A sedulous personality helps overcome all obstacles and thrives through every challenge that comes along the way to achievement. Personality is important, especially for leaders in sectors like real estate to earn the trust of their clients and teammates. Karen Simon (President and Managing Partner at Emersons Commercial Management US, LLC) is a remarkable woman leader who is boosting the real estate industry with her adroit leadership. Her unique personality as a real estate expert has won her considerable respect for her highly personalized approach to her clients. She draws on decades of experience, deep community connections, and unique marketing knowledge.
Karen Simon earned a Bachelor of Science degree in history and education from the University of Texas in Austin. She briefly taught for one year in a Fort Worth high school. She started teaching when she was just 20 years old, making her the youngest teacher ever to be hired to teach in a high school in the Fort Worth region. Teaching 18 and 17-year-olds proved to be somewhat difficult for Karen, so she returned to graduate school to earn a master’s degree with a primary focus on America between the World Wars. She also got a job teaching at a community college.
Karen Simon maintained her doctoral work after leaving her position as a community college instructor. She chose to quit the academic field, though, because she was unable to find employment locally to teach upper-level courses. For both undergraduate and graduate degrees, the federal government granted her credit for education.
Karen was consequently eligible for the highest position outside of Washington, the GS 14/15. Later, she was employed by the Department of Housing and Urban Development in Region 10, a five-state region, as the executive assistant to the regional administrator. She was also in charge of managing all intergovernmental and public relations for the five-state region.
Real Estate Journey
Karen’s real estate career started when she came across a brochure that stated that individuals may become real estate brokers if they had completed 60 semester hours of real estate-related coursework or 900 classroom hours of real estate-related study . Karen Simon provided a transcript because it was intriguing to her. But in order to take the exam, she needed three semester hours, or nine hours of class, out of a possible 60. As a result, Karen took a two-week leave of absence and attended school during the day, night, and weekends.
After successfully passing the test, Karen Simon received her broker’s license. She met the man in charge of the Henry S. Miller Company’s industrial division after working for the Department of Housing and Urban Development for almost four years. The Henry S. Miller Corporation was the biggest real estate company in Texas at the time and ranked fifth in the nation.
There were no women in the company’s commercial departments in the middle of the 1980s. In order to get Karen to consider the offer in 1983, they had to bargain with her over a period of several months. And that’s how Karen Simon decided to distinguish her real estate career. It was a struggle for her since it involved education and persuasion.
Bringing Values against all Odds
Karen Simon discovered that as long as one was prepared and knowledgeable to handle their company business, clients didn’t care if she was a woman or a man. She was prepared to put in a lot of effort, but her male colleagues in the real estate industry were a little less accepting of her involvement. They didn’t trust women since they might not know what they were doing or couldn’t tell the difference between a dock-hi grade-level entryway to a warehouse.
However, Henry S. Miller was a very pragmatic company and agreed to send Karen to several industrial real estate schools to learn the language and get familiar with the procedure before she had to hire anyone. And thus Karen started her first course in industrial real estate.
Karen Simon stood out because she was the first woman working as an industrial realtor in Dallas- Fort Worth. Due to the fact that she was a bit of an outlier, she gained some exposure. The realization that women could do the job with the right opportunity and education led to some doors opening as a result. Karen Simon has continually worked to keep doors open for women in the commercial real estate industry, not only in industrial real estate.
Karen Simon brings knowledge, training, and a drive to go above and beyond the task at hand. She attempts to find out despite being unafraid to admit, “I don’t know.” For example, she claims, “I’m not afraid to say, I don’t know, but I’m willing to find out, and I think that’s a key factor. Most people will forgive you for not knowing something as long as you’re willing to find out for them.”
Karen Simon : Emersons Commercial Real Estate: Journey so Far
Emersons Commercial Real Estate was founded in 2004 by Matt Price, a CPA and real estate investor, and Richard Webb, a banker who had also become interested in real estate. They each had the chance to acquire a sizable portfolio to sell while working for a family trust. In 2004, they established their business, and Karen Simon joined them in 2016. The corporate headquarters was in Dallas, while the company also had an office in Oklahoma City.
At the time, they managed and/or leased around 7 million square feet, but since they had previously worked for Kroger Real Estate they had the opportunity in 2019 to form a management company called 1045 LLC along with another real estate group called Priority Properties. In addition, they received the national contract for managing the 2,800 Kroger facilities in the U.S, totaling 80 million square feet.
Emersons owns 50% of 1045 LLC, a business that is rapidly expanding in the property management industry. It has established a real estate investment trust and is currently raising money for a second fund to purchase stabilized retail. Karen Simon estimates that 1045 LLC has roughly 39 offices nationwide when it comes to all types of commercial real estate.
Karen Simon wants Emersons Fort Worth to increase the size of its commercial real estate property portfolio and engage in actual property management. Due to its expertise, the company currently refers all property management to its Dallas office. Karen would prefer for the Fort Worth office to have another growth opportunity though. She thinks Emersons is still young and developing.
The company can provide ownership to anyone who joins the team. In addition to the Bradford Company, Karen Simon has served as the managing partner of several other businesses. She opened and ran their Tarrant County office for 12 years, but she was never given the chance to become an owner.
Self-Analysis & Advice for Women Entrepreneurs
Karen Simon would like to refer to her life as “the journey of a humanitarian”. She enjoys the daily challenge of working and finds great satisfaction in working for some charitable organizations.
Karen says in her advice for aspiring female business owners, “Know everything you can about a geographic area. Know everything you can about some subset in the commercial real estate business, for example. For the first 15 years of my career, all I did was industrial real estate. I think that I have come away from that 15-year period as knowledgeable, and that’s an important thing to be able to share with a client.”
Karen has a wealth of retail experience from her time as the head of the land division for a retail development company and her involvement in a company that manages 100 million square feet. Most of which is dedicated to retail. She believes it is crucial for someone to either become an expert in a certain area of topography or to become extremely informed about the subject matter of a specific area of the real estate industry.
Experiences Growing up
Karen comes from a family that places a strong emphasis on education and a curious mind set. She thinks that it inspired an entrepreneurial spirit. She didn’t feel she had any ownership in the company she was working for and wasn’t content with being only an employee. She then started looking for job options where she could employ her expertise.
As a result, Karen left the Bradford Company since its lone owner didn’t want any partners in the business. Additionally, Karen’s spirit states, “If I know more about it than most, I ought to have a chance to have some participation.”
Content with Life
Karen feels content with her life and her development throughout the years. She believes that she has assisted not only other women but also herself in developing a skill set and a mission statement. Karen has appreciated her journey and the development that has come with being able to forge a path that very few women before her have traveled.
Karen’s husband is very encouraging. Her two sons are aware that their mother is available to them at all times. In order to set a good example for her children, be a good mother, and be a decent human being, Karen understood she couldn’t be a PTA parent.
Empathy towards Budding Talent
Karen wanted to give other people the same chance she wanted for herself-—to learn how to think creatively, treat others properly, and choose if you can be a part of something or not. Additionally, to handle transactions, and be involved in a company’s purchase, development, participation, and growth was important to her.
Karen’s response, when asked for advice for aspiring female entrepreneurs, was that it doesn’t matter what industry they’re entering. In her statement, she states that “if you treat other people fairly, if you learn your craft and you have a willingness of spirit, it’s going to show through. You may get some bumps in the road, but ultimately you’re going to succeed.”
“Karen Simon’s unique personality as a real estate expert has won her a lot of respect for her highly personalized approach to her clients.”