From facing challenges and rising to the occasion to dent the universe with her sheer will, Karen Simon has come a long way to become the President and Managing Partner at Emersons Commercial Real Estate Tarrant County Division. Today, Karen is admired throughout the real-estate niche for her fantastic leadership skills to help her clients, employees, and agents grow in their profession and succeed in their business.
Let us dive deep into Karen’s determined journey.
Climbing Up the Ladder
From the beginning of her professional journey in 1983 until the early 2000s, Karen’s significant challenge to overcome was striving as a woman in a primarily male-dominated industry. She was amongst the few women in that period that operated in industrial real-estate; however, she found clients that were open-minded to deal professionally with women as long as they were informed and worked hard. Although, fellow male brokers were slower to welcome women.
When Karen was in charge of Public Relations and Intergovernmental Relations for five states at the Department of Housing and Urban Development, she learned how to obtain her broker’s license, never having had a sales license. The department did not allow its employees to hold a salesman’s license because it could create a potential conflict of interest.
Fortunately, a new regulation opened for one year allowed those qualified to be brokers to bypass a salesman’s license and sit for the brokers’ exam. Karen applied and learned that she lacked nine classroom hours or three semester hours out of 60 to qualify for the exam. Being a challenge, Karen could not resist and took a two-week leave, took nine classroom hours, and attended the exam. She passed and earned her broker’s license, which she could hold alone and meet the legal criteria.
Armed with a new tool, Karen set about her business as if nothing had changed until at a Christmas party; she met the head of industrial real estate for Henry S. Miller, then the largest real estate company in the state of Texas. She shares, “After the usual chit-chat, he asked me by chance did I hold a real estate license? I said proudly, “Yes, I do!” and he offered me a job that was hard to resist.”
Henry S. Miller wanted to open an industrial real estate division in their Tarrant County office and hire their first woman as a head of a department. After six months of discussion and negotiation, there were no female industrial realtors in Tarrant or Dallas County in 1982. Karen began a bold new road in her life as the first female industrial realtor and the first female head of a division within the largest real estate company in the state. She asserts, “I remained with Henry, later to be Grubb and Ellis, for six years and then began a wild ride in the real estate business as the market took a downturn and the federal government became the largest real estate owner in the country.”
The Next Chapter
From 1990 to 1993, Karen was a partner and significant shareholder in the R.E. Group Advisors Inc. DBA the Real Estate Group. It was a woman and minority-owned company, where she enjoyed the benefits and opportunities allowed to this small group in administrating and or marketing for the government.
As the real estate market began to shift, Karen left the Real Estate Group, joining a regional-sized retail leasing and sales development organization called the Woodmont Company as the head of their newly formed industrial and land division. She spent six years with them, helping them with the industrial needs of their retail clients, and managing site development.
In 2003, Karen was recruited to start a Tarrant County office for the Bradford Company and spent the next 12 years making them a successful venture in Tarrant County. Sharing her experience, she says, “Alas, no opportunity there for ownership was going to come my way, and so my adventurous soul moved me on. In 2014, I founded the TIG company in Tarrant County, also an industrial and office brokerage and management company.”
When the stars aligned in 2016, Karen met the partners of Emersons Commercial Real Estate and decided that she was finally at home. Richard Webb, a former banker, and Matt Price, a CPA, decided they wanted a Tarrant County office and knew they wanted a partnership, not an employee-run office. Karen mentions, “We agreed that we had made a marriage worth keeping. In 2016 we formed the Fort Worth office of Emersons Commercial Real Estate. Richard and Matt had founded Emersons in 2004, and by 2016 they had a successful brokerage company and a rapidly growing management company managing over 7 million square feet in Texas.”
By 2019, Emersons had formed with a Saint Louis-based partner, Priority Properties, a partnership called 1045 to manage all of Kroger’s real estate nationwide. They opened multiple offices across the country with a mission to be the best real estate company possible and to handle their client’s needs as close to perfection as possible, having growth and strength as the objective.
A Team Player
Sharing her thoughts on technology, Karen says, “I am a bit slow on technological advances but have surrounded myself with techy people who help me see over the horizon. I want to help agents see that doing their best for their clients will ultimately help them the most if given a chance. Courtesy, study, and a strong work effort will benefit my fellow agents in achieving their future success.”
To the Roots
Ultimately, Karen sees herself returning more to a teaching role as she initially spent four years teaching in a community college and enjoying mentoring others to push towards their excellence.
Karen would like to see Emersons reach its full emergence as an ethical and successful real estate firm with a solid and loyal clientele.
Mentoring Next Generation
Karen advises aspiring entrepreneurs to put their clients’ needs foremost in their efforts. “A good reputation and success record will be their reward,” Karen concludes.