Catherine Mini Interviews Wendy Mann, CEO of CREW Network

Wendy Mann is CEO of CREW Network, the leading global business network in commercial real estate (CRE). More than 13,000 members from every discipline in CRE come to CREW Network to advance their careers and professional success.

With 30 years of association management experience, Mann brings a passion for commercial real estate, her strategic vision for the association, and a commitment to mentoring and advancing women to CREW Network. She believes that connecting, collaborating and communicating are key to success in building relationships and creating change within the industry. Mann is dedicated to working collaboratively with like-minded organizations and companies that make diversity and inclusion a priority.

Prior to CREW Network, she served as senior vice president of NAIOP, the Commercial Real Estate Development Association. Mann began her career at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and has worked for a variety of organizations, and both professional and trade associations, including NTCA; The Rural Broadband Association; the Intelligent Transportation Society of America; and the Greater Washington Society of Association Executives.

Connect with Wendy on LinkedIn

Kate has a strong passion and deep well of experience in the Commercial Real Estate Industry. She currently serves as an independent contractor, senior consultant to Akrete Communications headquartered in Evanston, IL. Akrete was recently ranked#3 by O’Dwyer’s in the category of Top PR Firms Specializing in Real Estate Finance & Development in the US. At Akrete, Kate serves primarily as an internal resource, formalizing the work of the newly formed research and analytics team as well as developing team building and learning opportunities for all of Akrete’s excellent team members.

Kate began her career at the Chicago-based Institute of Real Estate Management (IREM) and later joined the National Association of REALTORS (NAR) and its Chicago affiliate, building their global networks and programming divisions. She worked for 12 years in Chicago and Washington DC serving various associations and foundations.

More recently, Kate was the founder of her own boutique consulting firm that helped globally facing clients, including associations, foundations, and civic groups, develop organizational capacity. Kate’s interest in global affairs began early when she interned for a Member of the British Parliament at the House of Commons in London, England. Her curiosity about other cultures further drew her to seek a better understanding of intercultural communications, diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) as well as entrepreneurship.

Kate is a poised generalist and fast learner,well-versed in analyzing client needs and providing innovative solutions. Like all generalists, she uses her unique variety of skills and experiences to help her client organizations grow. An articulate and curious communicator, Kate is a proven leader, fostering strong relationships with stakeholders across multi-disciplinary functions. She excels at building and maintaining thriving organizational ecosystems. She also loves to conduct research and analyze results to help clients make better decisions. A connector by nature, Kate flourishes when she shares her knowledge and resources with individuals and organizations to exceed their goals and expectations.

From her own life experience, Kate is drawn to the return-to-work and women’s economic development space. She mentors, helping others determine their own unique, deeply personal ways to juggle caretaking commitments while continuing to explore professional aspirations.

Kate earned a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science: International Relations from Northern Illinois University located in DeKalb, Illinois, and a Master of Science in Communications from Northwestern University located in Evanston, Illinois. She also received a certificate in Intercultural Training Methods from the Intercultural Communications Institute at Reed College in Portland, Oregon.

Outside of professional pursuits, Kate enjoys gardening, cooking, reading non-fiction, traveling and spending time with cherished friends and her beloved family of five and dog, Coco.

Connect with Kate on LinkedIn

Interview questions:

Background & Business Questions:

  • Please briefly share your professional background and how it has culminated in you leading the CREW Network.
  • Please share highlights about your upcoming CREW Network Conference in Atlanta.

Business Model Questions:

  • How does being an association help with your mission? How has the association 501c3 foundation helped expand your mandate?
  • The CREW Network does not lobby, but does the organization and its chapters advocate for women- friendly public policy?

CREW Network Value Proposition Questions

  • Talk about how your value proposition impacts your members’ careers and lives.

Growth Strategy Questions:

  • Do you forecast growth for CREW Network this year?If yes, where and what CRE sectors or locales? Please talk about how you’ve operationalized your growth strategy and how your board, team and membership have helped.

Marketplace/Societal Trends Questions:

  • Are seeing firms back away from their DEI commitments recently (as has been reported) and if so, what is your response?
  • What are your thoughts on “Return to Office”? Has CREW Network articulated a policy, or do you have recommendations for companies when creating policies?

Leadership Style Questions:

  • I would be interested to know more about the focus you have placed on intentionality & the quality of your life.
  • More about how you have chosen to spend your time on hobbies and your writing has helped you be a better leader. What’s your secret sauce?

CREW Network is a global organization that advances all women in commercial real estate through business networking, industry research, leadership development, and career outreach.

CREW Network’s mission to advance all women in commercial real estate remains our priority. We are committed to strengthening and expanding diversity, equity, and inclusion throughout our global organization.

CREW Network is a united network of individuals with a culture of inclusion and belonging that inspires engagement, breaks down barriers and accelerates growth and collaboration for our chapters, members, and partners. We believe diverse voices enrich our business connections and drive innovation.

Recent Blogs:

Edwin Warfield, CEO of, conducts CEO Interviews.

If you’re interested in a citybiz CEO Interview, please contact
Edwin Warfield –