Kitay of Savanna: Impressed with women breaking the glass ceiling

June 23, 2015 - Spotlights

Valerie Kitay, Savanna

Name: Valerie Kitay
Title: General Counsel
Company Name: Savanna
Year Founded: 1992
What year did you start your career in commercial real estate: 2003
What recent project or transaction are you most proud of?
Savanna recently sold 1375 Broadway after completing an extensive repositioning effort and transforming the property.
Who or what has been the strongest influence on your career and why?
My mother. She taught me that you can be a successful career woman without having to sacrifice family life.
What is the first thing you do when you arrive in the office in the morning?
Catch up on email from the morning and re-prioritize my "to-do" list.
What time management strategies do you find to be the most effective for you?
Finishing tasks before starting a new one. In the age of email, it's so easy to get distracted and jump from one task to another without finishing the first, which never allows you to knock things off your to-do list and ends up increasing the amount of time it takes to finish things.
What is the best advice you have received and who was it from?
A partner in my old firm told me that I shouldn't be a martyr and come back early from maternity leave. No-one will be remember if I took 3 or 4 months off (it all feels like a long time) but they will remember if I come back before I'm ready to put in 100%.
List 3 women that you would like to have drinks / dinner with and where would you go?
I would love to go to my favorite Omakase restaurant Sasabune with Indra Nooyi, Sara Blakely and Tina Fey. I'm always impressed with women who have broken the glass ceiling and been creative and entrepreneurial, but it's also fun to laugh.
What is your favorite quote?
"If you get, give. If you learn, teach." - Maya Angelou
What did you want to be when you grew up?
Wonder Woman


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