Broker Profile: Senior Vice President Kimberly Clark (San Diego)

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Kimberly Clark is a senior vice president and partner at Voit Real Estate Services’ San Diego office and the first to be highlighted in Voit’s “Meet Our Professionals” Broker Profile Series.

Kimberly learned early in life through her family and church that helping others was a path to a fuller and more meaningful life. So, upon graduating from high school, she decided to make working to better the lives of others her occupation as well as her calling. For Kimberly, a career in commercial real estate was the farthest thing from her mind, despite having a father who had forged a long and rewarding career in the business.

“It’s something I’ve always wanted to do ever since I was a little girl. My career path was to become a lawyer and to work in international relations and human rights law, so everything I was doing after high school was focused on that,” she recalls. “In college [at Oral Roberts University], I studied Government/International Relations with another major in Spanish and a minor in French so that I’d be more useful abroad.” In addition to her studies, she continued doing mission work with her school as a missions leader.

After graduating from ORU, Clark attended the prestigious George Washington University Law School in Washington, D.C., on a full scholarship and studied International Law. Consistent with her goals, she worked at the Department of Justice Immigration Court, writing decisions for judges on asylum cases. She also worked at the United Nations Refugee Agency and Child Protection Services. “I felt I was really going to be able to help people with a practical skill as a lawyer who speaks multiple languages, not just as somebody who ‘really liked to help people,’” says Clark.

Kimberly Clark and her dad Tracy at George Washington University Law School graduation Armed with her law degree and determined to make a difference, the San Diego native passed the California Bar in 2010. Unfortunately for Clark, the timing couldn’t have been worse. The law industry was still reeling from the Great Financial Crisis—particularly in her practice area—and large-scale layoffs and law firm closings were commonplace. “It was devastating. I went to a top 20 school, but it didn’t matter; nobody had jobs. Half of my class was unemployed, and I couldn’t even find a job as a paralegal,” she says. “The kinds of jobs that I was interested in—nonprofits in the human rights field—didn’t have any funding. It was just a crazy time, so I ended up coming back to San Diego.”

Now at home and without a job, she was repeatedly approached by her father (Tracy Clark, SVP/Partner in Voit’s San Diego office) about working with him in CRE. But she remained adamant. “Absolutely not,” she told him. “I am an attorney, and I want to work in human rights. I’m not trying to make money. I’m just trying to be a human rights attorney.”

She had been in contact with a human rights organization interested in having her work as a human rights attorney in Africa or South America, but she would have to fund her own way. While she waited month after month for a response from the group, her father persisted, and her mother, Silvia Clark, a real estate agent with Coldwell Banker West, joined the chorus. On a day when her guard was down, she reluctantly agreed to give CRE a shot and started working with her father. Not long after she began at Voit, the human rights organization finally reached out again. Unfortunately for them, she had already made up her mind. “I had given my dad my word that I would start working with him, and I owed it to him to give this business a fair shot,” she says. “If it was supposed to work out, it would have worked out. It just wasn’t meant to be, and everything worked out the way it was supposed to. I don’t have any regrets.”

Clark joined Voit as an associate in July 2012 and threw herself “full force” into the business while living at home with her family. She had earned her real estate license at 18—a family tradition— but still knew little about the industry. “There was a huge learning curve, she says. “I had a runnership position for about three to six months, and then I was making almost no money for the next couple of years.”

Commercial real estate, where the primary purpose is to “find business” was a complete 360 from the structured, task-driven law profession. However, Clark’s law training proved valuable, particularly in contract negotiations. “A lot of the skills I learned in law school proved to be helpful in real estate,” she says.

Clark also benefited from the mentorship provided by her father, who was a top producer at Voit for decades and focused on the San Diego South County/Chula Vista marketplace. “I had no idea what I was doing as I started completely from scratch,” says Clark. “He was a great mentor and extremely patient with me. He had a huge book of business after years of being solely focused on this market. He had basically touched every single property in the area, having leased or sold it, even selling some properties a couple of times. So, I was learning from the best. He was the best dad and the most incredible business partner. Getting to work with him was one of the greatest joys of my life.” During the learning process, Tracy handled “most of the high-level stuff,” and Kimberly handled mostly leasing, although the two worked together on nearly every deal.

Kimberly Clark and her new baby with her parents and sistersTwo years ago, tragedy struck. Sixty-six-year-old Tracy, an extraordinarily vibrant and enthusiastic man full of faith in God, received a terminal diagnosis and passed away just 46 days later. “It was a huge shock, totally traumatic,” says Clark. “We lost my dad on Christmas Day, and I just had a baby two months before. I was already pretty terrified about becoming a mom in this industry because there are not a lot of women in brokerage, although the guys in the office have just been wonderful to me.”

Clark realized that she “just had to make this work,” despite the grief that she and her family shared. She rededicated herself to her work, and while being a stay-at-home mom to her now two-and-a-half-year-old daughter, she began to achieve spectacular results. In 2022, she was the #2 Broker in the San Diego office. In 2023, she was #1.

“Before I lost my dad, I worked hard, but never to this level,” she says. “I just have such a different motivation and drive because I’m doing it for my family. It’s my greatest honor to get to carry on my dad’s legacy and to be a blessing to my mom—it’s given my work so much purpose.”

Clark believes that one of the keys to success for brokers is being able to find creative solutions to problems. “It’s about always looking for a path forward instead of seeing roadblocks,” she says. “Creative thinkers are the ones that get deals done. It’s about being a fierce advocate for your client. I’m not looking for the deal so much as I’m looking out for whatever is going to benefit the client the most.”

Kimberly and Tyler at a marathon with family cheering them onDespite her heavy workload, Clark also finds time to run marathons around the world with her husband, Tyler Underwood (who competed in the U.S. Olympic Trials in 2020). The pair completed the London Marathon in April and will be running the Chicago Marathon in October.

Spending so much of her early life doing humanitarian aid work in Romania, the Czech Republic, Haiti, Mexico, and Madagascar taught Clark the value of doing right by others, and it remains a guiding force in her life. “Each trip was a little bit different,” she says. “We were trying to meet the need wherever it was. And it was those experiences that really shaped the way I view the world. People have always been my focus, and I love getting to take that passion for helping people into the commercial real estate world.”

Kimberly Clark is the first professional to be highlighted in our Broker Profile series. Additional broker profiles are scheduled over the next few months. Check back to see who we highlight next.