In April, I traveled to Toronto for a three-day economic development finance class. Because Tara Piurko, our CREW Network liaison and 2018 CREW Network president, is a Toronto CREW member, I sent her a quick email to see if she would be free for dinner one night. Tara was out of town that week, but she e-introduced me to their chapter's 2017 President, Roslyn Wallace. As luck would have it, Roslyn and her fellow Toronto CREW members were hosting an evening program on the "Reinvention of Retail," and they invited me to attend.
The program was moderated by Mary Mowbray, SVP, Retail Group, Colliers (and a Toronto CREW member) and consisted of a panel of experienced retail professionals, including a fashion blogger, an e-commerce and omni-channel expert from J.C. Williams Group, and a marketing & tourism director at Vaughan Mills, a premier outlet destination north of Toronto. It was interesting to hear their experiences with ongoing changes in shopper habits and ways they've seen retailers and mall operators stay relevant by creating the shopper experience, using food as the new anchor, and building community through retail.
We've all heard that "CREW Network is the Network that Works" and "There are no cold calls in CREW," and my experience certainly bears that out. I would encourage you to make a habit of reaching out to fellow CREW members whenever you travel. Even if meeting members from other chapters doesn't immediately lead to new business, it is always an opportunity to learn something new about the commercial real estate industry.