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Women Shaping Houston: Brandi McDonald


NGKF executive managing director Brandi McDonald has brokered 12M SF of deals exceeding $2.2B, making her one of Houston commercial real estate's most prolific female execs. As we continue our Women's History Month coverage, we asked Brandi about her leadership style, what challenges she’s overcome and what she's seeing in the market.


Brandi's been grandly recognized (she’s been a Houston Business Journal “Heavy Hitter” seven times, as well as one of the Forty Under Forty and Inspire’s Business Woman of the Year), but that's not her goal. She says titles and accolades are a byproduct of serving and solving her client’s needs. A line from one of her favorite movies, Braveheart, sums it up: “Men don’t follow titles, they follow courage.” 


She’s faced the good old boy’s club, she says, but that's finally starting to evolve. After vetting the baseline credentials of analytical thinking and business acumen, we have a natural tendency to hire who we like, she says. “Great men in our industry continue to hire great men and some of them were brave enough to hire me and many other women, on whose shoulders I stand,” Brandi tells us. 

But what about the other side of the table?  Are women the ones leasing space and acquiring buildings? Heck yeah. Brandi is currently helping two women-owned businesses purchase commercial property.  

We snapped Brandi with Dennis Murphree when she spoke at Bisnow's State of the Market last July.


So what's Brandi seeing in the market? M&A activity will continue to drive space fluctuation in the Houston office sector, she tells us. Diversified assets will continue to trade and opportunistic long-term buyers will enter the scene. We will continue to see growth in the Medical Center.

Brandi's deal flow is voluminous with lease restructures, consolidations, subleases and early terminations, which are all directly related to oil prices.

When she’s not out kicking butt in the business world, you can find Brandi chilling at the Houstonian, which she calls her oasis, or having a meal at The Dunlavy. (“I could move there,” she says. We know the feeling.)