Rachel Rouse, interiors practice leader in HOK’s Dallas office, works with local high school students to introduce them to the architecture, design and development world through the Dallas chapter of Commercial Real Estate Women’s (CREW) mock development program.
The CREW: Careers Building Opportunities program gives teenage girls the opportunity to explore career paths through a one-day competition. Students are divided into teams, working collaboratively with a design or development professional who advises them throughout the competition process. Leading up to development day, students have the opportunity to participate in events including speakers, work sessions and tours of significant Dallas-area projects under development—including the Trammell Crow Center renovation designed by HOK. Eight high schools across the Dallas Independent School District (DISD) participated in the winter 2018 event.
As the co-chair for the 2018 event and chair of the 2019 program, Rouse has experienced firsthand the impact the organization has on the more than 60 students who participate each year.
“The confidence that builds in the girls who participate is inspiring,” said Rouse. “They’re gaining valuable skills, learning to collaborate across disciplines, think strategically and hone their presentation skills. They surprise themselves with the aspects of the competition they enjoy.”
Ten years ago, the Dallas chapter became the first to implement this mock development program. Since then, it has quickly become the model for other CREW chapters across the nation looking to encourage young women to pursue careers in the AEC industry.
“For many of these girls, it’s their first exposure to commercial real estate, architecture and design,” said Rouse. “This experience broadens their horizons and communicates the vast career opportunities available to them in our industry.”