Sarah Knauer, a sales partner at Amalfi Estates, will be installed as the Chamber of Commerce’s 67th Chair on January 30 at the Woman’s Club.
At 27, she is the youngest businessperson to take on that role in the Chamber’s history.
“My focus will be on bringing value to our members with events that benefit each member,” Knauer told Circling the News. “We need the community to make the business successful.”
Those who have come into contact with this determined and intelligent woman know she will bring new energy to the board.
Knauer’s path into real estate was circuitous.
One of three children, her parents had shopped all over the Valley to find the perfect house, and after about six years, finally made a down payment on a home in a subdivision.
The family was camping at Leo Carrillo beach and school was about to start, but the house was not ready, so Knauer’s father looked at open houses near the school they wanted the kids to attend. He found one in the Westlake area that bordered on Agoura.
The family ended up living there and the parents opened Knauer School of Music. Sarah started taking piano lessons when she was three.
While attending Agoura High School, Sarah started giving piano lessons when she was 14. “I earned a lot per hour,” she said, and she continued to teach piano after enrolling at Pepperdine. “I wanted to stay close, because I had about 20 students.”
She said she even considered playing professionally. “It crossed my mind but performing at competitions and recitals was too stressful.”
Knauer can thank her college boyfriend for her current occupation.
“My boyfriend wanted to get his real estate license,” she said, and she thought it would be something fun to do together. Even though they broke up, Knauer did get her license during her senior year of college.
Did the ex-boyfriend get his license?
“I don’t think so,” said Knauer, who has no regrets about their relationship. “I’m so glad because it got me here today.”
After graduating in 2014, Knauer realized that in order to make real estate a full-time career, she needed to work with someone top in the field. “I looked at the top 100 Real Estate Agents listed in the Wall Street Journal and wrote a letter to several asking if I could work for them,” she said. “Anthony replied.”
(Editor’s note: Anthony Marguleas, who founded Amalfi Estates in Pacific Palisades in 1995, regularly makes the WSJ’s list of the top agents in the country.)
Knauer started as Marguleas assistant. “I was doing everything from staging and scheduling to writing ads and counter offers,” she said. “It was the best learning experience I could have ever had.”
She noted that once she was full-time with Amalfi, “I had to let go of my [piano] students. It was a hard decision. I had been doing it for nine years, it was like a career itself.”
In 2016, Knauer became a sales partner at Amalfi. Two years earlier she had been introduced to the Chamber by Marguleas. “I like to volunteer and was generally given more and more responsibilities,” she said. In 2017, she became a Chamber board member.
Knauer starts her day at 6 at the Jonathon Club gym or at Soulcycle, because “I try to be at work at 8 a.m.” The office is quiet then, which allows her to focus, read e-mails and follow up.
She and her fiance, Logan Cahoon, moved to Pacific Palisades last fall. They met in Santa Monica, where he used to be her yoga teacher. Now he has a successful barbeque and catering business (meatheadbbqla.com).
Their wedding is set for November, but that should give Knauer plenty of time to tackle Chamber business. She is looking at a two-year term.
“We’d like to bring in more Chamber sponsors,” she said, and “we hear from many people they want more community history and facts in the Chamber directory [now called “Palisades View”].”
She said that the Chamber is considering who to ask to be the town’s next honorary mayor but acknowledged that anyone taking over for Billy and Janice Crystal “will have big shoes to fill.”
Knauer added, “I’m honored to be able to take this position,” succeeding architect Richard Blumenberg, and she promises to do her best to balance community and business.
Others installed during the ceremony will be executive board members Fay Vahdani (Luxe Home Care), Maria Tapia (Dentistry by Design), Richard Blumenberg (RLB Architecture), Rick Lemmo (Caruso) and Tatyana Yukhtman (Groza Learning Center). Bob Benton is president/CEO.
The next board of directors will include Rony Shram (Palisades Drive, LLP), Denise Mangimelli (Boca Women’s Clothing), Reza Akef (Metro Capital Builders), Peter Garland (Porta Via), Marissa Hermer (The Draycott), Elizabeth Jacobi (MochaBear Marketing), Dana Goldstein (Success Becomes Her), Ramis Sadrieh (Technology For You!) and Sam Lagana (Pepperdine).
If you would like to attend the installation dinner, which will be held at the Woman’s Club from 6 to 9 p.m., tickets can be purchased at business.palisadeschamber.com/events.