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Ten from IREM Named as Women of Influence for 2019

July 10, 2019 | IREM

Photo: iStock.com/piranka

Nine CPM Members from the U.S. and Canada plus IREM’s CEO were named by Globe St. and Real Estate Forum as 2019 Women of Influence. Representing five different categories, these outstanding women were recognized as innovators, business professionals, property managers, advisors, and humanitarians.  

These are our winners and their stories.

Innovator of the Year

Cheryl Gray, CPM
IREM President-Elect
QuadReal Property Group
Toronto

Cheryl has been at the forefront of property technology, or Proptech, from inception. Among the innovations she’s leveraged in her work with real estate owners and managers are smart building technologies, sustainability initiatives, artificial intelligence, and improving the tenant experience. Cheryl’s work is proving that applying emerging technologies to real estate management improves the experience for residents and tenants while helping property managers manage their assets more easily and efficiently. Staying on the cutting edge of new technologies and sharing her knowledge, Cheryl elevates her company and the real estate management industry.

Independent/Non-Business Professionals of the Year

Debbie Phillips, Ph.D., CPM
IREM Instructor
The Quadrillion
Stockbridge, Ga.

Debbie has many accolades to her name, but her proudest achievement is starting real estate programs at the University of Georgia and Georgia Tech. Known as a “woman who continues to change the world of real estate by touching the lives of our future and current leaders,” Dr. Phillips has taught more than 10,000 students in her courses at the University of Georgia, Georgia Tech and technical schools across the state, and has helped place hundreds of her students in real estate jobs. “Dr. Phillips is the quintessential professional who balances accountability, motivation and inspiration that forever touches the lives of students,” says Jerry Warshaw, president of Warshaw Properties. “She frequently assists students and those just entering the industry by helping them obtain internships, serving as a career coach and providing them with networking opportunities. She encourages industry professionals to pursue their dreams through mentoring and career counseling, and touches more lives in a positive way in a day than most of us wish we could in a year!”

Denise Froemming, CAE, MBA, CPA
IREM Chief Executive Officer and Executive Vice President
Chicago

Women continue to struggle with gender discrimination when it comes to pay and professional opportunities in the real estate industry. Denise notes that IREM is actively addressing gender issues and is taking steps to advocate for women. Indeed, 59 percent of IREM’s approved CPM Members and 71 percent of those who earned the approved ARM certification last year were women. She also points out that the organization continues to work with its diversity advisory board to provide opportunities to women interested in real estate careers. With education, mentoring and networking, more women can find opportunities through IREM headquarters and its chapters nationally and internationally. Her commitment to advancing the real estate management profession, breaking down barriers and encouraging talent development from every corner distinguishes Denise as an industry champion.

Property/Facility Managers of the Year

Renee Savage, CPM, CCIM
IREM Senior Vice President
Capital Growth Properties, Inc., AMO
La Jolla, Calif.

To find and engage young talent, in 2008 Renee started reaching out to students in San Diego. At that time college students were not considering real estate management careers. Her goal was to engage students and spark interest in this evolving career choice. Now Renee works with students at the University of San Diego’s Burnham Moore Center for Real Estate, serving as a mentor in its real estate mentorship program and as an instructor of real estate management classes in its graduate program. Renee’s work proves there are opportunities to engage the next generation of real estate professionals in an academic setting.

Libby Ekre, CPM
IREM Executive Committee Member
MEB Management Services, AMO
Phoenix

To achieve maximum employee productivity at her company, Libby introduced ProScan, a behavioral screen that reveals the talents, stressors and behaviors of each individual. With the knowledge gleaned from this tool, Libby can better match employees to the right positions at MEB. By placing the right person in the right job, her company can realize the full potential and talents of each individual while maximizing value for clients and residents. “If you focus on the people, the numbers will come,” says Libby.

Tracey Johnson, CPM
Colliers International, AMO
Sacramento, Calif.

Tracey has extensive experience managing Class-A office, multi-tenant investment office buildings, emergency operations centers and warehouse properties. She’s a consummate project manager with experience managing building security, maintenance engineers and building operations for maximum efficiency.

Tessie Nolan, CPM
Granite Properties
Plano, Texas

Tessie leads property operations with teams in Dallas, Houston, Atlanta, Denver and Southern California. Her oversight of more than 90 real estate management and engineering professionals brings award-winning service and market-leading efficiency to clients.

Patricia Wolf, CPM
Commercial Real Estate Services, Inc.
St. Paul, Minn.

As president of Commercial Real Estate Services, Inc., Pat has been active in the downtown St. Paul real estate market since 1978. Commercial Real Estate Services, Inc. is a company she founded in 1990 to bring high quality management and leasing services to property owners in the St. Paul area.

CRE Consultant/Advisor of the Year

Jana Turner, CPM
RETS Associates
Newport Beach, Calif.

Jana thrives on networking with the diverse talent in the real estate industry. She has a passion for mentoring and especially loves guiding women in real estate to success. As an avid industry speaker, she focuses on topics like leadership, hiring tips and tricks, and personal branding.

Humanitarian of the Year

Karen Whitt, CPM
Colliers International, AMO
Washington D.C.

Karen is active in the real estate community through multiple organizations including IREM, CREW, and BOMA. She’s a founding member of the Industry Advisory Board for Virginia Tech’s Program in Real Estate and helps prepare college students for careers in real estate.
In the spirit of promoting diversity and a more inclusive future, these awards acknowledge noteworthy contributions that move our industry forward. But, above all, this year’s winners are dedicated to advancing women in the industry and elevating the real estate management profession—they’re breaking new ground and leading the way for those to come.

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