Full Content - 2018 Chapter Awards

2018 CoreNet NYC Annual Meeting Chapter Award Winners

October 2018

Following our 2018 CoreNet NYC Annual Meeting, we caught up with our award winners, Daniel Fishbein, Head of Global Real Estate at CIT and Corporate Executive of the Year; Laurie Hutner, Executive Vice President of WB Wood and Service Provider of the Year; and Chris Kelly, Co-Founder, President & CEO of Convene and the Young Leader of the Year. They discussed CoreNet’s effect on their professional lives and shared how they are successfully navigating the commercial real estate industry.


Daniel Fishbein commented that CoreNet is ideal for those who want to understand business trends in a way that makes them ‘big picture’ thinkers that contribute to companies beyond execution of transactions and projects. “I use ideas, information, and contacts gained from CoreNet participation in my job almost every day,” he said. “For example, if I hadn’t didn’t have exposure to workplace strategies being deployed by other CoreNet members I couldn’t have guided my company through a period of rethinking our strategy. CoreNet offers an opportunity to ask my peers how they handled any number of topics such as organizational changes, location decisions, and technology improvements.”

When it comes to professional success and leading as a Corporate Executive, Dan’s advice is to take a step back sometimes and understand the motivations of people with different experiences and objectives. He adds that personally, he has made it a point to observe people who are particularly successful at motivating other people. Looking forward, he understands that the only certainty in life is that things change, and he plans to embrace it. As building design and operation is challenged with growing expectations for vibrant “experiential” work environments, adapting new technologies will be integral to success. For now, Dan has some long-term projects from which results may be three years off, and he says he will always seek projects which are new to him, like the Bank of the Future project his team kicked off several months ago.

“I’m also still a real estate person at heart. Sounds funny, but I’ve always derived great satisfaction from closing a ‘good deal,’ and those will certainly continue. In the more distant future, I’d like to teach college students.”


Laurie Hutner sought out CoreNet in the 90’s when she was looking for organizations that would assist her in networking and gaining further insight into the Real Estate Community. Former CoreNet President Gina Rizzo from Herman Miller advised her that CoreNet would be a great option. The organization has assisted Laurie in learning about her clients’ interests through the many programs that are offered, and in turn, educated her so she can speak eloquently with them. In addition to the programs that CoreNet offers, she was able to meet many contacts that could assist her and that, likewise, she could assist in their careers.

“One of the most memorable experiences I had was volunteering to be a CoreNet Mentor,” she said. “My mentee was literally from a competing firm, but my mentoring was all about assisting her in advancing her career both in stature and compensation. Laurie thinks the Mentoring Committee is a major plus for CoreNet as it truly highlights one of the goals of the organization. Another experience was assisting in the launch and continuation of the New Member reception held every spring.” The event offers new members the opportunity to receive an overview of the NYC Chapter and feel welcomed.

“Assisting people in their careers is part of my DNA, and it truly gives me so much satisfaction to lend my time in helping people advance in their careers and build self-confidence,” she said.

Her advice on making the most of networking organizations like CoreNet is COMMITMENT. The only way for any member of any organization to benefit both the organization and themselves is to volunteer and participate.


Chris Kelly was an industry outsider and just 27 years old when he and his partner Ryan Simonetti started Convene. The idea of doing business with Fortune 500 companies felt very intimidating to him at that time; being a member of CoreNet shrank the corporate real estate industry so it felt like a trusted network of advisors instead of an unapproachable club of big companies.

As an entrepreneur, he believes that where there’s change, there’s opportunity. His connections through CoreNet paired with curiosity, clarity, and ‘GRIT’ enabled him and co-founder Ryan to build Convene from idea to reality.

“Our vision was informed by plotting observable trends into the future and imagining talent-centric workplaces in tenant-centric buildings,” he said. “This led us to paint a very clear picture of what we thought the office building of the future would look like, and we executed that vision through practicing ‘GRIT’, which we define as ‘passion and perseverance in pursuit of long term goals.’ We also honor a commitment to improving the company to be one percent better every day.”

When it comes to continued professional success, Chris has observed that most established businesses are laser focused on short-term results and protecting their existing assets, leaving the door wide open to smaller, faster moving, more open-minded players to own the future. “Build a thesis around where you think the world is headed and position yourself ahead of it,” he said in closing.

A special thank you and congratulations to our exceptional award winners for their continued involvement and commitment to the CoreNet NYC mission.

For more information on learning and volunteer opportunities visit: https://network.corenetglobal.org/newyorkcitytest3/membership/volunteer