Cape Fear CREW Connects Commercial Real Estate Women
Three women in the commercial real estate business share their success stories of working with Cape Fear CREW.
PHOTOGRAPHY BY Megan Dietz
Business-minded women have an opportunity to enhance their careers through an organization known as Cape Fear CREW (Commercial Real Estate Women). Cape Fear CREW is part of the CREW Network located in 71 major markets nationally and in Canada. It began in 1989 and is committed to advancing women’s achievements in four key areas in the commercial real estate industry: business development, leadership development, industry research and career outreach.
As this region of southeastern North Carolina grows, so too does the amount of members in the local Cape Fear CREW chapter.
“There is a real mixture of women who own businesses or are in corporate,” says Lannin Kerry, Cape Fear CREW president. “This really speaks to big business in the area. Cape Fear CREW is very diverse and is like the melting pot of the Wilmington area. We have 46 members from Pender, Brunswick and New Hanover counties. We even have a member from Fayetteville.”
CREW consists of busy working women, from young professionals to women with families and years of experience in their field. The organization meets once a month in the form of luncheons or socials. A seven-member board governs the organization, and its program committee invites speakers from real estate, marketing or a related field to share their knowledge and experience.
Potential members must meet certain qualifications. Once approved, members immediately start benefiting from the network.
“It’s like having an instant Rolodex of businesses in every aspect of commercial real estate,” says Kerry.
CREW is also a great way to get together to celebrate each others’ business successes. Frequent newsletters are published to highlight member achievements. Not only does the organization allow for business networking, but also it is a great opportunity to build relationships on a more personal level with like-minded people.
“Women supporting women—how much better could it be?” asks Julie Andrews, the organization’s marketing and communications chair.
Lannin Kerry, who moved from Baltimore in 2007 to take a job as property manager for Brunswick Forest, is a natural in the real estate business.
“I guess you could say I got it through osmosis,” says Kerry. “My dad is a real estate developer, so it’s always been a part of my life. Deciding to be in the real estate field was a natural transition.”
Kerry is the point of contact for buying and leasing property in the commercial areas of Brunswick Forest. She also assists the operations managers in maintaining the amenity buildings such as the Welcome Center, Fitness & Wellness Center, Community Commons, and the clubhouse at Cape Fear National.
Kerry says she is honored to be president of Cape Fear CREW this year and is invested in acquiring new memberships to make this CREW chapter even stronger.
“I want to get the word out about how great of an impact these women have in business and how awesome this chapter is,” says Kerry. “My goal is to have as many members go to Council Leadership Summits, which are held across the country, so that members get to create even more connections nationwide.”
For her, being a member of CREW for the past three years has opened many doors in the Wilmington area.
“It gives me leads to businesses interested in Brunswick Forest,” says Kerry. “I have met amazing women and fostered not only working relationships, but also personal ones.”
As for Kerry’s immediate future, she will continue to keep real estate in the family as she will soon marry a fellow Brunswick Forest agent.
Life sometimes takes you in directions you never dreamed. Andrews grew up all over eastern North Carolina and attended UNCW, graduating with a communication studies degree. She worked in radio throughout college and never thought she would be working in real estate.
“A professor told me about the broker relations position at Brunswick Forest,” says Andrews, “and I was hired in the spring of 2013. I always wanted to work in marketing and public relations; it’s just in a different way than what I expected.”
Andrews travels frequently to find people who would be interested in Brunswick Forest.
“I’m always on the go building relationships with people,” she says. “I travel to Raleigh once or twice a month.”
Mainly dealing with real estate brokers, she even finds herself traveling out of state to set up booths at conferences to interest clients in Brunswick Forest. The most recent conference was in New Jersey.
Andrews immediately joined CREW upon her hiring and reaped its benefits. She says CREW helps her build rapport with other agents.
“It is a great referral network,” says Andrews. “It’s nice to belong to something regarding my career, but it’s also a great way to connect to the community.”
Andrews takes part in different charity events through CREW and is this year’s marketing and communications chair.
What’s on the agenda for Andrews’ future? She is a woman of many talents and looks forward to performing in an upcoming musical sponsored through UNCW.
Women in CREW are known for being hard workers, and Cheryl Moody is no exception. She is a wife, mother of four boys (ages 17, 7, 2 and 8 months) and is the principal scientist and owner of Atlantic Shores Environmental Services, Ltd.
Moody’s life took some twists and turns before landing her in her current occupation. She got into her field quite by accident. Having grown up in New England, she received her undergraduate degree in biology from the University of Vermont.
“I was pre-med, but I received a free ticket to Hawaii where I had a genetics research job lined up for the summer. I had planned on taking a year off , then apply to med school,” says Moody. “But two weeks after I got there, the professor that hired me left the state. I wanted to stay, so I got the first job that I could find, and it happened to be in the environmental field.”
Moody moved back to New England after two years and received her master’s degree in environmental science from the University of New Haven in Connecticut. She continued to work in New England until 1998, at which time she moved south to join her father and brother in Leland.
“That was over 16 years ago,” she says. “I didn’t think I’d stay here, so there was an adjustment period.”
During the depressed economy, Moody was let go from an environmental company with whom she worked. After looking in vain for a job that offered a position in her line of work, she decided to start her own business in July of 2008.
Her company, located in Leland, is a full-service environmental consulting firm. She performs due diligence and permitting services for new residential and commercial construction, as well as provides consulting services for redevelopment projects and maintenance of existing buildings.
“I do a lot of transactional work, and a lot of clients are people who own real estate,” says Moody.
Moody joined Cape Fear CREW the first year they began a local chapter, about four years ago.
“The caliber of women in CREW and the contacts you meet are unbelievable,” says Moody. “It has definitely helped my business and the group furthers everyone’s careers. It is a great way to network.”
Being a past board member of CREW, she has attended conferences outside the state and made many connections. “If I have a job that needs a specialist, the first place I look is within the CREW network,” she says.
In addition to spending more time outdoors with her family, in the near future Moody plans to take the NC Engineering exam and expand her business by hiring additional employees and bring in additional service lines.
For more information about Cape Fear CREW, visit capefearcrew.org