SPOTLIGHT ON: Eugenia Foxworth
Mary Prenon | July 9, 2021
A Woman of Many Talents
Eugenia Foxworth recently had the distinction of being named president of FIABCI-USA, the global business networking organization for all professionals associated with the real estate industry. The owner of Foxworth Real Estate in Manhattan, she is also the first African American person elected to this position.
While she has excelled in the real estate profession for more than 20 years, Foxworth also harbors several hidden talents—she was the proprietor of a fine arts gallery on Manhattan’s Upper East side, the owner of a national skin care line, a graduate of Drexel University with a degree in engineering, and a survivor of a virus that attacked her heart at a young age.
Growing up in the United Kingdom, Foxworth was exposed to the arts early on, traveling everywhere throughout Europe and the Middle East. When faced with an unknown virus affecting her heart, a doctor told her she may be limited in what she could do, but he also told her to do whatever she wanted. “That’s how I got into art,” she recalled. “I guess I became a fine arts dealer without realizing I was becoming a fine arts dealer!”
After returning to the U.S., Foxworth attended Drexel University in Philadelphia, where she studied engineering. But after graduating, she returned to the art world. “I never practiced engineering,” she admitted. “I have a funny little mind and get bored easily, so I just went back to what I really loved.”
Ironically, it was her love of the arts that eventually led her to real estate. By then, her Foxworth Gallery on East 65th Street in Manhattan was doing so well that she was looking for a new, larger space. Her location request was specific—East 57th to 79th streets between Madison and Park avenues. “The Realtors I was working with kept taking me to the West Side and were showing me second and third floor options,” she recalled. Frustrated that they weren’t finding what she wanted, Foxworth decided to do it herself by getting her own real estate license.
She took an accelerated course, passed the New York State exam and got her license, starting out with a smaller brokerage in the city. “I stayed only about a month and then one day, walking down the street, I saw a Coldwell Banker office on Columbus Avenue and they were having a great cocktail party inside,” she remembered. “I walked in, introduced myself and shortly afterward I was working with them.”
Foxworth stayed with Coldwell Banker until 2006, then opened her own firm, Foxworth Real Estate, in 2008. “It was when the bottom fell out of real estate, so it probably wasn’t the best time to do this,” she said. Deciding on a business location came easily when a friend suggested the New York Women’s Chamber of Commerce building in Harlem. “I didn’t really know Harlem, so I decided to stay for only two years,” she said. “Well, I fell in love with it and I’m still here today.”
Foxworth is noted for successfully helping homeowners there save their brownstone properties from foreclosure. “One should really know their community and I helped to educate people who were purchasing or already purchased homes,” she said. Foxworth charged nothing for her service. “I did it for free because I wanted to let them know what to do, how to get renters for properties, how to budget and where to get financial assistance,” she added.
As a result, Foxworth was honored as a “Woman of Excellence” by the New York Women’s Chamber of Commerce and Real Estate Agent Advisor highlighted her as “One of the Phenomenal Women in Real Estate.”
Foxworth describes her firm as a “boutique” agency that goes far beyond your typical residential properties. She’s handled sales and rentals of everything from churches, to schools and spas. She also makes it a point to sponsor many local events. “Wherever you are, you need to give back to the community,” she said.
Eventually, she sold the arts business, as well as a skin care line that she developed some years earlier. Foxworth got the idea after attending a fashion show in SoHo, and received a gift bag with skincare products. “I just couldn’t find them in the stores so I called the phone number on the box and ended up buying the company,” she said.
Foxworth expanded the line nationally, with J.C. Penny carrying some of the products. The U.S. government even bought a shaving cream product that was sold in every commissary.
Her first introduction to FIABCI was quite by accident. While still with Coldwell Banker, she was tinkering on the computer one evening and something popped up about a FIABCI event. “It sounded interesting so I attended. After that, I was hooked, going to events at all different places, having delicious food and meeting a lot of new people,” she said.
No stranger to international real estate, Foxworth has listed and sold properties globally, her first one in Acapulco, Mexico. She has traveled extensively and often says it’s probably easier for her to tell people where she hasn’t been yet.
Foxworth joined FIABCI in 2001 and four years later, became the local president of the tri-state area. In fact, she even credits FIABCI with helping her to start her own agency. “At one point, I had a FIABCI intern working with me and one day she actually said to me ‘Why don’t you just open your own company’ and so I did,” she quipped.
As the new FIABCI-USA president, her first goal is to get more exposure for the organization. “Very few people know about us even though we’re in 65 countries,” she noted. Foxworth hired a public relations firm and wants to spread the news around the globe. She is also starting a podcast that will cover all topics—not just real estate. “This is perfect timing because Diana Ross just released a new album and a lot of people think I look like her!”
Founded in 1951 in Paris, FIABCI has provided access and opportunities for real estate professionals interested in gaining knowledge, sharing information and conducting international business with each other. “One aspect of our work is affordable housing and I want to go beyond the minimal percentage of affordable housing that a city may allocate,” she explained. In addition, FIABCI offers scholarship opportunities to universities. “I’d like to focus on the smaller colleges and universities because that’s where we’ll find students pursuing real estate or architecture degrees, and will take what they’ve learned back to their communities to help them rebuild.”
Foxworth also serves on several boards related to the real estate industry. In 2019, she was recognized as a “Woman of Courage” by the Harlem Community News and Health First. New York State Assembly Member Inez E. Dickens and Gale A. Brewer, the Manhattan Borough president, also honored Foxworth with certificates of recognition for her dedication and service.
When she’s enjoying some limited free time, you’ll find Foxworth in art galleries and museums, as well as the opera, ballet and jazz clubs. “I have everything I need right here—the theater, fine wine and of course, champagne.”