Allen Grinberg: Be the Spark

Humor humanizes, it brings people together and breaks down barriers.


Allen Grinberg began his career in commercial real estate with a focus on helping corporations save money. Over his 26 years, he has worked with a range of companies from rapidly growing start-ups to some of the country’s most respected brands. Now, Allen serves as Principal in our Downtown Toronto office.As a result of his exceptionally broad experience, Allen advised and managed many major corporate accounts including Panasonic, Royal Bank of Canada, Motion Picture Association to name a few. His outgoing and endearing personality lets clients feel at ease yet gives them comfort that they are in good hands as Allen delivers creative solutions to his client’s business challenges.

Previously Allen managed sales and marketing for an international tire recycling firm. Overseeing environmental concerns, he worked with large corporate entities and governmental agencies, at the municipal, provincial/state and federal levels.  This experience gave him unparalleled expertise in relating with the multifaceted and multi-tiered corporate and government organizations.

Since 2002, Allen has served on the board of governors for the Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center for Holocaust Studies. He also served as the Head convener for the Forest Hill Hockey Association from 2001-2018, as well as the master of ceremonies for various charity organizations. In 2007, Allen was declared NAIOP’s ‘Rex Award’ winner.

In this episode: 

  • Using humor can help build rapport and make clients feel comfortable. 
  • Authenticity and confidence are key in connecting with clients and colleagues. 
  • Humor can be a valuable tool in team building and mentoring younger professionals. 
  • Knowing your audience and understanding when and how to use humor is crucial. 
  • Building genuine relationships and treating others with respect is essential for success.

Notable Quotes: 

  • “People gravitate to people that are comfortable in their own skin.” 
  • “Know your audience, know how to play people, know when to be funny, know when to be appropriate, know when to be serious.” 
  • “Be nice to people, it really comes back around.” 
  • “We have to be that magnet, that spark that comes into the room.” 


The Power of Authenticity and Humor in Leadership with Alan Grinberg

In the fast-paced world of commercial real estate, building strong relationships with clients is essential. One way to connect with clients and make them feel comfortable is through the use of humor. Allen Grinberg, a principal at Avis and Young, understands the power of humor in the C-suite. In this article, we will explore how Allen uses humor to connect with clients, build strong teams, and navigate the ever-changing landscape of the real estate industry. 

Building Rapport with Clients 

When working with high-end corporate clients, it’s important to establish a sense of trust and rapport. Allen believes that humor can play a key role in achieving this. By using humor, Allen is able to put clients at ease and create a more relaxed and enjoyable atmosphere. He understands that people are more likely to gravitate towards those who are comfortable in their own skin and can make them feel comfortable as well. 

Alan’s outgoing and enduring personality allows clients to feel at ease and gives them the confidence that they are in good hands. By delivering creative solutions to his clients’ business challenges, Allen is able to build strong relationships and help his clients achieve their goals. 

Team Building and Creating a Positive Work Environment 

In addition to using humor with clients, Allen also recognizes the importance of humor in team building and creating a positive work environment. He believes that people who are comfortable in their own skin and can bring a sense of levity to the workplace are more likely to be successful. 

Alan’s leadership style is characterized by his ability to connect with his team and make them feel valued and included. He understands that humor can be a powerful tool for team building, as it helps to break down barriers and foster a sense of camaraderie. By creating a positive and fun work environment, Allen is able to motivate his team and inspire them to do their best work. 

Navigating the Changing Landscape of the Real Estate Industry 

The real estate industry has undergone significant changes in recent years, particularly in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. With more people working remotely and the rise of virtual meetings, the way business is conducted has shifted. Allen has had to adapt to these changes and find new ways to connect with clients and win their trust. 

Using humor in virtual meetings and phone calls has become even more important in this new landscape. Allen understands that people are craving connection and a sense of normalcy, and humor can help to provide that. By infusing humor into his interactions with clients, Allen is able to create a more enjoyable and memorable experience, even in a virtual setting. 


Humor can be a powerful tool in the C-suite, helping to build rapport with clients, create a positive work environment, and navigate the changing landscape of the real estate industry. Allen Grinberg’s use of humor in his interactions with clients and his team has allowed him to build strong relationships and achieve success in his career. By understanding his audience and using humor appropriately, Allen is able to connect with others on a deeper level and make a lasting impact. So, the next time you find yourself in a professional setting, don’t be afraid to bring a little humor to the table. You never know how it might help you connect with others and achieve your goals. 

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