Member Mondays - Karen Shaw

April 11, 2021
Karen H. Shaw
Registered Real Estate Salesperson
The Corcoran Group
CREWbiz profile
How Many Years a CREWNY Member:
17 Years, since 2004
Board Member for 9 years; Co-Chair of Programs, Membership Committees; Member of Charitable Fund; Current Member of Legacy Leaders Committee

Fun Fact:
In addition to being a tennis player, during the COVID lockdown I embraced Yoga as a way to try to connect with my inner calm (which wasn’t there!), and which I continue to practice to this day.

Tell us about an accomplishment you are proud of:
Earlier in my career, as President of the Union Square Partnership Business Improvement District (BID), I spearheaded the BID’s groundbreaking Union Square Park redevelopment plan and led the successful private fundraising of $20M+, matched by City funds, for its execution. Working with the community, commercial real estate and government interests in a challenging, multi-year process to forge consensus and buy-in, the BID developed and built an innovative design for the park and playground. The Park redevelopment has had a lasting impact on the entire community and contributed to the overall residential and commercial revitalization of the neighborhood. My kids still refer to Union Square Park as “Mom’s Park.”

What about CRE ignites your passion? How about in your current role?
Those who know me know how passionate I am about promoting NYC and real estate! I’ve spent my career in senior City government, banking, and NYC public/private partnership jobs in real estate, finance, planning and development, and economic development, working on strategies to help revitalize neighborhoods and improve the economic life and vitality of the City. Real estate is the economic lifeblood of this City, and a major personal and financial decision for individuals. When I pivoted in my career, I chose residential brokerage since this market contributes so significantly to the City’s economy, and I wanted to use my expertise and exceptional knowledge of City real estate to help individuals making these major decisions which directly impact their lives. In my current job as a Real Estate Broker with Corcoran, I am excited to combine my in-depth knowledge of NYC and the market, and business acumen, serving as a trusted advisor and resource for my clients in realizing their real estate goals, whether buying, selling or investing. I am very pleased to have helped many CREW NY colleagues with their real estate needs!

How do you encourage women reports, colleagues and friends in CRE to persevere, despite challenges?
I have been fortunate throughout my career to have had mentors and friends who encouraged me to push ahead, despite inner fears or hesitations on my part. One friend in particular changed the course of my career and life. I had always wanted to get an MBA, but at the time was working at a high-level, demanding job which I loved and didn’t want to leave. When I was accepted to the Part-Time MBA program at NYU Stern, I complained to her of the challenges ahead, and that “it’s going to take me four years to get my degree while working.” She said simply, “four years will go by regardless of what you do, but you will have something to show for it.” I enrolled immediately at NYU Stern Business School; four years later with my MBA in hand, I embarked on a whole different course in my career! I’ve encouraged others with this story, to overcome their own internal resistance, fears and perceived obstacles, to seize opportunities and to persevere. I think it resonates with people and I hope it’s helpful.

What advice would you give on how to achieve work/life balance?
My advice, stop searching for the elusive “work/life” balance -- which implies achieving some sort of ideal state -- because it doesn’t exist! Rather, attempt to have a degree of work/life harmony! Sometimes your family will need more attention; sometimes your work will require your total focus. Believing you need to be a “perfect” parent or employee is not a realistic standard to hold yourself to, and will only make you feel guilty on both scores. There’s no right or wrong way to balance work and life. It’s about what works for you. For me, taking my kids to work often, talking to them about my work and actively engaging them in what I was working on, gave them perspective when work demands took me away from time with the family. It also helps to learn how to accept living in a constant state of imperfection, but doing the best you can!