The real estate sector is putting aside what it views as cyclical obstacles, such as increasing interest rates, a shrinking GDP, and diminishing transaction flow, and is instead adopting a long-term perspective on real estate assets. Their strategy was to weather the present downturn while repositioning their businesses for another time of steady growth and high profits.
For an industry ever-changing and dynamic, a leader needs to be one with the same dynamic spark and innovative spirit. Since 1983, Karen Simon has worked in the commercial real estate industry as the President and Managing Partner of Emersons Commercial Real Estate-Tarrant County Division. Throughout her professional career, Karen has been motivated by the desire to see women recognized as having a place in commercial and industrial real estate.
Today, Karen is respected throughout the real estate industry for her outstanding leadership abilities to support the professional development and commercial success of her customers, staff, and agents.
A Glance at Real Estate
Growing environmental consciousness in recent years has increased attention on real estate assets that may support urban population demands while permitting green lung areas for leisure and well-being/health objectives. Zen is a way of life that emphasizes finding oneself in nature and practicing mindfulness. These goals may be met by designing places surrounded by nature and animals and fostering harmony with their environment.
Conversing with Karen Simon, these very trends, changes, and concerns were discussed. The thoughts, opinions, and stories put forward by Karen prove how she has the real estate industry at the back of her hand. A business leader confident enough to change her work ethic and techniques to grow her own business. To be the First Female Industrial Realtor in Dallas and Tarrant County and consistently growing- personally and professionally is a huge achievement and Karen Simon proudly wears that crown.
Q. As a realtor, what do you think are things one should always keep in mind?
I think you need to keep in mind that you are working in the service industry. It runs and functions on whether you can provide what you promise. A client’s needs need to come first always. You need to recognize that you are always answerable to the client; and when in case you don’t know the answer, you are to research and deliver those answers.
It is very definitely a service industry right to its core. If a client needs to visit a property that is beyond regular business hours, you are to figure out a way to acknowledge that and get it handled.
Q. Would you describe your role at Emersons Commercial Real Estate in detail?
I work as the Managing Partner for Emersons Commercial Real Estate in Tarrant County. My corporate office is situated in Dallas. I manage this office and also maintain my ties with the corporate one in Dallas. It is my job to help generate business and manage personnel.
It is also one of my responsibilities to ensure that agents complete their transactions. I both lead and mentor people. As my career progresses, I take my roles and responsibility more seriously, it is something that comes with having met so many people, mentors, and employees. Part of my challenge is to keep them engaged with activities and to keep up with growth opportunities.
Q. What is your favorite part of working in real estate?
I have been in this industry for more than three decades now. And it is something that both excites me and challenges me; the industry is interesting and dynamic. Every day you step foot in the office, it is different. It is challenging because of that- it changes, adapts, and evolves.
Q. As the world is becoming more and more digitized, do you take the help of any technology in your working techniques?
We do. We try to keep track of deals and transactions that take place through a system. We also feed the system with details of prospects and visiting clients. Technology acts as a good assistance and database when it comes to it.
But really, hard work and diligence are more significant than entering a system. What I mean to say is that no technology or database doesn’t replace the hard work and efforts of a dedicated workforce.
Q. If we go back in time, was working in the real estate industry always on your mind? Or did the idea grow onto you with time?
Oh, I would say it grew onto me. When I look back, I can say I was kind of on the outskirts of the idea of being in the real estate industry. I was in the Department of Housing and Urban Development as the Head of Public Relations and Inter-Government Relations. I worked there for five years, and again, was one of the few women in leadership roles.
One day out of nowhere, I came across this message that said people who are qualified enough can be real estate brokers in the state of Texas. It claimed that if I sit for a broker’s exam, I can get a broker’s license even if it is without any prior experience. If you have the required hours under your belt, you can sit for the exam. While this was beneficial at the time, it was also a conflict of interest for me, as a hard employee to possess a real estate license.
As such, I sent my transcript, I was determined to have the required 3 semester hours. I found out that I could gain those hours if I did 9 classroom hours and sat for an exam which I managed to pass and, in a few days, I had my license. In a few days, I had a broker’s license in hand that no one else had to hold for me.
Fast forward to 6 months, I met someone who was the head of the Industrial and Land Department throughout Texas for the Henry S Miller Company. We discovered through our conversations that I can be a part of the real estate industry as I already had a license. It was then that I became the Head of the Industrial and Land Division for the Henry S Miller Company.
I sort of gravitated to the real estate industry you can say!
Q. Who has been some of your biggest supporters throughout your career?
My husband has always been a big supporter. I have people who have mentored me with my business, and I have a positive relationship with them. Along the way, you meet many people who show their support towards you and what you believe in.
Q. Have you ever felt undervalued or underestimated among your colleagues?
Gosh! I think probably so. I think initially my male colleagues felt that a woman didn’t have a place in the real estate industry. I would say they were rather surprised to learn that I was willing to work just as hard, if not more, as they did. And was ready to gain more knowledge if I didn’t have the answer to something.
Q. How do you foster teamwork and collaboration among those you lead?
I try to be available as much as I can, and I try to meet their needs and put them above mine when it comes to being supportive and available. I am always willing to meet someone who wants to collaborate or who has questions and needs help.
Perhaps it has to do with my background of having taught in a community college for five years, that I am a teacher at heart.
I like to collaborate and teamwork.
Q. Are there any practices or routines you make sure are present in your workspace?
Every office or organization has its routine and practices, but you must investigate how those practices and routines affect you. You must adjust the way they affect you. As long as the practices are common and adaptable to the whole company, you have to decide whether you agree with them.
Q. Do you have any advice for young women who are just starting their careers in the real estate industry?
Education. It will always be my first and foremost advice. Having knowledge of the industry and the real estate you are about to enter is essential. The willingness to work hard if not harder than your “male counterparts”; and at the same time to be willing to learn are key elements to be successful in the business.
Q. That was a wisdomous and informative conversation we just had. Any last words?
I would like to say that I enjoy every day in the real estate business. Some days may be frustrating and difficult. But I am thankful to be in an industry that is not boring. An industry that has tremendous opportunity. I feel blessed to have been on the journey that I have been on these many years.