The first organization founded in the U.S. for women real estate professionals, the Association of Real Estate Women (AREW) celebrated its 35th anniversary in 2013.
When asked her goal when founding the organization, AREW’s first president, Merle Gross Ginsburg, candidly said “Survival”.
Though relevant in 1978 when women were just making their way to the playing field, in the ensuing years, AREW has not only survived, but thrived, to become the largest and highest profile organization for women real estate professionals in New York City.
For this Women’s Forum issue, Real Estate Weekly asked 2013 president, Lina Telese, Zetlin & DeChiara LLP, and 2014 president Erin Bond, New York Law School, about their experiences with AREW and its continuance as a premiere real estate association.
Q: How long have you been an AREW member?
TELESE: Seven years. When I started attending AREW’s programs, I realized this organization was a great fit for me.
BOND: I first attended AREW events as a law student many years ago and became a member four years ago.
Q: What or who prompted you to join and why?
TELESE: A partner of my firm is an AREW past president and brought me to my first AREW meeting.
BOND: I met Jennifer McCool of Related Co. through New York Law School and she introduced me to AREW.
Q: What positive changes have you seen since becoming a member?
TELESE: There’s been an increase in membership and sponsorship and we have been able to provide greater value to membership with high quality events, access to industry leaders, networking events at new hot spots in NYC and many educational workshops.
BOND: With the 35th Anniversary Year, AREW was able to re-engage old members, attract new members, and pursue a new strategy for programming with an educational and professional development purpose.
Q: Did you view AREW as an opportunity to add to your skill set and enhance networking by joining/chairing a committee?
TELESE: Yes! AREW’s membership is comprised of strong, knowledgeable, influential leaders in the real estate industry and my experience in the construction industry is a nice complement to this group.
BOND: I did. I’m an organizer by nature and being involved with AREW has provided opportunities to further develop my skills and meet and create relationships with many professionals.
Q: Considering the time and responsibility entailed in serving as AREW president, what were your deciding factors in seeking the position?
TELESE: My predecessors encouraged and inspired me. AREW is not only an educational and networking organization, but one with heart. It supports women and their families through the WIN (Women In Need) program and promotes future leaders through scholarships.
BOND: I love this organization and truly believe in its mission. We are all about advancing women in their careers and I wanted to further that mission.
Q: What do you see as AREW’s greatest strengths/benefits as an organization?
TELESE: Its diversity that supports women in the industry across multiple disciplines, as well as its top notch programs and the knowledge and commitment of its members.
BOND: In addition to diverse membership that enables members to network with a variety of professionals that end up being parties to their deals and projects, AREW’s mission orientation is a huge benefit. We are all working to help each other succeed. Every event and interaction is a learning experience and an opportunity to grow.
Q: How do AREW members benefit from also being members of CREW Network?
TELESE: CREW promotes business and professional opportunities to members on a national platform. It provides organizational, developmental and administrative support to a wide network of members.
BOND: CREW Network is an amazing resource for AREW members. Being the largest professional organization for women in real estate in NYC is in itself a benefit, but adding CREW’s 8000+ members enables AREW members to develop relationships and do business with women around the country.
Q: How often have you/do you refer business opportunities to other members?
TELESE: I was involved in a redevelopment project where I brought in at least three AREW/CREW members. Whenever an opportunity presents itself, my first instinct is to see if there is anyone within AREW/CREW I can reach out to for collaboration.
BOND: As often as I learn of an opportunity. I like to talk with and introduce people.
Q: Lina, what were the highlights of your 2013 term?
TELESE: I was privileged to be president during our very successful 35th Anniversary Gala that funded AREW Charitable Fund scholarships for five years. We increased membership by 20%. The Charitable Fund doubled the number of children in Women in Need residences who received gifts via their Secret Santa initiative. We also had a number of very high profile luncheons and networking events.
Q: Erin, what new initiatives do you foresee for 2014?
BOND: We are working on an enhanced marketing campaign to increase awareness among members and prospective members about the great programming we offer. We are also working on how to further develop our Charitable Fund and make an impact for those in need.