The New York Minute

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Natalie Leontaraki

Paul & Vince would like to welcome to the conversation Natalie Leontaraki, from Engel & Völkers Athens, Greece.
Each Sunday, my two daughters and I have a special time when we get together to cook breakfast. It’s become a ritual that we’ve done every Sunday for ten years now, and it’s one of our favorite times of the week.

Raised in Greece, Natalie studied Politics in Brussels, Belgium, before coming to the United States in 1998 to work in Chicago with real estate investment trusts (REIT), where she became the youngest vice president at the age of 24 in the equity residential industry. Ten years later, she was lured back to Athens to take charge of a multi-national real estate development company with projects in Greece, Turkey, Ukraine, and Egypt. She joined E&V in 2018 and is currently the Managing Director for over 150 advisors in the E&V Greece MMC. As the proud mother of two teenage daughters, she spends much of her free time with family, working in her photography studio, or finding rare items for her international antique collection.


Paul & Vince: What are the three places you might take first-time guests to show them some of your city’s nicest quality of life?

Natalie: I would start by taking them (1) to the fabulous new Acropolis Museum, which is only 280 meters (less than 1,000ft) away from the Parthenon and, for the first time in history, brings together all of the classical Greek, Roman, and later-era European artifacts found in the vicinity to tell the story of centuries of human life on the Athenian Acropolis.

Then, I would take them to (2) lunch in the Plaka (Athens & Old Town), where they can enjoy the atmosphere of winding lanes, cafes, shops, and galleries, and where we could even stroll past the corner where Socrates used to lecture.

Finally, we could have a relaxing end of the day (3) with an early evening drive along the Athens Riviera to watch the sunset on the beach and have dinner at a beautiful waterfront setting.

Paul & Vince: That seems like a wonderful introduction to your city. After that, you can always let them stand in line on their own for the Parthenon so that you can get back to business.

Natalie: Yes!


Paul & Vince: What’s the best career advice you’ve ever been given, and who gave it to you?

Natalie: Among the many things my former boss and mentor in Chicago, Sam Zell [chairman of Equity Group Investments and considered the forefather of modern real estate investment trusts] taught me was: “Never wait to be given. Do not hesitate to ask for what you want, and you shall receive.


Paul & Vince: What is one of your favorite family traditions?

Natalie: Each Sunday, my two daughters and I have a special time when we get together to cook breakfast. It’s become a ritual that we’ve done every Sunday for ten years now, and it’s one of our favorite times of the week.

Paul & Vince: That’s very sweet. The simplest pleasures are often the best.


Paul & Vince: What are three-lifetime “bucket list” goals you have yet to accomplish?

Natalie: One would be building an all-glass dream home on the beach. Another is to create a wax museum with all the characters from Ancient Greece mythology, from the 12 gods to Medusa and the Minotaur. And my third would be to finish visiting my list often wonders of the world. Up until now, I’ve been to six of them (the Roman Colosseum, the Leaning Tower of Pisa, the Great Wall of China, Chichén Itzá in Mexico, the Great Sphinx in Egypt, and Hagia Sophia in Istanbul). Hence, I still need to visit four more (Petra in Jordan, Machu Picchu in Peru, the Taj Mahal in India, and the Aurora Borealis in the Arctic Circle) to complete my goal.

Paul & Vince: Wow! That last one could be very cold, but what a great list!

…and one more, Just For Fun

Paul & Vince: Ok, Natalie, now it’s time for your Just for Fun question: Which three modern-day celebrities would you like to invite to a private dinner and why? What would you eat, and what would you talk about?

Natalie: My dream would be to invite NBA professional basketball player Giannis Antetokounmpo, movie star/producer Tom Hanks, and actor/environmental activist Pierce Brosnan. It would be fascinating for me because the combination of their best characteristics could offer brilliant ideas of how they remain good, admirable, and super successful people. I would do the cooking, of course, because I enjoy cooking Mediterranean cuisine. (Also, I think they would love my Greek pies like “Mousaka”!) As I love my home country, one of the things I’d ask them for is their advice on how Greek people might achieve more and what changes we could make to attract more business to the country.

Paul & Vince: That sounds like an interesting dinner. Can we listen in from the kitchen if we promise to wash the dishes afterward?

Natalie: Yes, of course!

Original artwork by Jolisa Robinson, Gavriani-Falcone Team Marketing


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