A few weeks back I attended a luncheon sponsored by the Bank of Tampa. One of the speakers, Renee Dabbs, stated that women need to Push, Pull, Shove and Catch one another. This is the way we try, stretch, fail and succeed.

Truly, this is the experience for many professional women, who are finding their way in the business world. Their path is strengthened by the mentors, bosses and others they meet along the way.

Commercial Real Estate Women (CREW) is one such organization that provides an environment through which the members can experience a push, pull, shove and a catch. CREW Tampa Bay is one of 52 member organizations that form CREW Network, an international affiliation of roughly 9,000 members in 52 cities in the US and Canada.

Wilkeson AwardAt the CREW Tampa Bay awards ceremony on December 4, 2014, I was present when a dear friend and colleague, Jodi Wilkeson, received the CREW Networking Award for 2014. Jodi collaborated with over 6 CREW members to redesign an office/warehouse building for fellow CREW Orlando member, Sarah Kelly. This award brings full circle an 18 year relationship between CREW Orlando and the then newly- formed CREW Tampa Bay. Sarah was an officer in CREW Orlando, and freely gave her time and insight into helping us launch our organization back in 1997.

This is a pattern that has repeated itself hundreds of times, as women in this network have pushed, pulled, occasionally shoved or caught one another.

Jodi Wilkeson and I have one such relationship. Back in 2000, we worked as architect and landlord’s agent for years, leasing dozens of warehouse spaces as a result of her well-designed office layouts. As life sometimes throws a curve, Jodi made a decision to leave her employer. She called me on a Friday evening and told me what happened. I asked her if she had $1,000. She said of course, why? With $1,000, I told her she could set up shop in one of my offices, get a phone line, print new business cards and she would be in business on Monday! She was pushed out of one situation, then pulled into another. Wilkeson Design Associates is celebrating its 14th year and has won not only the CREW Tampa Bay Networking Award for 2014, but a CREW National Networking Award in 2004.

I borrowed Renee Dabbs’ motto as my own, years ago, without even knowing it. Thank you, Renee, for appropriately articulating this idea.