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Lessons Learned at CREW New York: Be a Servant Leader Print E-mail
Monday, 12 December 2016 15:33

Admiral William H. McRaven gave the final keynote at CREW Convention New York. As the University of Texas System Chancellor and a retired U.S. Navy four-star admiral, he leads one of the nation’s largest and most respected systems of higher education.

Bill spoke about how you can apply some of the Navy Seal principles in being a good leader. The first he said, is to be a servant leader. One of his favorite quotes to get the point across on leadership, “A shepherd should smell like his sheep.” As a leader, you are with them not above them. I agree and think that what helps someone understand how to be a servant leader is when you either volunteer or donate time to charities, non-profit organizations or fundraising events.

Other highlights and advice from Bill’s keynote include:

  • Communicate, especially in times of crisis. If there is no communication, everything falls apart.
  • With great power, comes greater responsibility. Hard decisions never get easier to make. To become a leader, you have to embrace challenges and overcome mistakes.
  • Remove the fear. It’s again this idea where removing the fear of rejection, confidence and taking risks all come into play.
  • Stop thinking about how can “I” get to the top. Help your peers when they are struggling and provide advice and mentorship. Your team will get stronger and your effort will be rewarded.

This is the final post in a four-part series by Melissa Desingco, business development manager in Neoscape’s Boston studio.

Image credit: CREW Network

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Lessons Learned at CREW New York: Investing in Diversity Print E-mail
Monday, 05 December 2016 20:22

Sallie Krawcheck, CEO & Co-Founder, Ellevest, gave a keynote focused on diversity – particularly gender diversity. One stat that stood out to me was that women-run companies perform 63% better than companies that are run by those with no diversity. Sallie shared her experience as a senior leader in one of the largest financial institutions where she was faced with gender discrimination and unconscious bias. This led her to start her own company, Ellevest, a digital investment platform for women.

Here are some experiences and advice Sallie shared:

  • Sponsor and advocate for each other. Help promote women within the company, this will show the commitment as well as the diversity to the company culture. Sponsoring other women is a way in which to help mentor and advocate for their professional growth and development.
  • Have hard conversations. If we want to have progress, we need to have those hard conversations and be the wedge.
  • Bring a different perspective. Within a team of five, I’m the only female and I think that helped bring a different perspective on certain business strategies.  I have learned a lot from my male colleagues and they have helped me get through the sea of suits.  
  • Be a devil’s advocate. Don’t be afraid to speak up. If you have an idea, bring it to the table, or challenge a person’s idea. Don’t be afraid to be a devil’s advocate because it very well could lead to better ideas.
  • Look for mentors either within your company or outside your company. I have a couple of CREW Boston members that I seek advice from as well as my current boss. I also remember how my two previous managers (both female) at my former company helped me get through certain difficult times and how they presented themselves in large executive and board meetings.

I’ll end this post with some quotes from Sallie that were inspirational – especially for the advancement of women in the workplace.

  • Get more money for women by closing the gender investment gap”
  • “If you invest in women, women invest in others, and the economy grows”
  • “Innovation occurs when you have a clash of different ideas”

This post is part three in a four-part series by Melissa Desingco, business development manager in Neoscape’s Boston studio.

Image credit: CREW Network

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Lessons Learned at CREW New York: Taking Risks in a Skirt Print E-mail
Monday, 28 November 2016 18:36

In this second post based on my time at the CREW Convention in New York, Mary Ann Tighe, CEO, New York Tri-State Region, CBRE, gave the luncheon keynote on her experience entering the real estate industry as one of the very few female brokers in New York. She also focused on women power and success in the real estate industry – a topic that was very interesting to me and my experience.

After her keynote, she had a fireside chat with Ric Campo at Camden Property Trust who notably said, “Great culture always beats strategy,” and Mary Anne Gilmartin from Forest City Ratner Companies about impacting and influencing the real estate industry.  

Some additional highlights from Mary Ann’s keynote and personal experiences I’ve had:

  • Don’t be afraid to shift your career focus. Mary Ann was first an art historian and now is the CEO of the CBRE NY/Tri Region. Mary Ann wasn’t timid shifting her career focus. This is very personal to me as I shifted my career in my early 30s with no real estate experience. Every day when I first started, I kept second guessing myself if I had made the right choice. I learned that it’s about trusting your gut, taking risks and the drive I had that made me successful in my previous company, has made me successful today. It made me realize that anything is possible and I’m not falling behind with my real estate peers as long as I continue to grow, learn from my peers and take risks. 
  • Prove them wrong. When a colleague told Mary Ann that she would not become vice chairman of her company not because of her successful track record, but because she was a woman, that drove her to prove them wrong. Two years later she was vice chairman at her former company.  
  • Be active in the real estate industry. I have been heavily involved in CREW Boston and NAIOP MA and participate on the committees at each organization. It has helped me grow my network and connect people to others. Take the lead on running events or be a host for a committee meeting or event. Your brand and your company’s brand will be on the minds and ears of everyone that walks into that event or meeting.

This post is part two in a four-part series by Melissa Desingco, business development manager in Neoscape’s Boston studio.

Image credit: CREW Network

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Lessons Learned at CREW New York: Bring Out Your Power Pose Print E-mail
Monday, 21 November 2016 20:12

As Neoscape’s business development manager, I have been a member of CREW Boston for close to three years. CREW is an organization that influences the success of the commercial real estate industry by advancing the achievements of women. This year, I had the opportunity to attend the CREW Convention in New York. Being a CREW Boston member has helped my business development skills and has helped me grow as a leader in the real estate industry.  

CREW Convention New York featured keynote speakers from Harvard Business School, CBRE, Ellevest, and the University of Texas.  

In a series of four blog posts, I’m going to share top things I learned from the keynotes at the CREW Convention that will help women in real estate’s professional and personal growth.

The first keynote was from Amy Cuddy, a social psychologist, professor at Harvard Business School and the author of PRESENCE: Bringing your Boldest Self to your Biggest Challenges. Amy goes over the power of non-verbal behavior, how to be present and influential and how women can be more confident everyday by changing little things in their behavior. Here are some additional highlights from her keynote and personal experiences I’ve had:

  • Be victorious in your achievements. Women do not give enough credit to themselves on accomplishments. Revel in your win, you will continue to feel more confident. Amy explained this through research she and other psychologists have conducted. One example was the research of showing test subjects a series of photos of athletes with their hands in the air and the reaction you get from seeing it.
  • The more you’re confident, the more people will trust you. It’s our nonverbal presentation that sets people apart.
  • Ditch the pitch and command your pose. When walking into a networking event, it’s always uncomfortable and your stress goes up trying to remember your pitch. Going up to people can be intimidating, but focus on being present and the rest will flow.
  • Be present. As a business development manager, your presence is heavily relied upon when making connections.
  • Fill your personal space. Stretch, walk taller, make a little more elbow room when you stand amongst others and think positively. Your facial expression will do the same.
  • Don’t shy away from rejection, use it as power. When starting in business development, it’s always the fear of rejection that comes to mind, which every human experiences and I think it’s greater in women. What I took from this is rather than always thinking “that guy won’t talk to me” I positioned my emotions as  “I’m going to smile, stand taller, feel warm and show why it’s exciting to be in my position at Neoscape because we are doing this, this and this.”

This post is part one in a four-part series by Melissa Desingco, business development manager in Neoscape’s Boston studio.

Image credit: CREW Network

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How the Internet of Things can drive museum engagement Print E-mail
Monday, 21 November 2016 00:00

2211 IET app 08 blog1

Recent innovations in exhibition content enable new ways to connect. For the smartphone-owning 81% of adults, there's no better time to be exploring the ways museums communicate information. By downloading an app, visitors can add a layer of data to the existing surroundings through Internet of Things (IoT) technology, connecting the physical and the virtual for the first time. The Internet of Things, an inter-networking of physical devices currently including smartphones, vehicles, and buildings, is growing exponentially, with experts predicting the introduction of 50 billion objects by 2020.

'Knowing what drew your attention during the exhibit would mean the app could deliver a perfect summary for further reading'

Earlier this year Squint/Opera installed a project for the Institute of Engineering and Technology (IET), building an app that acts like a virtual guide around historic building Savoy Place in central London. Once downloaded, the app sits in the background of the smartphone and ‘wakes-up’ when it comes into contact with a beacon.  The app reads the unique beacon it is nearest to, then talks to the cloud and pulls down the relevant content, displaying it back to the visitor instantly. The beacons themselves are tiny, battery powered devices, emitting signals from 1m to 20m and are placed around the building, giving visitors their own personal guide around the space and displays.

2211 IET app 07 blog5This simple use of IoT marks a breakthrough in how museums connect, for the first time able to display digital content and then react based on real-time visitor analytics. The museum can now know, for example, what the most popular beacon was (and therefore exhibit or location), how long the visitor spent there and where they went next, allowing the museum to understand physical location data in the same way as web analytics.

For a more personalised experience there’s an opportunity to use IoT both ways and enable exhibits to react to the users that they come into contact with. The capture of this information could enhance the guests experience even after visiting the museum. Knowing what drew your attention during the exhibit would mean the app could deliver a perfect further reading list. Crucially, all the data about what’s working, and what isn’t, is collected in the background and can form part of the procurement process when the space is updated.

Ultimately, the combination of a popular technology, visitors being motivated to download a genuinely useful and informative app and real-time analytics is a potential game changer for museums. For a relatively small investment they can connect, enhance, personalise and understand more about their visitors - at least 81% of them.

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Copyright © 2017. Robert Hewitt | Clemson University professor of Landscape Architecture.
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