ALUMNI SPOTLIGHT - Louise Phillips Forbes '81

I was a part of the second graduating class from FRA in 1981 and was prepared and excited to take off to the University of Tennessee, where I pursed a career in special education while minoring in Dance. I received a scholarship for dance, which then led to dancing in two small companies and was incredibly fulfilling. In between all that, I used to do a lot of catering, modeling, and provide creative movement programs for special needs children. It took me a little bit, but I finally left my roots in Tennessee to try the big lights of New York City in 1989 with $800 in my pocket. 

My brother Donald was living in New York City working as a real estate agent and running the medical division for Helmsley Spear. He helped me get a tiny apartment on Second Avenue where I felt like I had to walk up 900 steps to get to my place on the top floor. After what felt like a million auditions, I found myself with a back injury that forced me to change my dance plans. That’s when I fell into real estate. After entering real estate, I quickly realized that I had found my true passion. In that first year, I made $8,400. Fast forward to today, and I’m the number one sales broker at Halstead Real Estate, the largest privately held real estate company in New York City.

With my career sales approaching $4 billion, I feel honored to be considered one of the elite power brokers in Manhattan. I—along with my team—get to serve buyers, sellers, and developers throughout Manhattan, from my Upper West Side neighborhood to Wall Street, and everywhere in between. Whether I’m working in luxury residential sales or a new development project, I enjoy building relationships and being an educator instead of a salesperson. I’m proud to serve as a trusted resource with a reputation for my market knowledge, passion, and professionalism. Most of all, my fulfillment comes not from the fascination of brick and mortar or even the fantastic New York architecture, but because real estate is truly the business of people.

For me, it is a privilege to play a part in the building blocks of someone’s life. After all, your home is the base on which the rest of your life is built. When I’m not running around the streets of Manhattan negotiating deals, I am a wife and busy mother of two sons, both of whom play hockey. As a family, we love to surf all over the world—especially Montauk—and our motto is, if we can play together then we get to stay together. You can also find me spinning at my local SoulCycle, where I get to groove to the beats with my celebrity instructor Stacey Griffith and friends. I’m also an active board member for Change for Kids, a nonprofit that provides cultural arts programs for inner-city elementary schools, enriching children’s educational experience and path to success.