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LA Power Women: 5 Questions With Stepp Commercial's Kimberly Stepp

This limited series profiles SoCal Power Women who have helped shape cities, neighborhoods, businesses and lifestyles in Southern California. These women will be honored at Bisnow's Los Angeles Power Women event Dec. 12.

With more than 20 years of commercial real estate experience, Kimberly Stepp has made a name for herself and her company as a leader in the Southern California multifamily space.

Stepp Commercial co-founder and principal Kimberly Stepp with her family in Paris.

Stepp is the principal at Stepp Commercial, a multifamily brokerage firm she co-founded with her husband, Robert Stepp.

In her career, Kimberly Stepp is a former Bisnow LA Power Women recipient and Executive of the Year. She has also been mentioned in the Los Angeles Business Journal's "Who's Brokering Los Angeles" special section, which highlights the achievements of commercial brokerage teams across Southern California. 

When it comes to women in commercial real estate, she said it is great that more women are pursuing CRE as a career, but there is still more work to be done.

"We still have to deal with both conscious and unconscious biases, and we also have to persevere and work harder to rise to the top of our game compared to men, but it is possible to succeed and enjoy incomes that far surpass other professions," she said.

Bisnow: Who are you and what do you do?

Stepp: I am a mother of three kids ages 4, 6 and 8, a travel enthusiast, and am married to Robert Stepp who also happens to be my partner at our multifamily-specialized brokerage firm, Stepp Commercial. Since Stepp Commercial was founded in 2013 we have accomplished some amazing milestones, including building a team of 15 talented brokers; completing $2B in apartment sales; and being one of the leading multifamily brokerage firms in the Los Angeles market for several years running.

Bisnow: What is the most challenging part of your job? The most rewarding?

Stepp: The most challenging part of my job is navigating the constantly changing market. There are so many factors that enter into the LA multifamily market such as new legislation, fluctuating inventory, rent control laws, interest rates and so on. It is an ongoing mission for me to win for my clients [because] if they win, I win and I love that … and it is extremely rewarding. It requires a combination of boots-on-the-ground market knowledge, keeping relevant on all things that affect apartment values, people skills, hard work and going with my gut instinct based on decades of experience.

Bisnow: How have you seen companies change the way they address wage and gender inequality in recent years?

Stepp: I think that there is a higher awareness now of wage gap issues associated with gender, and regardless of motivations, companies have to ensure that things are fair across the board. Over the years, I have been a mentor to young women who are looking to get into commercial brokerage and it is great to see them establish themselves and be successful. As a female in a male-dominated industry, it is refreshing that more women are pursuing this career.

Bisnow: What do you enjoy most about living here and doing business in Los Angeles?

Stepp: I grew up in South Florida and moved to California in 1994, so I really appreciate so many things about living and working in Los Angeles. The weather is amazing and it allows me and my family to lead an outdoor lifestyle. It is also a fantastic melting pot of many cultures. From a business standpoint, the CRE industry here has a huge amount of competition, but that drives me to do better and I thrive on the challenge. The sky is the limit in LA and has provided me with so many opportunities to live the American dream. 

Bisnow: What are you most excited about, professionally, as we head into 2020? 

Stepp: We are all anticipating changes in 2020 from an economic standpoint and for the commercial real estate industry. Things begin to slow down from an activity level as a cycle comes to a close and an another begins. It is here that the strong in CRE survive by creatively identifying new opportunities for their clients. While many despise change, it is inevitable and something that we need to embrace from an entrepreneurial perspective to maintain long-term success in this industry.

Bisnow's Los Angeles Power Women event will be held Dec. 12 at the JW Marriott Los Angeles LA Live hotel in downtown Los Angeles.