Commercial Real Estate “Woman of The Year” Kimberly Brown
One of the most common cliches associated with Black/African American communities is that we are “underrepresented” in many regions, resulting in our people being seen as less than capable of reaching the pinnacle of their successes. One woman many see as a hero in financial literacy and commercial real estate has set out to change the narrative.
Suite Life SoCal family — allow me to introduce you to the 2023 Commercial Real Estate “Woman of The Year” — Kimberly Brown, Principal Broker at IMPACT Realty Advisors Inc., and President of AAREP (African American Real Estate Professionals).
Born in South Central Los Angeles, “Not to be confused with South '' Los Angeles, Brown, aka “Bob and Bernice’s baby girl,” began blazing a trail as soon as her toes touched the pavement when she ended her collegiate experience over 30 years ago. Since then, she has reshaped the imagery of iconic landscapes across the nation through her advocacy for some of the most prominent institutions in the country while making sure to pay it forward by educating those who ‘may have been forgotten’ along the way.Though Brown’s path has put her in the position to be one of the most influential people, not just women, in the world of Commercial Real Estate, she has made it a goal to ensure that people of color continue to reclaim their rightful place on the totem pole. “I’m always looking to promote Black-owned enterprises and folks that are amplifying Black people,'' said Brown as she shared her pride and joy in representing South Central LA and the nation. “South Central means what it means: my parents were some of the first Black folks when “Red Lining” and systemic policies were lifted to allow Black families to live past the 110 freeway, and my family was one of the first Black families on the block.” She shared that her “90-year-old mother still lives in the same house she has lived in for 63 years.”
Having that kind of historical consistency in her family lineage, it’s not hard to see where Brown’s passion for real estate originated. While many assume Residential Real Estate and Commercial Real Estate are the same, she explained the fundamental difference that sets them apart for some of us who may not be privy to that level of experience. “The level we operate is what they call Institutional Grade Real Estate, which means these are large projects.” Brown stated that her background is in “operations and property management” and that she started her journey “in office towers in Century City on Wilshire [Boulevard] right out of college.” From that fantastic experience, she transitioned to New York before returning to LA, where she planted her flag to inspire future generations.
Through all those travels, Brown amassed an impressive network. “I’ve always had national roles, so I’ve always had great exposure.” “I never knew that this day would come,” said Brown as you could hear her passion glow through the phone. “When you talk about purpose, I never thought that my network could impact the community that I come from. Your network is your net worth,” Brown added.
Developing that network gave Brown the insight to put her passion into action. During our conversation, she reflected on some things that go overlooked in the Black communities on the political spectrum. “When I was growing up, our communities were very Mayberry-like,” said Brown. She went on to state that “when voluntary bussing came in the ’70s, our parents were told in order to give your kids a better life, we can bus your kids out to the valley.”
“What that did was put pressure on our own schools. So goes schools, so goes communities,” said Brown as her energy level went through the roof. “I don’t call our communities underrepresented; I call them historically disinvested or historically overlooked, meaning that money has been extracted out of our communities; call it what it is. I’m so protective of how our communities are represented. We are not these little charity cases. Our communities are full of culture, promise, pride, history, and they still are whether the outside world recognizes it or not.” “With all of this, our communities have become vulnerable,” added Brown as she explained how she has used her network to combat these issues.
“My network is filled with people who control capital,” said Brown as she broke down how she uses that network to assist Black developers who battle some of the systemic issues mentioned above. “I can pick up the phone and call people who control upward of 20 billion dollars, major institutions, pension funds, insurance companies, etc., to ensure our people have a fair chance to execute their plans to create the life and legacies they deserve. White males control 98.7% of capital; I happen to have access to that world and will ensure I continue to teach and educate with the resources at my disposal until that percentage spreads amongst people of color.”
So, what’s to come for Kimberly Brown? She shared that she also has a professional athlete network where she invites some of them to speak on her panel and share their journey with her assistance. Look for this event in February 2024. She also stated that the Urban Land Institute, a global organization that advocates and represents land use, will be having its national conference in the spring and will feature Mayor Bass at the event that will be put together by Brown’s team and held in the City of Angels.
During my conversation with Brown, I let her know that her passion and purpose radiates at a level like none other. It’s not hard to see why she’s in her position, as her energy is contagious. I’m grateful to be able to share a small glimpse into what made her “2023 Woman of The Year,” till we meet again, Suite Life Fam!