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OC Power Women: 5 Questions With CBRE Executive Vice President Sharon Kline

This limited series profiles Orange County Power Women who have helped shape SoCal cities, neighborhoods, businesses and lifestyles. These women will be honored at Bisnow's Orange County Power Women event Aug. 21 in Irvine.

When it comes to dedication to your career in commercial real estate or any industry, put in maximum effort and learn from those around you, CBRE Executive Vice President Sharon Kline said. 

Kline is an executive vice president at CBRE's Newport Beach office. Since 1997, Kline has been an integral part of the CBRE team. She has been involved in more than 200 debt/equity and tax-exempt transactions totaling more than $5B, according to CBRE.

She credits her success to learning from those around her. 

"Don’t take things at face value — understand why — and if you don’t understand, dig a little deeper and ask questions," Kline said.

Nancy Altobello and CBRE Executive Vice President Sharon Kline at the Columbia Icefield in Canada

Bisnow: How do you describe your job to people who are not in the industry? 

Kline: CBRE’s Debt & Structured Finance group is one of the largest in the country, and I am a loan production officer within the group.  My job is multi-faceted. I am tasked with arranging financing for my clients (developers, investors, owner/occupiers) with our various lenders that we either represent and service for, or numerous lenders that we can access directly. Our lenders include life insurance companies, the agencies (Freddie Mac, Fannie Mae, HUD), banks, debt funds, securitized lenders and others. CBRE did business with over 350 lenders in 2018 — so our reach is broad. I have arranged financing on loans as small as $1M and as large as well over $1B on portfolio transactions. I work on all property types, but mainly the four major food groups — multifamily, office, retail, industrial — but have also financed self-storage properties, hotels, medical office, land, etc.

Bisnow: What accomplishment are you most proud of in your career and how did you achieve it?   

Kline: I am most proud when successfully completing a financing assignment for a client, especially if it happens to be a complex transaction. I like a challenge and feel I am at my best when a deal is challenging and I am able to successfully put together the best structure and lender for the client. I have won my share of awards over the years, but there is nothing that compares to the feeling of a client’s gratitude for a successful solution to their financing needs.

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

Kline: This is definitely a topic that is receiving a lot of attention today. CBRE is laser-focused on this issue and has been making great efforts to hire and promote women and minorities. There is a long way to go on this issue, but I am proud to be with a company that takes wage and gender equality seriously. 

Bisnow: What piece of advice do you give others entering the industry? 

Kline: Work hard, learn all you can from your peers, superiors, clients, etc.  Sometimes what I see is people just accepting what is presented to them, without question. Our lenders expect us to have all the answers on a deal and if we have not fully explored every aspect and are confident in what we present to them, they will lose confidence in us. Our success is dependent on fully vetting a deal — and if there are weaknesses or risk factors, presenting mitigating factors. Or if there are no mitigating factors, at least bringing the weaknesses to the attention to the parties involved. 

Bisnow: What do you do to unwind when you’re not working? 

Kline: I like to play golf, which is a work in progress, but I love being outside. I like to walk the course if possible, which is also great exercise. Traveling, hiking, reading, and having dinner and a glass of wine with friends. I am involved with a charity, KidWorks, and have been chair or co-chair of our annual golf tournament, which is held in May at Pelican Hill. It is a very fun tournament at a great venue and all for a good cause!

Meet CBRE Executive Vice President Sharon Kline at Bisnow's Orange County Power Women event Aug. 21 at the Irvine Marriott.