Women in Yachting – Part 33: Leeann Iacino, Engel & Volkers Yachting

Meet Leann Iacino, the COO at Engel & Volkers Yachting about how she got into yachting and how she stays motivated.

As the yachting industry continues to grow, more and more women are making a significant impact on this traditionally male-dominated space. Here, YATCO takes the time to get to know some of these women – from all areas of the market – and highlight the important work that they contribute to the industry.

Leeann Iacino is the Chief Operating Officer of Engel & Volkers Yachting.

What drew you to the yachting world? 

I grew up in Colorado so for me, my love of the water was always from a vacation perspective and a real dream to live the lifestyle.

Once I moved to SoCal, I was drawn to the water, boats and lifestyle. There is something so relaxing and freeing about being on the water. 

How did you get your start in yachting? 

My background is in real estate and I have a true passion for waterfront homes and yachts. Once I figured out there was no true yacht and real estate company, it was a no brainer to form our company with Walter Johnson, our President. He’s an avid sailor so I began sailing in Newport Beach, took lessons, then moved onto power boating. 

Who are some influential people in your life that you look up to? 

My parents. They taught me to work hard, be kind, save and treat others as I want to be treated. There are numerous women I can name that have paved the way for us in so many industries. I also look up to my daughter who is a successful entrepreneur in Denver. She’s created something special by her passion, giving back and being disciplined with her work ethic. 

What are some challenges you face and how do you overcome them? 

Being an entrepreneur and in sales is not for the weak.

Learning to celebrate your wins and learn from your losses. Learning to adapt and pivot in our rolling economy is critical or you’ll get left behind.

I’d like to say keeping balanced is so important but I’m constantly a work in progress on that subject! You have to take care of you along the way so you can keep serving others. 

What advice would you give to someone who is starting in the yachting industry? 

I’ve talked to so many people who say they want to get their yacht license because it looks “easy and fun.” It is fun but it’s not easy.

Build your database, create a great network, keep learning and leaning into others who are successful in this business, and don’t be afraid to market yourself. 

What is the most rewarding/enjoyable element of your job? 

I love our team and I love our clients. Truly all amazing people no matter where they come from or who they are.

We have the best stories from older clients who want their last years to have that special boat with their family or to younger buyers who want more time with their kids and family without phones.

I believe we sell a dream and time. How great is that! 

What is your favorite thing about working in the yacht market? 

Watching our clients’ faces when they get the keys to the boat, or we take them for a cruise and their faces light up. We know we’ve added some joy to their life. That’s pretty amazing! 

What are you currently working on and what keeps you motivated? 

I love watching our team grow personally and professionally, hopefully we are making a difference in their lives. That’s very motivating to me. And Walter and I have created the exclusive niche of yacht to real estate and real estate to yacht division.

We get to sell and network a truly dream coastal lifestyle in the most amazing places in the world.

That 100% keeps me motivated. 

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