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Kathleen and Gibbs appear in the Top 100 People in Real Estate magazine.

Yonce, Kathleen.jpg
Yonce, Kathleen-logo.jpg

Kathleen Yonce, CCIM, MBA, CIPS, RSPS, & Gibbs Baum

A veteran real estate executive, investor, and coach with over 28 years of experience, Kathleen Yonce has worked on more than three million square feet of commercial investment properties valued at over $3 billion. As the founding partner of the full-service firm KEY Group, she works with individuals, entrepreneurs, Fortune 500 companies, and many others to achieve their investment goals in commercial real estate. Along with an MBA from Nova Southeastern University, she holds multiple designations as a certified international property specialist (CIPS), a resort and second-home property specialist (RSPS), a certified commercial investment member (CCIM), and licensed real estate broker.


Since the start of her commercial real estate career in 1993, Kathleen has helped corporate, institutional, and private buyers as well as owners, developers, landlords, and tenants to invest in commercial real estate throughout the state of Florida. In recognition of her expertise and dedication to the industry, she was recognized as an Up and Comer for Commercial Real Estate Development by the South Florida Business Journal and was listed among the Top Women in Commercial Real Estate by the Florida Real Estate Journal.


As the other half of this extraordinary duo, Gibbs Baum is a licensed real estate agent, broker, and residential investment coach. With over 16 years of direct real estate experience and a business degree from the University of Central Florida, he averages more than 100 transactions per year valued at over $45 million. He is also a successful real estate investor—profiting from purchase-to-rent-or-flip, high-end residential investments in land, and residential income property throughout Florida and the Carolinas.


Kathleen and Gibbs recently launched an innovative digital platform called KEY Arena to assist foreign nationals in investing in real estate within the U.S.


The Top 100 Magazine had the opportunity to speak with them to learn more about their thriving firms and how they deliver extraordinary value in helping international investors through their groundbreaking platform.


Let’s begin with KEY Arena. What does this exciting new platform have to offer?


Kathleen: The KEY Arena platform came about as a result of our respective experience in Florida real estate, which has a consistent influx of international investors from all over the world. Gibbs and I also both work with international brokerage brands and have a massive global network through those brands. We have both seen the disadvantages faced by foreign nationals who come to the U.S. to invest. We have seen them grapple with the challenges of learning new practices, markets, and finding the right professionals, and many times we have seen this go incredibly wrong. Unfortunately, they are often presented with the worst deals on the market because they lack adequate market knowledge and local industry connections. Most importantly, they don’t have access to off-market or pre-market deals, like we do.

So, KEY Arena is the digital platform designed to make the process of investing in the U.S. a more successful, profitable, and enjoyable experience by educating foreign investors. KEY Arena provides international investors with access to EXPERT knowledge, coaching, training, and solid execution assistance with U.S. corporate and real estate transactions and investment opportunities. Anyone who becomes trained in the KEY Arena, our KEY Players, will be ready to play on a level playing field. They will be ready to play successfully with a team of expert coaches that remain committed to their success.

Gibbs: The professionals on our coaching teams have an exceptional experience level. The professional certifications we have earned are a testimony to the quality of the individuals our KEY Players will have as coaches through learning the game of real estate investing. We collectively hold more than 125 years of combined experience, having been involved in over $3 Billion in commercial investment and over $250 Million in residential investments. Our international brokerage brands: Sotheby’s International in residential sales and Sperry Commercial Global Affiliates in commercial sales, offer real-time global reach so that our KEY Players, from anywhere in the world, can invest, anywhere in the U.S., with us on their team throughout the entire process.  This also includes immigration expertise from the beginning as well, should they choose to have a long-term desire to migrate to the U.S.

Kathleen: We also curate our own investment opportunities. Our Sperry Commercial Global Affiliates has a team specializing in business acquisition opportunities and our executive and investment teams identify investment worthy projects of all types. KEY Players, who turn out to be VIP players through commitment to learning from our programs, will ultimately be invited to have the opportunity to be our Partners on our investments. These investments are currently funded by us, wealthy individuals, and private investment groups. Our KEY VIP Players will have the first opportunity to participate, along with us, in the investments. These will be investments that are never publicly offered. So, individuals can participate in profitable investments at smaller capital increments than carrying an investment on their own, if desirable.


What are the main goals of the platform?


Kathleen: KEY Arena’s motto is “Unlocking Your American Dream.” Our highest aim is to motivate and inspire people that have been watching on the sidelines for years- wishing they had the knowledge, connections, and ability to act- to finally take that step with us as their coaches. People dreaming of the American dream now have a partner to make it happen. Once we inspire them to take that first step to join us, we will see them through to making it happen. The platform works under three main levels of engagement:  train them to invest wisely, customize a strategic plan with their long-term immigration goals in mind, and present them with resources and connections so they may participate in profitable deals that meet their ideal American investment parameters.


Are there any prerequisites they must meet before participating?


Gibbs: They simply have to come ready to learn and willing to invest in the knowledge to get in the game and play. But we have made that super easy and manageable, from a financial and time commitment perspective. They will avoid so many of the mistakes that first time investors make, especially foreign investors, and therefore save a HUGE amount of time and money.


And where do the investors go once they have completed the training program?


Kathleen: It really depends on where they WANT to go. We are helping them realize THEIR dreams, it’s all customized to fit their desires, preferences, geographical, investment type, etc. We cover the full spectrum of investment types and span the entire Country through our international brokerage brands. We also begin with their immigration desires in mind, and have many investment types and avenues we can point them down depending on their available capital and risk/return desires, etc. If they want to invest in existing business operations and migrate within the next two years, we can help them with that too. It is THEIR dream, not ours, we are here to educate coach, and support them in making it happen.


Gibbs: But, if they become a VIP Player, they will be offered the first come, first serve opportunities to invest in a myriad of deals that they would never have the opportunity to see elsewhere, and frankly, nobody does, because we grab them before they ever “see the street”. Our KEY Players, once fully trained, will have the opportunity to experience front row seats for all of our deals. That’s an exciting opportunity. In my business today, the most frequent complaint I personally hear now is “why didn’t you let me in that deal?” So, if at the end of our training, they don’t want to go out and procure their own, they can sit in the ARENA with us and get a front row seat to view the deals we are investing in before we offer them to our outside Partners, and participate if they want, or wait for the next deal we present.


It sounds like KEY Arena will certainly help to give foreign investors the opportunity to level the playing field in participating in American investments. What does your firm, KEY Group, do outside of working with foreign nationals?


Kathleen: KEY Group‘s daily operations include our brokerage operations that spans all facets of commercial investment—identifying all types of investments for a wide range of investors through our Sperry Commercial Global Affiliates brokerage, which has 57 offices throughout the United States. Our development team orchestrates the acquisition and development process for industrial and other development projects. Our design partner has completed over 30 million square feet of interior design, and our current design-build team is working on industrial, condominium, and residential construction projects. We completed over 1.2 million square feet in ground up development in 2021 and we are actively pursuing projects that will total over 10 million square feet of space over the next 10 years.


Gibbs, how about you and your Sotheby’s team?


Gibbs: Our Sotheby’s International residential investment team has experienced our best year ever in 2021. On our investment portfolio of properties, we procured and invested in for sale; we sold three investor units in the 4th quarter last year for 40% return on investment. We are filming on our most recent beachfront conversion units next week that will be featured on the KEY Arena website. It’s a perfect representation of what we can do on a smaller scale for direct investors, which was a really fun, successful, and quick deal.


You are both clearly exceptional in what you do and committed to your clients. What brought you together for this venture?

Kathleen: We already invest together. Since we both operate under international brands and see the tragic waste of time and money that some investors face, we were both inspired to create this solution. We strive to make our Partners and Clients happy at a level that we do not find often in the marketplace. We are not transaction focused- we are partner focused whether it is someone we invest with or work for. We also thrive on long-term relationships, and we understand that the only way those relationships work is by creating satisfactory outcomes for our clients. We focus on win/win relationships. And what better way to make a win for someone than making their American dream come true?

Gibbs: Our backgrounds are different, and our brains operate a little differently, which is why it is a good partnership. Kathleen relies on her commercial experience, making details matter on large scale development projects and articulating with spreadsheets and numbers. I simply have a lot of vision on a property’s potential, and I understand the nuts and bolts of how to take “the potential” and turn it into “reality” with redesign and remodel. Lastly, I have a solid gut feel from being on the front lines of a tremendous number of residential investment transactions. So, our two different perspectives and approaches create a great balance through transactions which allows vision to guide our actions, but our relationships, diligence and experience come together to produce outstanding results.



Kathleen Yonce, CCIM, MBA, CIPS, RSPS

Gibbs Baum

KEY Group

851 Broken Sound Parkway NW, Suite 115

Boca Raton, FL 33487










Click on the cover to download the magazine.

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