What Motivates You Most?
With McKenzie Ryan
Introduce yourself! Who are you?
Hi there! I am McKenzie Ryan. I am a 26 year old native New Yorker and business women! I have been in business since I was 4 years old and training as a gymnast for the Olympics. I have long viewed my life as the Olympics: an incredible opportunity to perform, compete, excel and win. I sell real estate at Compass and started in the industry at 15, and own a popular French fry shop called FryGuys. In my free time, I work to save New York’s historic buildings and businesses and write a lot about the city’s history. At the end of the day, however; I am someone who lives to create beautiful things and use my business acumen to make them financially successful.
What is one thing no one really knows about you?
I don’t think most people know how silly and sweet I am. I love to make people laugh and I love to love people. I am deeply affectionate and caring in my personal life.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
Two pieces have been vitally important:
When I was 4 years old, I stood poolside with my back to the pool getting ready to do a back dive. My mom asked what I was doing and I exclaimed with all the enthusiasm in the world, “a back dive, mommy.” When she asked where I learned to do such a thing, I said “I didn’t, I’m just going to face my fears and do it.” Facing my fears and jumping, sometimes backwards, has to be the single most attributing factor to the woman I am today.
When I walked on stage to receive my high school diploma, the headmaster told me to keep pushing the envelope.
What would you say to 16 year old you?
No one tells you this, but growing up is really tough and you’re doing a good job.
What is your greatest fear?
My greatest fear has always been looking back in 10 years and realizing that I never did “it”.
Have you ever had anyone doubt you? How did that make you feel?
I am sure people have doubted me. But I don’t think about them, it’s a waste of time. It also means I’m not focusing on my future, and that is what doubt is designed to do.
What message do you think every woman should hear?
It’s a quote from Mad Men that I found incredibly insightful.
“You have to start living the life of the person you want to be. No one will tell you this, but you can’t be a man, don’t even try. Be a women. It’s a powerful business when done correctly.”
What is your favorite thing about where you live?
The beautiful architecture, the story of every street, the never ending possibilities to be anything or anybody. I walk out of my building most days and say “hello New York!”
What do you love most about yourself?
My resiliency and my positive spirit towards life.
Why do you love to travel?
It gives me so much perspective. We often become so involved in our own lives that we forget there’s a whole other world out there with people living their lives across the world. I also love food, sunsets and swimming.
What motivates you most?
The idea that the sky’s the limit. I can be anything in this lifetime, but it’s up to me to do it.
What is your favorite meal?
I love a cheeseburger with sautéed onions, mozzarella cheese and crispy french fries.
What do you do on a daily basis to grow and move forward?
I dream on a daily basis, strategize and push forward. If I’m most focused on my dreams then there’s little room for doubt or failure.
What is one thing people would be surprised to hear about you?
That I am a classically trained ballerina and am a New York City historian.
If you weren’t doing the job you have now, what would you be doing?
Well, realistically, I would have continued training as a rhythmic gymnast and gone to the Olympics. Ideally, I would love to write history books about New York, give lectures and design exhibits.
What is something on your bucket list?
I want to swim in every ocean around the world! I am most at peace with myself and the universe when I am swimming. You get to enjoy so many of earths natural elements.
Where do you find inspiration?
I find inspiration in beautiful architecture and history. New York City architecture is so closely tied to history that the buildings themselves tell a story. I love knowing that history because I see, experience and value the city far differently than most.
What are your biggest passions?
My biggest passion is to be a notable and valuable part of New York’s society. I am working to get there through my work in real estate, restaurants and historic preservation. I think it’s going pretty well so far!