What’s Your Red Key?

By Wendy Mann posted Jun 27, 2018 08:25 AM


I was a little girl when I learned my first lessons about selling, team work and community. I couldn’t wait to get my brown shirt, sash and beanie. I was going to be a Brownie in the Girls Scouts. Besides selling cookies, my desire to earn badges was fierce. I didn’t really understand the value of the lessons that were taught through badges – I was more focused on achievement at the time. The Brownies were the first step in my Girl Scout career, I went on to become a Junior, then a Cadette – the highest level in girl scouting. These many years later, I still recall learning to work as a team to set up a campsite. I remember the admiration and respect I had for my troop leaders. We learned leadership lessons – how to compromise, share KP duties and support one another. I warm at the memory of sitting around a campfire with my community of Girl Scouts. Now I know that these experiences helped build character, integrity and leadership, instilling at a young age the tools essential for future success.

This past week in Cleveland at our Spring Leadership Summit, I had that same sense of teamwork and community. And more importantly, the energy and excitement of our members as they embarked on a learning journey. I was thinking about how our past informs our future and how we lay the foundation for our success by earning “badges” or learning key lessons in leadership. Our members are building something together that is priceless – a community of women leaders in commercial real estate. We strengthened an already strong bond and made a commitment to continue building the leadership skills, partnerships and community that are essential for our success.

CREW Network CEO Wendy Mann and KeyBank Chariman and CEO Beth Mooney
My fireside chat with Beth Mooney.

Our exceptional week started with a fireside chat between myself and KeyBank Chairman and CEO Beth Mooney. KeyBank is a program sponsor and partner of CREW Network for our Leadership Certificate Program. Beth provided sage advice and thoughtful perspective. She shared the story of her career journey, acknowledging the leaders who were instrumental in influencing her success. KeyBank, under Beth’s leadership, is committed to diversity and inclusion, which she spoke about eloquently. Externally, KeyBank is dedicated to building community and partnering in communities. The Red Key is a symbol of the bank as well as their success as a business partner, an employer and a community leader.

CREW Network Leadership Certificate Program reception
Leadership Certificate participants and our KeyBank guests applauding Beth Mooney.

CREW Network and KeyBank Reception with CEO Beth Mooney
Members of the KeyBank Cleveland staff in attendance, including Angela Mago (at left).

As I reflect on the week, I believe there are several keys to CREW Network’s success as well. We’ve earned some badges of honor this week, by focusing on the keys to leadership. 

Key 1:  Executive Leadership Presence

Participants in the CREW Network Leadership Certificate Program learned the key elements for executive presence in a board room, a presentation or a team meeting. They learned key elements of storytelling (Observe, Think, Feel, Want) and how to leverage it as part of their leadership. 

Key 2:  Chapter Leadership

A lively day-long session about the value of volunteering, engaging volunteers and creating programs that are compelling. The key to building a strong chapter is creating a community that meets three hot button needs: Meeting, Learning and Helping. 

Key 3: Leveraging Conflict

This instructor led session provided the key elements of a Productive Conflict Workout. Leaders must use mindset going into a conflict, put aside assumptions and understand the other stakeholders point of view. These steps enable leaders to make conflict productive rather than destructive. 

What is your Red Key? What is the badge that you’ll wear proudly? Find your key, earn your badge and join our leaders in building our fantastic community. We have so much momentum following the Summit, I see our growing community flourishing. Become part of it!


1 comment



Jun 27, 2018 04:00 PM

Thank you Wendy for a clear,concise and very well told story on what we learned  at our CREW Network Spring Leadership Summit in Cleveland.  Now we all are headed out to practice these keys to success in growing in our leadership skills and growing our chapters.  It is invigorating to be with such powerful women and to learn from leaders like Beth Mooney.  Thanks again to Key Bank for making such a great commitment to CREW Network and the Certificate Leadership Program and the very warm welcome from CREW Cleveland!  A  beautiful city indeed!