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 future 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 saw CREW as an influential organization that provided best-in-class events to the real estate community and its members.   The organization resonated with me personally as I am passionate about developing and promoting women in their leadership journey.

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!

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.

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

1. Don’t get too caught up in what others are doing or how they do it – learn from others, but also 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.  I encourage women to be thoughtful around identifying who this core group of individuals is for them and leverage these relationships to help you advance in your goals. 

3. Make strategic choices, whether it’s saying ‘yes’ to something, or saying ‘no’ à Saying yes to something means you are inherently saying no to something else – understand what this is to ensure your are making a strategic choice  

How have you been involved in CREW? Committees; Board?  During my first year of CREW, I jumped in with both feet to the Impact Committee and really enjoyed getting entrenched right away.  The following year, I became a Chair of Impact and served in that role for 2 years.  I served on the Board as Treasurer for 4 years, prior to being elected as the President-Elect for the Chapter in 2018, which is a 3-year term of President-Elect, President, and then Past-President.

Who was your CREW Sponsor and how did they impact your experience within CREW? 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.

How would you describe your leadership style and/or key attributes of your professional strengths?  Positive, professional and organized.  I have strong project management and organization skills.  I pride myself on having a positive/optimistic attitude and exemplifying enthusiasm for the work being performed.  My style embraces open communication and collaboration – I encourage contributions from the team and thoughtfully review feedback and ideas and link this back to our overall tasks/goals/objectives.

What is your favorite quote?  “Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement.  Nothing can be done without hope and confidence” – Helen Keller

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