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 Kofi Nartey:

From the NFL to SOCIETY Real Estate + Development

By: Julie Nelson

“You are your adjectives, not your nouns. We are not defined by the nouns. We are not defined by being a football player. We are not defined by being a dad, a lawyer, an attorney, real estate agent…we are not defined by that. What we are defined by are the adjectives that we bring to those nouns.”

That ‘Kofi-ism’ has been a leading factor for former NFL wide receiver, Kofi Nartey, in maintaining his drive and level of success throughout his professional career.

After suffering a career-ending injury during a stint with the Oakland Raiders in 1998, the Los Angeles native found himself asking the same question many professional athletes are left with at the end of their careers, ‘what am I going to do next?’

“I did not have an immediate ‘Plan B’, said Nartey. “I was kind of left on my own to figure things out. Unfortunately, I also didn’t have mentors or access to some of the programs that are available now.”

For the University of California, Berkeley graduate, it was a time of several different jobs and an exploratory process. He ventured into everything from wealth management to Enterprises’ management training program, and ultimately, made the move to back home to Los Angeles to pursue another passion, acting.

“My first acting job was The Young and the Restless where I played a police officer,” said the former Hollywood actor. “Fast forward, I did a bunch of TV shows and movies which was great. Ultimately, I was starting to look at what was going to be the next career for me. I knew that some of the travel related to the acting was going to be a challenge once I started having children, so I started looking at real estate.”

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Former offensive wide receiver with the Oakland Raiders  (1998).

In 2003, Nartey earned his real estate license and in 2006, added Broker to his portfolio. He began to wind down the acting engagements and was able to focus on real estate where he harnessed a lot of the skills he had already established and built up even as he was pursuing different careers. He would go on to achieve his MBA from Pepperdine in 2012.

He worked for a few different firms and polished his leadership skills managing teams, but still lacked having mentors to help guide him throughout the process. Nartey embraced this challenge and began reading different articles and books just trying to catch up on the knowledge and jargon he needed to know. 

“I call those days the ‘failing forward’ days, where I made a lot of mistakes, but I learned a lot.”

However, he welcomed the adversity and found himself doing what he did to prepare for game days, and ultimately, figured out how to be successful. He has been establishing his brand for over six years now and decided he wanted to start focusing on clientele in the sports and entertainment industry. He prides himself on being sought out by those looking for high levels of access and expertise.

His understanding of the sports and entertainment niche has enabled him to effectively service hundreds of professional athletes, entertainers, and affluent clientele.

“I had a lot of contacts in sports,” said Nartey. “I had a lot of contacts in entertainment. Understanding their lifestyles and how things were different, it was something that I knew. I started thinking about ways to protect them better and really started building a brand.”


CEO & founder of SOCIETY Real Estate + Development, Kofi Nartey, transitioned from Hollywood actor to real estate mogul.

Earlier this year, Nartey launched SOCIETY Real Estate + Development to add broker-owner of his own luxury brokerage firm to his list of accomplishments. He previously served as the director of the Sports and Entertainment Division for the boutique firm The Agency and was a top producer for Keller Williams. He also founded and managed the National Sports and Entertainment division for Compass.

SOCIETY Real Estate + Development is a private real estate firm that offers distinctive services for discerning clients. SOCIETY brings a refined, yet holistic approach to the industry. With over 100 years of combined experience and over $6B in transactional experience, they assist clients in acquiring and selling prestigious properties, while providing unique opportunities to build out real estate portfolios. They understand the luxury lifestyle and deliver it — quickly, efficiently, and elegantly.

Along with his numerous accolades including publishing his book, Sellebrity: How to Build a Successful Sports & Entertainment Based Business, he has made appearances on national television and in media outlets and has been featured as an agent on HGTV’s “Selling LA” and Bravo’s “Million Dollar Listing.”

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Nartey on the set with Vin Diesel during production of The Fast & The Furious.(2001).

When it comes to paying it forward, the leading authority in luxury real estate has taken it upon himself to provide mentorship helping other professional athletes wanting to make a transition into the real estate world by upholding transparency and making sure they understand all aspects of the business and necessary action items.

He is wired to inspire. He is driven daily to not only push himself to realize his full potential but also help others realize their potential. Nartey also believes that at a certain point, you are going to be redefining yourself and there should be a ‘slash’ incorporated into everyday life. However you describe yourself, those are all transferable attributes to another career.

“When I’ve talked to the guys at events, I’ve talked about this concept of ‘slash,’ where even in your nouns it should be slash something else,” said the former wide receiver. “Yes, you are a football player/ businessperson/ father/; whatever those nouns are, but there should be a slash. Then you are going to utilize your adjectives to apply those to a new career choice. The league may take away the title football player, but they don’t take away the man behind the title.”

He emphasizes the importance of hard work, teamwork, and resilience – the things that really play into most careers that one pursues.

“I think that we all have our individual goals and responsibilities and I know that for me,  I’ve had a lot of feedback that what I’m doing and the level I’m doing it at is inspiring to others,” said Nartey. “I know that I have a responsibility to lean into that and push for success and even visibility around that success so people can continue to feel inspired and know that the possibilities are out there. Even in this career that I’m in now, there’s more I want to do. I have a lot more to accomplish and that drives me daily. I also want to create those opportunities for my own family.”

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