Debbie Swearingen is approaching the midway point of her tenure as 2018 president of CREW KC, an organization that works to advance the success of women in commercial real estate. The VP of commercial banking for Community America Credit Union updated MetroWire Media on key initiatives and the year so far.
MWM: What kind of changes are taking place at CREW KC on your watch?
Swearingen: This year we did a true strategic plan. In our first meeting, we talked about vision and where we wanted the organization to go. We are focusing on four main areas of programming, membership, communications, and community connections.
MWM: How are you changing CREW KC programming?
Swearingen: We want to resonate in the industry with great programs that bring value to our members but also support our community. In April, our quarterly luncheon covered development and history around the Troost corridor, so we are holding programs that elevate what our community is about by looking at our history, present day and future.
MWM: CREW KC is typically viewed as a networking organization for women. How do you see that changing?
Swearingen: Another goal for this year is to build and retain a diverse membership with an emphasis on key decision makers. We are working to increase diversity by gender, age and race while growing our presence throughout the community. A lot of people don't know what we are all about so we are working to improve our branding and become more well known in the community.
MWM: How do you measure success?
Swearingen: One of our strategic goals for this year is to build meaningful and purposeful relationships, both personal and professional. Being a member of CREW KC isn't necessarily about the business you get but also about personal growth and building relationships. That's important for achieving balance.
MWM: What do you hope people remember about your year as CREW KC president?
Swearingen: I wanted to put the fun back into CREW so we also remember what we are here for. When you do that, business comes. We've added lot of new activities for members and prospective members, including taking a party bus to FunkyTown, networking at Chicken N Pickle and a casino night hosted by BHC Rhodes for recruiting new members. We're doing things a bit differently to get to know people on a more personal level.