Director, Investment Management
Meet Simone Knopf
What is your role at Avison Young?
Director, Investment Management.
How did you get into commercial real estate?
My fascination with buildings, especially skyscrapers and high-rises, started in my teenage years. Even then, I was certain that real estate was going to be a big part of my future and my life. To realize my ambition and goal, I enrolled in a 3-year vocational training program with a residential property management and housing agency upon finishing High School.
Who has been the biggest influence in your life and why?
Good question. Throughout my life I have had the privilege and pleasure of meeting amazing and inspiring people. Yet, it was no one in particular that influenced and guided me, but rather people who became teachers unknowingly by sharing experiences, an empathetic ear and wise counsel. These meaningful interactions, some sought out and some by chance, encouraged me to stay on my path and to forge ahead tirelessly. Obstacles and detours I have encountered along the way have helped me to stay focused, evaluate and embrace new circumstances catapulting me to where I am today.
What is the best advice you've ever received?
Theresa Johnson, my mentor in the AY WN Mentorship Program in 2017, told me that to be fair and just you need to put yourself in someone else's shoes and then see how they feel and you will understand why they are reacting or why they are behaving the way that they are behaving.
How has Avison Young supported you as a woman in business?
I never felt I was being compared to or treated differently than my male colleagues. I became a part of AY in Toronto in April of 2013 and felt trusted and challenged from day one. My managers guided me and, in an equal measure gave me space and independence, to develop my roots within the company but also the entire real estate community. As I grew and branched out beyond my comfort zone, I embraced the support of my team, managers and AY. Additionally, being a part of the AY Women’s Network gave me the opportunity of joining our mentorship program twice. Although both experiences were different in many aspects, they taught me valuable insights and enhanced my experience and understanding tremendously. I am very grateful for the guidance and shared business acumen which I will draw on throughout my career.
What advice would you give to young women to succeed in the workplace? Take a deep breath, keep your head high and take your first step. Starting out you might work on projects you are not passionate about. However, keep reminding yourself that such detours are essential to gain experience, make connections and gain a well-rounded understanding of the industry. Stay zealous and ambitious and keep moving. One step after another will bring you closer to your goal and will open doors that you would have never imagined of opening prior to starting out.
What would people be surprised to learn about you?
Boxing lessons, wakeboarding, and travelling the world are just small parts of the adventures I embrace wholeheartedly as I subscribe to the notion that life is either a daring adventure or nothing at all.