Kalonji Foreman is like a machine — when he puts his mind to something, an uncanny level of focus, drive, and determination gets triggered inside of him and he doesn’t stop until his objective is achieved.
These qualities were cultivated in Kalonji at a young age, growing up in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. It started when his mother introduced him to boxing in his freshman year of high school and he went under the wing of his coach, Leroy Harris. Kalonji’s mother, Dr. Darrel Steward, also provided an example of diligence, sacrifice, and commitment to personal growth and development that was a continual source of inspiration to him.
“I owe everything I am to my mother for the lessons she taught me in life, in addition to her example of sacrifice, hard work, and growth. Coach Harris also played a huge part in shaping who I was and who I was to be,” Kalonji explains. “My discipline comes from boxing and my time with Coach. He helped cultivate the drive, determination, and focus that I took from boxing and now apply to all other aspects of my life.”
Kalonji did exceptionally well as a boxer and earned a college scholarship. While boxing in college, he was approached by a friend to do a modeling gig for a billboard. After the billboard launched, his career as a model took off. As his life became inundated with photoshoots, traveling, commercials, runway shows, and billboards, he ended up leaving school to pursue a career as a model.
Inspired by his mother earning her Ph.D., however, Kalonji decided to return to school and obtained a degree in communications from Temple University in 2005, and later earned his master’s degree in multicultural education from Eastern University. Kalonji’s mother was a teacher, and she planted the seed of education in him early on, which, in addition to Coach Harris’ mentorship, inspired Kalonji to become a teacher as well. “I became a teacher to give back to the community that raised me. I wanted to invest in the youth the same way my mother and my coach invested in me,” Kalonji explains.
Kalonji was teaching science at a middle school in Philadelphia when a longtime friend of his, a real estate agent in the D.C. metro area, encouraged him to become a REALTOR®, giving him an opportunity to come work at her brokerage, A-K Real Estate.
Although Kalonji had been investing in real estate since his modeling days, his initial reaction to becoming a Realtor was, “Why would I do that? I went to grad school to become a teacher.” But the more he thought about it, the more he liked the idea of teaching people about real estate, helping them achieve the American dream of home ownership and creating generational wealth.
Wanting to make sure he could survive in D.C. as a Realtor, Kalonji left everything he had in Philadelphia and moved into his cousin Shawnda’s one-bedroom condo, where he slept on her couch for several months. He used the Metro and Uber for transportation to showings, sometimes renting a car if he had multiple properties to show clients. “I was always very calculated and frugal, so purchasing a car was not my priority, and my old car could not make the trip,” he recalls. “I had to be creative and resourceful.”
Although Kalonji was new to the area, new to this aspect of real estate, and didn’t know anyone, he was determined to make it. He became a student of the business, developed strong negotiation skills, and started forming lasting friendships with his clients as he committed to being their “Realtor for life.” “I want to get the best possible deal for my clients, to help them create generational wealth and build their investment portfolio,” he says.
Kalonji’s background in teaching was an inherent boon to his real estate business, as he was going from teaching children to teaching adults about interest rates, return on investments, first-time home buying, property appreciation, and investment properties. The teacher in him also led Kalonji to starting his own team, where he could begin mentoring and teaching other agents. The Foreman Properties Group was formed with Compass in 2019 and, today, consists of seven agents, including Kalonji’s cousin, Shawnda, whose sacrifice early in his career made it all possible.
Passionate about his team members’ continued growth, Kalonji continues to educate himself by taking classes to learn new things that he can then take back to his teammates. “I want things to be seamless for my team, to have a streamlined and refined system that will allow them to thrive in any market,” he explains. “Without an evolving system in place, you can plateau as an agent. Top-producing Realtors are there because of the systems they have in place to generate that level of performance. You don’t rise to the level of your goals; you fall to the level of your systems.”
When Kalonji isn’t trying to help others find success in life through real estate, he enjoys playing chess with friends, and finds cooking to be very therapeutic. He always has team meetings at his place so he can cook for everyone.
As Kalonji continues to aim his focus and determination towards his team and clients, committing his mind and heart to their personal and professional success, he will continue to achieve great things doing what Coach Harris and his mother did for him — providing a system of success that will forever change a life.