By Al Barbarino
Julia Bryzgalina walks and talks with an air of confidence that defies her mere 25 years.
Dressed to the nines all the way down to a pair of spotless black leather heels, the Platinum Properties’ manager states matter-of-factly that they are no different from the heels she wore as a member of Yale University’s Pistol and Rifle Club.
“It’s pretty much the only sport you can do while still wearing heels, which I liked a lot,” she said, grinning slightly, adding that she was the only female member of the team, and quickly erasing any doubt that she is someone who knows what she wants, and that she, well, sticks to her guns.
“Once I was almost disqualified because the boots I was wearing were constricting movement in my ankle,” she said.
That didn’t stop her from wearing them. And like the blast from the 22-caliber Smith & Wessuns she became adept at firing while at Yale, there was no stopping Bryzgalina from climbing the ranks when she joined Platinum Properties in the summer of 2010.
By January of this year she had been promoted to director of leasing, slipping into a managerial role, and earlier this month, she was named director of sales and leasing at the Wall Street branch of Platinum Properties.
“She impressed me from our first meeting,” recalled Dezireh Eyn, who co-founded Platinum Properties, a luxury boutique brokerage firm, in 2005. “She not only comes from an Ivy League school, but she is very professional and capable. With some agents it takes months to learn, but with her it was almost immediate and we were constantly getting good feedback.”
Bryzgalina praised both Eyn and Platinum Properties for the individualized attention she received when she started at the firm with little real estate experience, setting a blueprint for her eventual role as part of the firm’s management team.
“At a bigger firm you kind of get lost — it’s sink or swim. Here, I got personalized attention,” she said. “Dezireh leads by example as a very motivated, dynamic professional.”
“Strict but fair,” Bryzgalina gives the roughly 30 agents she manages the same attention, starting them off with a set of rental listings, with the goal of making them a hybrid agent as soon as possible — a feat Eyn said Bryzgalina achieved with unprecedented speed, and a milestone Bryzgalina relives each time a new agent advances.
“I essentially live through them vicariously,” Bryzgalina said. “Every time they achieve their goals, it makes me very, very happy.”
A native of St. Petersburg, Russia, Bryzgalina moved to the U.K. at 17 to attend boarding school with ambitions of studying at Cambridge. She would ultimately move to the United States at 19, in 2006, to attend Yale University, where she received a full scholarship and graduated with a double major in psychology and economics in 2010.
“At the end of my senior year, my clear path was finance, but I had a lot of friends who hated their lives in finance and decided I was more of a people person,” she said. “I loved it from the start,” she said of real estate. “It was so much fun. New York is such a dynamic and vibrant place to be in real estate.”
In some respects, coming to New York without a network was “very scary,” but her background and interest in international news, politics, and finance has helped Bryzgalina, fluent in English, Russian and French, build business relationships with domestic and international clients.
“She’s very comfortable with numbers and really enjoys the financial aspects of her role when dealing with investors and first-time homebuyers,” Eyn said. “She also loves the idea of managing and helping people, and she has done a really good job in molding her own agents.”
With city rents as high as they’ve ever been, Bryzgalina said Platinum Properties’ has sold more properties than ever before in 2012, adding that it makes sense a majority of the time to buy over rent when looking at the financials. She’s even looking to make a purchase herself.
“A lot of clients have the means to buy but they just don’t realize it,” she said, stressing that the very personal decision is made completely with clients’ best interests in mind.
“These are clients for life and the relationships with clients are the most important thing.”