Nitkin takes control

Helen Nitkin

Helen Nitkin

Sitting at the helm of the HB Nitkin Group is Helen Nitkin, a woman chairman in a largely male-dominated industry.

Ms. Nitkin and her late-husband Bradley jointly started the firm back in 1984 and have amassed an impressive portfolio of properties since including Greenwich Avenue Retail in Greenwich. It’s been a long journey for Ms. Nitkin, with hard choices along the way, chiefly what to do after her husband passed away.

“When my husband was diagnosed with cancer, we agreed that I would continue the business. I am the chairman, but my responsibilities are more important to me than the title,” she said  recently.

Helen had worked actively in real estate for 14 years until her second child was born in 1991, then she stepped back. By then her husband had left his full time practice of law to run the HB Nitkin Group and Helen’s involvement was now as a partner, sounding board and advisor. Fifteen years later, in 2006, when Mr. Nitkin became ill, she increased her profile by managing two active developments in Hartford and Greenwich.

Her reentry into the business was bolstered by her prior experience, a degree in Urban Planning and the many hours of discussing real estate over the dinner table and late into the evening. Her knowledge of the business by living it every day allowed her to take on the role of decision maker and delegator to lead the business forward. Her dedication to the firm was significantly reinforced by the team of professionals, some of whom have been with company for more than  30 years, dedicating themselves to the long-term success of the company.

“Every person in the firm has an important role and brings a great deal of talent to the table. I respect, acknowledge and appreciate how people work and what they do for our business and on my behalf,” Ms. Nitkin said.

Bradley Nitkin was a man of responsibility and dedication and it was important to Helen that the legacy of his principles and the company carries on.

“I learned a great deal by watching my husband negotiate, listen and how he engaged with all he came in contact with and am fully aware of his presence when in similar situations,” Ms. Nitkin said.

During her career, Ms. Nitkin has held leadership positions in the real estate industry as the President of The Association of Real Estate Women and a board member of Young Men’s/Women’s Real Estate Association. She has served on the board of The Bruce Museum chairing multiple committees and is a member of the Dean’s Council of the Yale School of Architecture. Her most recent involvement has been as a founding board member to the Women’s Enterprise Action Loan Fund, a non profit organization that provides loans and mentoring to women entrepreneurs.

“We self-fund and have now given loans to eight women,” Ms. Nitkin said. “I personally have mentored a young photographer as I have an interest in photography. She and her business have grown since we first started working together and she is a true success story.”

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