Q&A with Marcy Moneypenny, Principal & Managing Director of Avison Young

Marcy Moneypenny

Marcy Moneypenny has served as principal & managing director for Avison Young’s Denver office since March 2020. With more than 35 years of industry experience, Marcy has a robust track record of operationalizing smart, service-led strategies that drive the operations, business development and future service offerings for the firm.

How did you get into CRE?

I responded to a newspaper ad for an entry level “girl Friday” job for a general contractor in commercial real estate. I did everything from answering the phones and paying bills to getting the owner’s truck washed and running other personal errands for him. I was a single mother and needed a paycheck.  

One of our clients was a global giant in commercial real estate and I met regularly with their brokers and property management team to walk tenant improvement space and create punch lists. Those interactions provided me with a great picture of the collaborative teamwork that I was missing. It wasn’t long before the head of the Property Management division asked me to join his team. I had no idea the quality of the firm I was joining but started as a building secretary and never looked back. I worked late nights and on the weekends while I soaked up everything I could learn. I knew that anything was possible, and I was going to make “anything” happen for me and my daughter. It was only up from that point!

When you began your career, did you ever imagine that you would have a leadership role in this profession/organization/industry?

Not at all. I was solely focused on getting an immediate need met – paying my bills to provide for me and my daughter. While working my entry-level job in the property management space, there was a ladder that had to be climbed to be a property manager. That afforded me the privilege of working every job on that ladder to get there. Every step along the way I was working with clients – small, large, local, and regional – they all looked to have their   expectations met and, better yet, exceeded.

That was my “anything.” Serving clients above their expectations took me from just a job to a career.  When you learn to listen and observe for the purpose of serving, it’s been my experience that most clients recognize that. Authentic service is something that was in me, but I had never tried to understand it much less articulate it. Commercial real estate gave me my voice.  

How have you built confidence and resiliency over the course of your career?

I’ve found that confidence and resiliency come from knowing who you are in the business. Service for others is in my DNA and when I was given opportunities to do what I do best, over and over, my confidence began to grow. Our industry is all about closing a deal, increasing market share, growing a portfolio, improving outcomes and EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization). None of those happen without service. No matter what you may call it – hard work, diligence, focus, drive – it is still service for others. 

What are some steps to building strategic and powerful relationships?

It’s my belief that being authentic ultimately builds true relationships. Everyone wants to work with people they like and trust. 

Trust is a key component that either adds or detracts from a relationship moving forward. Are you not only authentic but trustworthy too? Can you keep a confidence? Are you ethical and looking out for your clients’ best interests? Are you invested in the success of team members? Through consistent performance of hard work, robust communication, and service of others is how powerful and strategic relationships are built and maintained resulting in repeat business. If this doesn’t happen, you are destined to garner one-off relationships because the experience isn’t worthy of repeating.

What techniques can help to overcome fears and limiting beliefs?

I’ve found that procrastinating or running away from things that are difficult can actually make them appear larger than life.  As a matter of fact, doing the very opposite has worked for me.  Running to the bullet gives me the upper hand and puts me in control over challenges.

Personally, I don’t like to be controlled by fear – it can keep me from moving forward and can hold me back from the successes I want and deserve. For example, when I was afraid of speaking in front of crowds, I took on positions that included public speaking or volunteered to run committees. Were there times when I stumbled over my works or was anxious? Absolutely! But the more I spoke, the easier it became. I learned that fear was no longer in charge, I was. Fear will never be conducive to success.

What is the key to building your personal brand/reputation/and telling your story?

Many people would identify my last name as my brand, Moneypenny.  It’s certainly memorable because of the James Bond movies. But I don’t consider my brand or reputation defined by my last name.

Maya Angelou has been quoted to say, “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” I believe the key to building a great brand or reputation is through how you treat others. Do you understand the importance of being on time?  Do you do what you say you will without excuses? Do you meet deadlines established by others? Are you considerate of the needs of others?

I know this may sound elementary or soft, but a brand or reputation is developed over time by one action built on top of another. Consistency is important and kindness is often underrated.

How do you set and achieve your professional goals?

I like to begin by determining what I believe are the necessary goals (no more than five) for a particular time frame or project. I then review and analyse several different strategies and lock into the one that has the highest probability of success. The last step is the easiest for me – identifying the tactics that will ensure my strategy can be successful. I go from macro to micro. 

I also find that it’s important to review professional goals at least once a month, making revisions or additions which may also include pivoting in an entirely different direction. It is important to remember that goals are a roadmap. We all know there are different routes than can be taken to a destination so we shouldn’t hold on too tightly so that a change of direction can’t be made. 

How have you had to change your leadership role in this current economic environment?

I continue to listen and see how I can assist despite the challenges we are experiencing in the current economic environment. While external factors are always changing, it’s my opinion that the basics of leadership never falter. I stay up to date on global, regional and local happenings, trends and influences, and assess how they are affecting the commercial real estate industry. I aim to put myself and our office at an advantage by considering input and feedback from everyone around me in every position and at every level. 

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