Avison Young appoints its first female Managing Director in Canada
April 12, 2023
Jessica Toppazzini will lead the Vancouver office as MD Michael Keenan retires
Vancouver, B.C. – Avison Young is pleased to appoint its first female Managing Director (“MD”) at the market level in Canada as Jessica Toppazzini takes the helm from retiring MD Michael Keenan in the Vancouver office.
Toppazzini first joined Avison Young in January 2022 to build the Valuation & Advisory team as Senior Vice President & Practice Leader British Columbia. During that time, she has grown the valuation and advisory platform across the province, guiding business strategies and complex valuation services.
“Jessica represents a new wave of leadership at Avison Young, demonstrating an exceptional laser-focus on exceeding goals, and thinking critically and strategically – which makes her a natural successor for Michael Keenan,” said Mark Fieder, Principal and President of Avison Young in Canada. “I look forward to watching Jessica leverage her expertise to support the Vancouver brokerage team and work with our non-brokerage service lines to deliver positive results.”
Toppazzini will focus on business development, prioritizing initiatives that expand the firm’s reach and brand in the marketplace, and increase revenue. With an emphasis on team building and professional development, she will strive to find new ways to help the team thrive and generate more wins through the use of the firm’s occupier services platform and cutting-edge technology, AVANT by Avison Young. Toppazzini’s objective is to continue to build upon Avison Young’s integrated, holistic offering for clients, helping her team partner with service lines and experts across the country and around the world.
Although a first for Canada, Toppazzini is not the first female MD for the firm elsewhere in the world: Avison Young proudly has a total of 10 female MDs leading major markets in the United States, United Kingdom, and Germany. The firm’s commitments to champion women through diversity, equity and inclusion are not just words, but are intentional and deliberate actions taken across all areas.
“I am proud to have become the first female Managing Director for Avison Young in Canada – it’s a great accomplishment,” said Toppazzini. “I am thrilled to embark on a new journey and use this opportunity to showcase my dedication to empowering women in their careers. I look forward to leading the team, and collaborating with them on new perspectives and opportunities.”
Keenan retires from Avison Young after 12 years as Principal and MD, and more than 40 years in the industry. Since joining in 2009, he made key contributions toward the growth and overall success of the firm in the city and broader B.C. market – having been recognized among the Most Influential Business Leaders in British Columbia by Business in Vancouver. Says Fieder, “Michael is a shining example of what it means to be a true partner, and his counsel and insights have been invaluable.”
"As I’ve been preparing for retirement, I’ve paused to look back and ask myself if what I leave behind is in better shape than when I first started – and if I’m leaving it in the right hands," said Keenan. "The answers are, ‘I would like to think so and emphatically yes.’ The Vancouver office is firmly positioned to provide insightful, unique service that exceeds client needs – and they will most definitely do this under Jessica’s new leadership."
Avison Young creates real economic, social and environmental value as a global real estate advisor, powered by people. As a private company, our clients collaborate with an empowered partner who is invested in their success. Our integrated talent realizes the full potential of real estate by using global intelligence platforms that provide clients with insights and advantage. Together, we can create healthy, productive workplaces for employees, cities that are centers for prosperity for their citizens, and built spaces and places that create a net benefit to the economy, the environment and the community.
Avison Young is a 2022 winner of the Canada's Best Managed Companies Platinum Club designation, having retained its Best Managed designation for 11 consecutive years.