SPOTLIGHT ON: MacKenzie Forsberg
Mary Prenon | January 12, 2022
A Career of a Lifetime
As a 17-year-old high school senior, MacKenzie Forsberg, never imagined her part-time job as a file clerk in a real estate office would one day turn into an opportunity to sit at the helm of the firm. Fast-forward 20 years, and today Forsberg is one of three Principals of Genesis Realty Group in the Bronx.
Even when she left for Binghamton University to study psychology, the thought of one day helping to run the company was not on her radar. However, while she was in college, the partners would continue to mail her some work and she would return there every time she was home on a break.
As fate would have it, when she graduated, the company was expanding, purchasing and building properties in the Bronx and Manhattan, and were hiring more staff to help manage those properties. “At first I didn’t’ think there would be a future for me there, but as it turns out, I loved the business and the entrepreneurial spirit of real estate, along with the fast-paced property management aspect,” recalled Forsberg.
It didn’t take her long to decide to stay in the business. “I actually had a check written out for graduate school, but at that point, I already knew I wouldn’t be going,” she said. Forsberg quickly acclimated to her new role, becoming a licensed real estate broker and adding Spanish classes into the mix so she could better serve her clients. “I didn’t speak any Spanish at all at first, but now I’d say I’m very proficient—not fluent—but proficient.”
As a young woman in this normally male-dominated profession, Forsberg let nothing stop her—even the recession of 2008. “I remember we couldn’t get construction financing for new buildings and things were kind of chaotic, but we were able to pivot to third party management,” she explained. As a result, they began ramping up their code enforcement services as well, checking for violations and compliance, and practically quadrupled their portfolio.
Rebranded in 2017, Genesis Realty Group LLC (GRG) has owned and managed real estate in metropolitan New York for more than 30 years. Its portfolio consists of approximately 2,500 multifamily and commercial units throughout the New York metropolitan area, with more than $350 million to $400 million in real estate holdings. The company provides full-service property and asset management services to ensure that buildings are properly maintained in accordance with New York City Housing Codes, Rental Guidelines, and Health and Safety standards.
Today, Genesis’ buildings include large multi-family market-rate and rent-regulated properties in the Bronx, Manhattan and Westchester, as well as investment properties in Newburgh, Kingston and Poughkeepsie. In addition, the company manages some smaller three-family units, as well as office properties.
Most of Forsberg’s time is spent spearheading business development and new property management acquisitions, assisting in underwriting and financing for new acquisitions and refinances, and overseeing property and regulatory operations. She also leads the firm’s Green Management initiatives such as steam-to-gas hydronic boiler conversions, solar panel installations and lighting retrofits.
A Bronx native, Forsberg now lives in Yonkers and has served on the city’s Planning Board for three years. “Yonkers is a development-friendly city and it’s really exciting to be involved in planning its future,” she added. “While Yonkers is large, it can also feel like a smaller town with residential, commercial and a little bit of everything.”
This year also marks Forsberg’s first time serving on the HGAR Board of Directors. “This association is very aligned with how I like to see things run and I’m so happy to be part of its growth,” she said. Forsberg also served as a director with the former Bronx Manhattan-North Association of Realtors, prior to its merger with HGAR.
For 2022, Forsberg looks forward to having more events in the Bronx and Manhattan and helping the New York City and New York state real estate communities be more more unified. “We can’t operate separately anymore—we’re stronger together,” she said.
Forsberg is also involved in HGAR’s Leadership Accelerator Program and will complete the course this spring. “I love it and I wish we had this type of program when I was younger,” she added.
One of her personal goals is mentoring young women who want to get into the property management industry. “No one gets anywhere without mentorship, and when I was younger, I didn’t’ see a future for me in this industry, but I was fortunate to have my two partners mentoring me,” she said. Genesis did have an internship program with Fordham University prior to COVID, and Forsberg plans to start it up again when the threat of the virus is over.
In her spare time, she is involved with the Community Housing Improvement Program, as well as the Business Council of Westchester, and many Women-in-Business organizations. But her top priority is spending time with her twin six-year-old girls, Logan and Riley.
As for her psychology background, Forsberg admits she does use it quite often. “About 70% of my tenancy is lower income housing on subsidized programs, and rent regulations can be very confusing,” she said. “I think I’ve been able to forge much stronger relationships with our residents, and that elevates customer service to a new level that you don’t find at every property management office.”