The Path to Leadership: The Journey is More Important than the Destination…

karrie westphal leadershipBy Karrie Westphal, Executive Director of Commercial Real Estate Women of Atlanta (CREW Atlanta)

The path to a Leadership role in CREW Atlanta should be a journey…not a destination.

I recently read an article explaining the difference between the two.  The path as a destination is to achieve some level of proficiency or stature in your chosen field of work.  The path as a journey is to experience work from a variety of perspectives in your field.

To become a Leader in CREW Atlanta, whether as a Chair of a Committee, Board Member or President, your path should be a journey through CREW.  Experience all that CREW Atlanta has to offer!  Don’t pigeon-hole yourself into one committee year after year, but rather delve into the full experience.

Every year, CREW Atlanta offers Leadership roles and continually creates new opportunities.  We are getting better each year with spreading the word.  Did you fill out the survey in 2015 and 2016 asking for your interest in a Committee or Board role?  Have you talked to a current Leader in CREW about the path and how to get there?

Several of our Board members, both past and present, have served on multiple committees, are alumni of CREW Atlanta’s Leadership program, and are very passionate about the organization.  Becoming CREW President isn’t necessarily a bucket list item or a resume enhancer to them.  They truly have a vested interest in making CREW Atlanta the best organization to join.  They all have a story to tell about how CREW Atlanta helped them personally or professionally to succeed.   Ask them, they would love to meet you and share their story!

While on your journey to Leadership, why not build relationships and enhance your personal development?  CREW is an organization that encourages member-to-member business.  Our mission statement is to influence the success of the commercial real estate industry by advancing the achievements of women.   Make it a point to meet three new people at each event.  Ask a member or a Leader in CREW if you can get together for coffee.  Pick up the phone and call any CREW Atlanta member, or even a member of another chapter, and you will find that they are happy to help you in any way they can.  Is your CREWBiz profile up-to-date and completed?  Do you have a photo posted?  Make it easy for another member to reach out to YOU.

Serving on a committee in CREW benefits the organization, but it also showcases the way you interact with others and your work ethic.   Committee Chairs look at your skills and how you handle assigned roles.  When opportunities arise to fill leadership positions, we ask Chairs and Board Members who they recommend.  If you are dependable and consistently shine, your name will be passed around as someone to watch.  Others will think of you first for business opportunities.  Take some time and explore our website to check out what opportunities are available.

We provide several tools to help you get the most out of your CREW experience.  Have you thought about applying for Leadership CREW?  This year-long, nationally award-winning program, which is full of top-notch instructors, has been attended by 17 members who were Past Presidents or went on to become President.  We also have a Mentoring Program and are currently accepting applications for Mentors as well as Proteges.  Share your experience with others!

Do you have a national role within your company?  CREW Atlanta is part of CREW Network, and a portion of your annual dues ensures your membership to both organizations.   More than 9,500 CREW Network members represent nearly every discipline within the industry and are located in over 70 major markets across North America. CREW Network seeks to influence the success of the commercial real estate industry by focusing on fulfilling four key initiatives: business development, leadership development, industry research and career outreach.

Think about joining a national committee, attending a national convention.  There are Leadership opportunities available on a national level within CREW.  Ask how you can get involved.

I would be happy to help you explore further any of the benefits of your CREW membership or the path to Leadership.  Please reach out!


Karrie Westphal

CREW Atlanta Executive Director

2004 CREW Atlanta President

2004 Leadership Alumni

Member Since 1995




Currently serving as Executive Director of Commercial Real Estate Women of Atlanta (CREW Atlanta), Westphal has been very active nationally and in this chapter over the years.   She has sat on several committees locally, including Sponsorship, Awards, the former Compassion In Action galas, The Atlanta Women’s Foundation’s grant-making committee for ‘Women Who Are Homeless’ and nationally, including CREW Network Foundation’s grant-making committee, the national awards program and several ad hoc committees.  Westphal was President of CREW Atlanta in 2004 and also participated in the organization’s Leadership program that same year.  She won CREW Atlanta’s Distinguished Achievement Award in 2006.  Main tasks as Executive Director include strategic planning, event planning and membership retention.

Westphal has 21 years of commercial real estate property management experience with Class A properties in Atlanta.   She worked with CBRE until 2007.  Westphal has been featured many times in the Atlanta Business Chronicle, including ABC’s Power Book for Commercial Real Estate and also the Who’s Who in Commercial Real Estate.

Karrie is also a former member of the Board of Directors for the Ed Isakson/Alpharetta Family YMCA  2009-2011.


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Author: CREW Atlanta

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