Women are increasingly making their mark in the commercial real estate industry, traditionally a male-dominated field. As the industry continues to evolve and become more diverse, women are emerging as leaders, taking on key roles and making significant contributions to the sector.
In recent years, there has been a growing recognition of the importance of gender diversity in business, and the commercial real estate industry is no exception. Companies are now actively seeking to increase the number of women in leadership positions and create more inclusive workplaces.
As a result, women are now being appointed to senior roles in commercial real estate firms, including as CEOs, managing directors, and heads of departments. They are also playing a significant role in shaping the industry, driving innovation and pushing for more sustainable practices.
The rise of women in commercial real estate is not only a positive development for gender equality, but it is also good for business. Studies have shown that companies with more diverse leadership teams tend to perform better and have higher levels of innovation and creativity.
However, despite the progress that has been made, there is still a long way to go to achieve true gender parity in the industry. Women still face significant barriers to entry, including bias, discrimination, and lack of representation in senior positions.
To address these issues, there are a number of initiatives underway to support women in commercial real estate. For example, some firms are offering mentorship programs and leadership development opportunities specifically for women. Others are partnering with organizations that support women in business, such as Women in Real Estate (WIRE) and Commercial Real Estate Women (CREW).
Overall, the emergence of women as leaders in the commercial real estate space is a positive trend that is set to continue. As the industry evolves and becomes more diverse, women will play an increasingly important role in shaping its future direction and driving its success.
One such leader setting a benchmark in the industry is Karen Simon, President and Managing Partner at Emersons Commercial Real Estate.
Featuring for The Enterprise World’s this issue of Enterprising Women of the Year is Karen Simon story.
Karen Simon- Journey of the Leader
Karen Simon, the Managing Partner of Emerson’s Commercial Real Estate completed her master’s degree from Texas Christian University and taught in a community college. . When the options for diversifying her career mobility seemed to have shrunk due to family obligations, Simons accepted a position at the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), a federal government agency.
At HUD, Karen Simon served as the Executive Director for Intergovernmental Relations and Public Affairs, where Karen Simon was responsible for managing all public relations efforts and government relationships for a five-state area including Texas, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Louisiana, and Arkansas.
Her experience at HUD provided valuable skills that Karen Simon has since applied to her current role as the Managing Partner at Emerson’s Commercial Real Estate.
“As a leader in the industry, I recognize the importance of creating diverse and inclusive workplaces that support and elevate all employees, regardless of their gender or background.”
Overall, Karen’s career journey reflects the challenges that many women face when trying to advance their careers while balancing family responsibilities.
“However, with perseverance and a willingness to explore alternative paths, I was able to overcome these obstacles and establish a successful career in commercial real estate”, adds Karen.
Karen Simon held the position at HUD for about four years, during which time Karen Simon came across a piece of information that changed her career and took it to new heights.
“I came across information that highlighted the possibility of obtaining a real estate broker’s license without a salesperson’s license, provided the individual attained the necessary certification within a year”, says Karen.
To qualify for the broker’s exam, Karen Simon had to submit her transcripts with a minimum of 60 semester hours of real estate-related coursework. Despite a busy schedule, Karen Simon completed the required coursework, took the exam and passed it.
“Obtaining a broker’s license opened up new possibilities for me in the real estate industry.”
Shortly after this, Karen Simon was introduced to the Head of the Industrial and Land Division at the Henry S. Miller Company. It was a well-renowned, and also the fifth-largest company in the United States and also the largest in the state of Texas in 1982. The firm offered Karen a highly attractive position to spearhead their industrial and land division in Fort Worth, Texas.
Prior to starting in this role, the company provided Karen Simon with the opportunity to take courses in industrial real estate, which Karen Simon completed before commencing her new position.
“I remained with Miller for six years and was recognized as the highest producing industrial realtor within the organization for five of those years.”, says Karen
During her time at Miller, Karen Simon made history as the first female industrial realtor in the Dallas Fort Worth area. This experience served as a springboard for her career, which has since expanded beyond industrial real estate to encompass office, retail, and land transactions as well.
Overcoming the Challenges
As a woman in the industrial real estate industry, Karen Simon faced several challenges when Karen Simon began her career in 1982. In 1983, Karen Simon became the first female to head a commercial department within the Henry S. Miller Company, and also the first female to be in the industrial real estate business in the Dallas Fort Worth area.
While more women have followed in my footsteps over time, there are still fewer women in the industry compared to men.
Leading with Example
An individual’s proficiency in their area of expertise is crucial to their success. It requires a commitment to ongoing education and a willingness to exert significant effort. It is also important for leaders to admit when they lack knowledge on a subject and take the necessary steps to educate themselves rather than providing a response that does not adequately address the inquiry. The practice of constantly seeking knowledge and being honest about one’s limitations is integral to building trust and credibility within one’s field.
“Although I was the first woman in my field, I found inspiration in the achievements of women in other professions. Women practicing law or pursuing legal education, as well as female doctors and politicians, were sources of motivation for me. I looked up to women such as Golda Meir, the former Israeli Prime Minister, Eleanor Roosevelt, and many other women. These women have faced significant challenges in their respective fields, yet they have managed to succeed, and I found their stories to be inspiring.”, says Karen Simon.
Emersons Commercial Real Estate
Emersons Commercial Real Estate is a Dallas-based real estate management company founded by Richard Webb, a banker with a background in real estate, and Matt Price, a CPA with a background in real estate. The company specializes in providing professional property management services to owners, developers, and 1031 — Tenant in Common investors.
The team of real estate professionals at Emersons Commercial Real Estate is committed to delivering the benefits of an in-house real estate management operation without the typical overhead, expense, and issues associated with employing a full-time staff.
The company’s experienced team offers a range of services, including property management, construction management, accounting and finance. By drawing upon their collective expertise, they can navigate the complexities of modern property acquisition, ownership, and management. This allows them to provide tailored solutions that meet the unique needs of their clients, regardless of their size, type, or location.
At Emersons Commercial Real Estate, their team understands that effective real estate management requires a hands-on approach. They are committed to providing personalized, proactive, and cost-effective solutions that help their clients achieve their goals. This includes identifying opportunities to maximize revenue, minimize expenses, and enhance the value of their properties over time.
One of the key advantages of working with Emersons Commercial Real Estate is their commitment to staying ahead of the curve. They understand that the real estate market is constantly evolving and that it takes continuous learning and innovation to remain competitive. As a result, they invest heavily in their team, ensuring that they have access to the latest industry knowledge, tools, and technology. This enables them to provide the most effective and efficient solutions to their clients.
In addition to their dedication to their clients, Emersons Commercial Real Estate is also committed to giving back to the community. They believe that strong communities are built on a foundation of active and engaged citizens. To that end, they support a variety of local organizations and causes that promote the well-being of the communities they serve.
Emersons Commercial Real Estate has a proven track record of success in managing a wide range of properties, from industrial facilities to retail centers, office buildings, and beyond. Their portfolio includes properties across the United States, and their team has the expertise to manage properties of any size, type, or complexity.
In conclusion, Emersons Commercial Real Estate is a top-tier real estate management company dedicated to delivering personalized and cost-effective solutions to their clients. Their team of experienced professionals has the knowledge, tools, and technology needed to manage properties of any size, type, or complexity. With a commitment to staying ahead of the curve and giving back to the community, they are a valuable partner for any property owner or investor looking to maximize their returns and minimize their risks.
The Journey of the Company
Emersons Commercial Real Estate has experienced impressive growth throughout its 15+ years of operation, despite facing numerous obstacles along the way. In its early years, the company struggled to establish relationships with clients, build a loyal customer base, and keep pace with the evolving standards and services in the industry.
However, Emersons Commercial Real Estate overcame these challenges and not only achieved success, but also expanded its operations by establishing offices in several cities, including Oklahoma City and Fort Worth as well as representation in many cities through its partnership in 1045, a management company founded in 2019. By staying ahead of market demands and client expectations, the company has earned a reputation as a respected leader in the industry.
The COVID-19 pandemic presented a significant challenge for the company, particularly due to the decline in office and retail leasing and sales. As a result, the management team had to work with tenants who were struggling to pay their rent, resulting in increased costs for the company.
Nonetheless, Emersons Commercial Real Estate remained committed to supporting both its clients and its own growth during this difficult time. Through its exceptional range of services and dedication to excellence, the company emerged from these challenges as a true industry leader, recognized for its accomplishments and respected by its peers.