Member Highlight – Brenda Karp

by Kate Wagner

News Article:

Whenever I encounter Brenda Karp, the theme song from The Mary Tyler Moore show runs through my head.  Who can turn the world on with her smile?  Who can take a nothing day, and suddenly make it all seem worthwhile?  Well it's you girl, and you should know it.  Brenda's bright, bubbly personality infects those around her.  Her career in real estate started at Heilig Meyers when she transferred from the HR & Training department to the Real Estate department to be the assistant to the Senior VP of Real Estate.  The department head took an interest in Brenda, and involved her in the various activities of the department.  Through his mentorship, Brenda became knowledgeable about site selection, real estate acquisitions and leasing.    One of her teammates at Heilig Meyers was Debbie Wake, who helped lure Brenda to Divaris after Heilig Meyers closed shop.  Debbie and her business partner, Brett McNamee, proved to be amazing mentors for Brenda, and she loved her experience there.  Divaris  had been doing third party leasing for The Breeden Company, so when they brought that function in-house, they persuaded Brenda to join them.  She oversaw the land sales at Towne Center West, and now is in charge of The Breeden Company's commercial properties in Yorktown, Smithfield, Newport News and Portsmouth. 

Debbie Wake and Brett McNamee invited Brenda to join CREW Richmond; selling the networking aspect to her.   While she did made good contacts when she joined, her initial participation was relatively passive.  It was participation in the Community Service and Program Committees that awoke her passion for the chapter and the Network.    Becoming more active led to her joining the Chapter Board of Directors four years ago, and she currently serves as Secretary of the Board with an aspiration for additional leadership opportunities.  Her networking experience has been more knowledge based versus deal networking, and she attributes her relationships in CREW to enhancing her career.  One of the things she enjoys most about the chapter today is the mentoring of younger members that she witnesses.  Her participation with CREW has led to wonderful friendships and meaningful volunteer activities with the Community Service committee.

Brenda is actively involved in business and community organizations, member of the International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC), past Co-Chair for VA Program Planning Committee, member of Greater Richmond Association of Commercial Real Estate(GRACRE) and served on the Board of Directors (2010-2013), Virginia Breast Cancer Foundation volunteer for over 15 years, served on the Board of Directors (2005-2007), and has received the Volunteer of the Year award.

In her leisure time, Brenda enjoys traveling with her husband, Fred, and the two of them can likely be found on weekends at a condo in Virginia Beach that they own.