Gail Ayers is CEO of Commercial Real Estate Women (CREW) Network.

There are mixed reports that we are on the cusp of an economic recovery, and I believe that what will get us over the edge is the strength of individual and collective leadership. Nowhere is this more evident than for women in commercial real estate.

The economic circumstances today have created opportunities for women to make the field more diverse, but it will require fortitude, mentoring and a certain amount of “stepping up to the plate.”

Working with our excellent partner, Studley, CREW Network has throughout the year been offering training to our members through the 2010 Leadership Series. The program has several subsets:

• University Series: A series of calls and panels that focused on the refinement of professional content in commercial real estate through the use of credible university professors in specialties that impact many of our members
• Local Chapter Leadership: Training sessions focused on skills associated with leading a CREW chapter; using proven leaders who could help potential and current committee chairman strengthen their abilities. We believe that chapter leadership is excellent training for leading teams in the workplace
• Industry Associations: In the fall, CREW will begin a series of webinars and calls with other associations within commercial real estate. It is critical to share knowledge, insight and skills with our industry partners, if we are to develop a truly integrated, diverse universe of commercial real estate

This is a truly cross platform effort throughout CREW and the entire industry, with a very clear goal and mission – develop leadership skills that are necessary to further lift the economy out of the recession and be ready to seize and maximize every opportunity when conditions truly improve.

Gail Ayers is CEO of Commercial Real Estate Women (CREW) Network.