Employee Spotlight: Megan Koren
Cresa is committed to building an inclusive workplace that encourages, supports, and celebrates the diverse voices of our employees. Our employee spotlight series gives our team members the opportunity to share their unique experience.
With 15 years of experience, Megan Koren is responsible for analyzing Cresa’s financial results with respect to profits, trends, costs, and compliance with budgets. Working alongside the finance team, she guides the company towards long-term profitability and success. Outside of work, Megan is a force for good, volunteering her time with various organizations that impact the lives of children for the better.
Learn more about Megan in the Q&A below.
What is your name, office, and position at Cresa?
My name is Megan Koren and I currently sit on the HQ team as Vice President, Strategic Initiatives & Operations, though I reside in Phoenix. I’m currently responsible for optimizing and operationalizing corporate goals. With a strong understanding of business processes and financials, I recommend process changes to optimize company performance. I collaborate, cross-functionally, with colleagues representing various Cresa verticals and functional departments to achieve common objectives.
How long have you worked at Cresa?
I started with Cresa in July of 2015. In the 7+ years, I have been part of the team, I have been fortunate enough to have played several roles. Initially, I was the Finance Manager for the Phoenix office. I then moved on to the Corporate Financial Planning and Analysis Manager, the Vice President of Finance, and now I participate in the operations space.
How did you get into the commercial real estate industry?
The beauty of having a Bachelor’s in Finance and an MBA with a specialization in Accountancy is that there are employment opportunities in every industry. Given the type of work I do, I have the luxury of choosing industries that I find interesting. I have worked in agricultural automotive, private aviation, biotechnology and even wine.
It wasn’t until I was introduced to Cresa that I learned about the real estate brokerage space. While I welcomed the opportunity to learn the business aspects of an entirely new industry, I was completely drawn in by the people that I met during the interview process. I had the unique opportunity to interview with Gary Gregg and Scott Maxwell and knew I couldn’t pass up the chance to work with such intelligent, driven and successful entrepreneurs.
Why are you passionate about what you do?
Simply put, I love my team, everything I do at Cresa aims to make their job easier, even when change looks difficult.
What organization(s) are you currently involved with?
Phoenix Children’s Hospital (PCH) – Animal Assisted Therapy
PCH “provides an Animal-Assisted Therapy (AAT) Program to patients and their families for therapeutic purposes. Scientific research has shown a patient's interaction with an animal can provide positive physical and emotional benefits. It can reduce stress levels and invoke a sense of well-being. AAT acts as a catalyst to motivate patients to help themselves. Among the benefits of animal-assisted therapy are the ways it motivates children to:
- Get up, move, walk, leave their room and play
- Participate in therapy (physical, occupational and speech)
- Forget their discomfort or pain for a while
- Interact more with others
- Improve their mood
- Improve their interactions with family and staff
- Do things that may be a struggle such as eating, taking medication, or simply being idle
Missions of Hope International (MOHI)
“Missions of Hope International (MOHI) is a Christ-centered, non-governmental organization that serves orphaned and vulnerable children, their families and others in the Mathare Valley slums of Nairobi and other disadvantaged communities throughout Kenya. MOHI’s goal is to alleviate the effects of extreme poverty by empowering individuals to transform their families and communities.
To fulfill its mission, MOHI administers holistic resource centers that provide education, basic health care, vocational skills training, microfinance loans, counseling and other services. MOHI collaborates with churches and other organizations to accomplish individual and community transformation. Want to get involved? Commit to transforming lives by sponsoring a child or donating to support a MOHI project”
Court Appointed Special Advocates for Children, Maricopa County (CASA)
The CASA of Maricopa County program mobilizes court-appointed volunteers to provide critical advocacy for child victims of life-threatening abuse, neglect or abandonment. This best-interest advocacy opportunity within Maricopa County's juvenile court is a shining example of how ordinary individuals can make an extraordinary impact in the lives of children living in foster care.
Each volunteer is appointed by a judge to guide one child or one set of siblings through the system to safe, permanent homes as quickly as possible. CASA volunteers research records and monitor the progress of the child and family throughout a dependency case and advocate for the child’s current and future needs in court, in school, and in agency meetings. A CASA volunteer’s independent evaluation allows the court to make better-informed decisions. Because CASA volunteers serve on one case at a time, they truly get to know each child and can give each case the sustained, personal attention it deserves.
How did you become involved with this organization?
Before being introduced to Cresa, I had initially applied for an employment opportunity at PCH, I loved the idea of working for an organization that “provided for the greater good”. When that opportunity didn’t materialize, I knew that I still had an insatiable desire to be a part of the organization in some capacity; the work they do for children and their families in such bleak and alarming situations is unparalleled. When I learned of the possibility to work with therapy dogs and kids, together, I couldn’t apply fast enough. Who wouldn’t want to take puppies around to sick/injured kiddos to make them feel better? For the last 4 years, my visits to the hospital have been the highlight of my week.
I first learned of MOHI through my church, Lincoln Heights Christian Church, during a sponsorship drive for the children that MOHI supports. I started sponsoring a child and, between letters and texts via their mobile application, communicated with him over the course of three years. When provided with the opportunity to travel to Kenya to meet Geoffrey in person, and to take 500+ children out of the slums (some for the first time in their lives) out on educational field trips, I knew I couldn’t pass on it. The trip I made to Kenya has been the most incredible, impactful experience of my life to date. Despite the conditions of their upbringing, the children are full of joy, love, respect, and appreciation for life. I came home looking at life through a different lens.
I learned about the CASA program through Sarah Wager-Rice. She was aware of some of the challenges I have faced in my life, and of the work, I did with PCH and MOHI, and suggested I look into the program. I couldn’t be more grateful for her suggestion! It’s been a very intense, very lengthy, process but having the chance to be the voice of a child who has been lost in “the system”, and maybe losing hope, is the drive behind my motivation to participate, regardless of the challenges.
Why is their mission important to you?
Each of these organizations aims to better the lives of children facing serious struggles whether it be emotionally, socially, spiritually or financially; organizations that typically care more about altruism than financial gain, which I relate to deeply. Every child deserves a fighting chance at a healthy, successful, meaningful life and all three of these organizations strive to help them achieve that. If I can help make a positive impact in just one child’s life as a participant in these programs, I will be fulfilled.
What has your involvement with this organization taught you?
If nothing else, the children I’ve met through PCH, MOHI and CASA have taught me about resilience. The ability these kids have to be positive and strong in the face of illness, poverty and adversity is overwhelmingly impressive. We should all take a page from their book!
How can other people get involved?
To learn more about being a PCH Volunteer, click here.
To learn more about volunteering with CASA, click here.