About Sonny Kalsi
With over two decades of experience in real estate and finance, Sonny Kalsi is the consummate investment professional. Prior to founding real estate investment management firm GreenOak Real Estate, he spent 18 years at Morgan Stanley, where he worked his way up the ranks to become the Managing Director and Global Head of the Real Estate Investment division.
At Morgan Stanley, Sonny Kalsi oversaw private equity real estate investing which included staff of over 1,000 professionals, and played a pivotal role in building the division into the leading real estate platform. Ultimately, Mr. Kalsi and his team were responsible for the management of $100 billion in assets across 33 countries.
Though Sonny never tired of global investing, expanding into new markets, or living and working in diverse cities and cultures, he had always wanted to be an entrepreneur and take on the challenge of starting his own company. As such, he left to go out on his own–no easy task in a greatly shrunken market dominated by a handful of massive multinational corporations.
GreenOak Real Estate
Undeterred, Sonny Kalsi pushed ahead, founding GreenOak Real Estate in 2010. Even in the aftermath of the Great Financial Crisis, he saw opportunities not simply to pick up assets at a discount, but to hire seasoned finance and real estate professionals who wanted to leave risk-averse bureaucratic corporations for a more dynamic, entrepreneurial environment.
During his career, Sonny Kasli has had the opportunity to live and work in cities across four continents, including Sydney, Tokyo, Los Angeles, and London. From his time overseas, Sonny understood where to execute the best investment platforms possible, and with the help of his co-founders, set up GreenOak’s offices in order to take advantage of the best real estate opportunities.
Today, Sonny Kalsi is a founding partner of GreenOak, where he organizes and oversees self-sufficient country teams that leverage the firm’s biggest asset: its seasoned management team. At GreenOak, Sonny puts his strategic thinking and business judgment to good use, implementing key changes, such as shortening the investment period and fund lives on major projects, and pioneering a decentralized approach that allows for significant adaptability.
GreenOak’s flexible structure and niche market, along with the deep experience of GreenOak’s senior executives and partners, has generated impressive results in only six years’ time: today, the firm manages an astounding $6.8 billion of assets, has raised a further $5.1 billion of equity as of June 2016, and continues its strategic investments into global markets.
Philanthropy and personal life
As the proud father of two children, Sonny believes strongly in encouraging youth to live their lives fully, and to reach newer and greater heights. Towards that end, he feels that education is key to social, personal, and political transformation, and he works with a number of progressive groups dedicated to social change and educational empowerment.
Sonny is a board member of PowHerFul, an organization which offers comprehensive college scholarships to disadvantaged young women; TeachingMatters, an educational nonprofit dedicated to developing, retaining, and advocating for excellent teachers; and Room to Read, a literacy NGO which has built 10,000 libraries and schools across Asia and Africa.
In addition, Sonny is an adjunct professor at Columbia University, and has lectured at Georgetown, his alma mater. Sonny is driven to give back to the institutions which have allowed him to live a vibrant, dynamic life, and to prepare the next generations to do the same on their own terms.
Sonny Kalsi is also a trustee of the Asia Society, a global organization dedicated to strengthening ties and understanding between East and West; the Spence School, an academically rigorous private institution in Manhattan; and a member of the Urban Land Institute (ULI), a nonprofit forum specializing in sustainable land use and real estate development.