Vittoria Santarone leverages her deep knowledge of Italian culture to give IYG an invaluable edge.
Vittoria Santarone is the Italian Yacht Group’s woman on the inside. As the only native Italian speaker in the company, she is instrumental for her deep and technical knowledge of Italian boatbuilding as well as her ability to communicate smoothly and efficiently across the Atlantic.
Vittoria began her love affair with the boating industry as a young woman growing up on the famous Lake Como in northern Italy. “I wasn’t an avid student,” she says with a laugh, “but I did like boats a lot, so I thought, ‘maybe I could do that.’” She soon landed her first job in the business with a speedboat company based in the area. In college, she wrote her thesis on shipbuilding, and that combined with her tactical experience on the water soon caught the eye of Sanlorenzo’s CEO Massimo Perotti, who offered her a job in in the marketing department. “Marketing wasn’t my thing, “ says Vittoria, “I always wanted to be in sales.” After six months, she got her shot at it, in large part due to Sanlorenzo’s large inventory of brokerage boats in 2010. Vittoria started out doing specs and brochures for the builder, but her keen talent saw her move quickly to overseeing deliveries and construction in both the U.S. and Turkey. And that’s when her life took a happy turn when she met George Jousma, who was in charge of Sanlorenzo Americas at the time.
“I saw George at the Cannes show in 2013 and told him if he ever needed help in America, I wanted to be the one,” says Vittoria. It would take a bit of time. Vittoria worked closely together with both George and Boomer on many projects over the ensuing years, and shortly after Vittoria took the leap and moved to the United States in 2019 the Jousmas asked her to join them for dinner at Joe’s Stone Crab.
Over heaping plates of crab legs and fried chicken, the Americans made their pitch to their sharp-minded Italian colleague—and the rest is history.
Today Vittoria works as a close team with Boomer. The twosome’s skillsets complement each other well. Boomer typically handles the clients, who usually speak English. Vittoria focuses her energies on the shipyards, where her knowledge of Italian is invaluable.
“Vittoria is able to get things done for us in a way more efficient manner than if it was just me,” says Boomer. “She can speak to the Italians on their level, and she understands the intricacies of the culture. Vittoria’s relationships and knowledge of Italian shipyards give IYG a real advantage. She is one of them, but she is also one of us, and that’s an enormous value that we are able to pass on to our clients.”
As far as Vittoria’s future at IYG, the sky is the limit. She and Boomer are only growing closer and more aware of one another’s strengths, forming a team that is unbeatable when it comes to buying, selling, and building yachts made in Italy.