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Before 2000, Karen had never envisioned working in commercial real estate. But her father had constructed one of Michigan's leading development companies over 30 years, and she had to decide whether she would step into the family enterprise. The choice ultimately hinged on one factor: could the company carry on her father's basic tenets of honesty and integrity? The answer was decidedly yes.
From her office in the building her father constructed, she can point out the first commercial high-rise he built when she was a child. That same building is now surrounded by several more, with nearly 50 additional properties in surrounding areas. And while the company has its home base in Detroit- they constructed the Palace of Auburn Hills where the Pistons play- it has expanded its development to other parts of the country.
In the midst of her many responsibilities, Karen works closely with her private wealth advisor (PWA), whom she began working with a couple of years after she assumed her role at her father's company. She had interviewed several other firms at the time and eventually established what has since evolved into over a decade long relationship with her PWA. Initially recommended to her by an acquaintance, her PWA demonstrated to her an approach to wealth management that allowed her to pursue goals that were personally meaningful to her. "At the end of the day, the most important thing is trust," she said.
“After my father passed away, I can’t tell you how many people told me, ‘All you had to do was shake his hand and it was done,’” she said. “He was revered in the business community for standing by his word.”
Karen plays an active role in handling her personal and family's finances. Beyond being the "family voice" in the business, she manages her mother's portfolio and ensures her family's art collection is preserved.
Recently, taking her son to the Detroit Institute of Art, she excitedly pointed out the Anselm Kiefer painting that once hung in their home before they gifted it to the museum. "The fact that the family, along with the public, is able to experience that painting is wonderful," she said.
She also prioritizes her philanthropic role in the community. Since returning to Michigan, she has devoted time to several nonprofit organizations. Recently, she became chair of The Jewish Fund after serving on its board for fourteen years. It was another step in carrying out the legacy of her father, who co-founded the organization to fund health and welfare services for Metro Detroit's most vulnerable residents.
Through her commitment to community and family, Karen knows she is honoring the values of her father and "bringing a little bit of meaning" into the family enterprise.
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