Sponsor Spotlight: Kramon & Graham

December 1, 2020
Why did you join CREWBaltimore? What makes CREWBaltimore different?
Cynthia Berman (CAB): I joined to meet and work with women in commercial real estate. It is different from other real estate associations because of the focus on multidisciplinary membership and its support of women in the industry.
Erin Guiffre (ERG): CREWBaltimore gives me the opportunity to work with other industry professionals with different viewpoints. I enjoy the exchange of new ideas and different outlooks.
Callie Tucker (CJT): I joined CREWBaltimore to network with other women in the industry. CREW empowers women to connect and utilize resources, including other members, to accomplish goals and to be better in our respective professions.
Jillian Bokey (JJB): I joined CREWBaltimore at the recommendation of my colleagues in order to meet and network with other women in commercial real estate. While establishing relationships with other attorneys is important, I find it to be extremely beneficial to foster relationships with other professionals in the commercial real estate industry.


How long have you been a CREWBaltimore member / member company?
CAB: I joined CREWBaltimore in 1986. Kramon & Graham has been a sponsor since 2000 when I joined the firm.
ERG: I officially joined CREWBaltimore in 2017, but have been going to various events as a guest since 2008.
CJT: I joined CREWBaltimore in 2017. I transferred my membership from CREW St. Louis, where I had previously been a member for several years.
JJB: I joined CREWBaltimore this year. While it has been a difficult and unprecedented year, I appreciate CREWBaltimore's outreach to its members to keep us all engaged.


In 2-3 sentences, what do you want CREWBaltimore members to know about your company?
Kramon & Graham is committed to learning about its clients, understanding their needs, and tailoring our representation of them accordingly. We have a wealth of experience in both transactions and litigation. We have worked on behalf of small businesses, institutions, and individuals representing all of the disciplines of the real estate industry that comprise CREW's membership.


Which CREWBaltimore event have you most enjoyed in the past year and why?
CAB: I always enjoy project tours. They are a great way to see creative developments and to network with CREW members.
ERG: I appreciate CREW making so many virtual events available this past year. I found the virtual conversation and other information on rent abatement and other issues related to COVID-19 to be insightful and timely.
CJT: I appreciate the holiday luncheon. It is great to see the large group, to reconnect with old acquaintances, and to make new connections.
JJB: I am looking forward to taking part in upcoming virtual events and webinars.


Best weekend activity in Baltimore?
CAB: Dog walking on the local hike and bike trails and Raven's football.
ERG: I have two young boys. We love Fleet Week and any other opportunities to see boats and planes!
CJT: A farmer's market trip and dinner at (or carried out from) a local restaurant.
JJB: Trip to the zoo!


What are the benefits of women supporting women in the CRE industry?
CAB: Women are practical thinkers, responsive, smart, reliable; in short women bring every talent and skill necessary to have a successful, on time, under budget project. Women should be 50% (at least) of every project team.
ERG: While any and all support is important, there is a special understanding that women share in the industry. CREW makes it easy for us to connect with and advocate for each other.
CJT: More support is always better! I appreciate feeling like I can reach out to my CREW colleagues and be confident that they are ready to help, knowing that I would reciprocate.
JJB: I think it is important for women to lift each other up professionally and personally. It should not be surprising that women face different challenges professionally and also approach professional matters in different ways than our male counterparts. I appreciate the opportunity to network with other women in this highly competitive industry.


Best book or article you’ve read that had you fired up to take on the day/week/year at work?
CAB: I recently read The Journey of Not Knowing; How 21st Century Leaders Can Chart a Course Where There is None by Julie Benezet, a long time CREW member and friend. She describes her adventures as Amazon's first head of global real estate and provides leadership training for challenging times in an accessible, useful, and motivating way. I highly recommend it.
ERG: With two young boys at home and a full practice, it's hard to find a good chunk of time to read. Generally I unwind with a good Netflix movie or series. I have a long list of books that I am looking forward to reading when I get the time though!
CJT: Becoming, by Michelle Obama. Her passion and drive are inspirational.
JJB: I recently started Thrive, by Arianna Huffington, and am enjoying her perspective on how to find balance in your life in order to have continued personal and professional success.


Which CREWBaltimore event are you most excited about this year [2021]?
CAB: I joined the Foundation Zoom cooking event from the CREW Network Convention. It was really fun and resulted in an excellent dinner. I'm looking forward to being able to have in person events again in 2021.
ERG: I'm looking forward to Return of the Economist: COVID-19 and Post-Election Economic Update with Anirban Basu in November.
CJT: I am looking forward to the November Post-Election Economic Update.
JJB: I'm looking forward to smaller, virtual meetings during which I may be able to introduce myself to this group.


Tell us about a project, program or initiative that your company will be working on in 2021.
CAB: We made a smooth transition to remote working in March or, as our IT folks describe it, "converting to 60 remote offices." Going forward we will be thinking strategically about how to manage more remote work while retaining and building our firm culture in a post-Covid world.
ERG: Kramon & Graham has dramatically increased its range of acquisitions and dispositions, leasing, and financing into a national market. We are working on a number of deals for our clients outside of the Maryland market. It's an exciting time for them and for us. It has also been enlightening to spread out to more remote work due to the COVID-19 pandemic. I think this will present a lot of opportunities especially for woman to stay involved with their companies, networking events, and projects while balancing family obligations now and in the future.
CJT: Kramon & Graham values diversity and inclusion. The firm implemented new policies in 2020 to that effect, and it is affirmatively looking for ways to strengthen our commitment to excellence in this area.
JJB: 2020 has presented a lot of challenges, but our firm has worked tirelessly to keep our practice moving forward in a time of so much uncertainty. We have been able to remain client-focused and we continue to produce outstanding results for our clients.

Answers provided by Cynthia Berman, Erin Guiffre, Callie Tucker, Jillian Bokey, all with Kramon & Graham