Expert. Entrepreneur. Mom. Trailblazer. Nava Streit Raziel, a Senior Underwriter at Streit Lending, wears many proverbial “hats”—each one equally as important as the next. We had the pleasure of sitting down with Nava to discuss her impressive career trajectory, her advice for young women just getting started in the industry and firsthand insight into some of the many lessons she herself has learned along the way.
“Working hard for something we don’t care about is called stress: Working hard for something we love is called passion.” – Simon Sinek
Flexibility and intellectual curiosity are great personal characteristics regardless of your profession, and Nava’s professional development journey is a testament to how being open-minded to take on exciting challenges or acquire new skillsets often translates into exponential growth. After graduating Magna Cum Laude from Yeshiva University and obtaining her CPA, Nava headed to the Big Apple to work as a consultant for Ernst & Young, where she worked with major corporate clientele—enabling her to gain invaluable experience to ‘macro’ level accounting procedures as well as the nuanced networking and interpersonal skills required to conduct business with sophisticated customers.
Nava was able to leverage this experience to pursue her long-held professional interest in the real estate lending sector—although doing so required somewhat of a leap of faith: leaving her established position at a leading firm in the industry in New York to join the Washington, D.C.-based accounting firm Aronson LLC, where she specialized in auditing, reviewing and compiling financial statements for homebuilders and developers, commercial and residential rental real estate, construction, and mortgage lenders with combined revenues in excess of $200 million. From the outside looking in, jumping into a niche market and tasked with managing such a diverse asset portfolio may seem intimidating, but from Nava’s perspective it was an intentional step towards her overarching long term career goals. She advises young professionals that it is essential to identify your goals early on so you can plan accordingly as to how to go about pursuing them—even if doing so requires relocating or tackling the unknown. While doing so may seem daunting in the moment, Nava advises that every time she said “yes” to one of these opportunities, it translated into being a great stepping stone for her career and opened many more doors than it closed.
There is certainly a yin and yang of being a working mom: some days you have what seems like unlimited flexibility, and all seems right with the world; conversely, other days are infinitely stressful and it can feel like you are missing out on important family events. Nava is no stranger to this challenge, which she accurately refers to as the “ultimate balancing act.” Yet as busy as juggling professional and familial responsibilities can be, Nava truly believes that work and motherhood can mutually coexist in a positive, invigorating manner—and doing so all starts with equal parts honesty and self-confidence. Nava is adamant that working mothers need to be comfortable expressing to coworkers and clients their overlapping roles in the office and at home while at the same time demonstrating the work ethic and expertise those connections can depend on.
“An entrepreneur is someone who will jump off a cliff and assemble an airplane on the way down.” –Reid Hoffman
After garnering five years of corporate experience in the consulting and real estate lending industries, Nava brought her wealth of knowledge and passion for crafting innovative lending solutions in the real estate space to her family business of Streit Lending in Los Angeles, where she focuses on the underwriting of loan originations and assists with the sourcing and servicing of all bridge loans for the company. It’s a simultaneously challenging and rewarding position which Nava is extremely excited to thrive in. She is supremely confident in the excellent team dynamics at Streit Lending and that the company has the requisite potential to evolve the lending industry in order to offer a superior end-product to their clientele—all whilst expanding the geographic scope of their services and scaling their customer base.
“We all carry the seeds of greatness within us, but we need an image as a point of focus in order that they may sprout.” –Epictetus
There’s no doubt that the lending industry is historically male-dominated. Yet as more women fill senior positions and act as mentors, more younger women will be attracted to those roles and view them as attainable benchmarks. Many early-career women are still dissuaded due to preconceptions that it is impossible to have a fulfilling career and be a great mother. While Nava is certainly no stranger to these initial barriers to entry, she ultimately realized that allowing them to prevent her from chasing her professional aspirations would be doing generations of working women to come a disservice. She truly desires the industry to be more diverse and, in order to attract women who are mothers, Nava realized that she needs to set the precedent that while you may need to outsource some household tasks, have a flexible and supportive partner or seek help from family, you can still make it happen—you don’t have to choose between having a successful career and a family.
Nava is crushing both spheres of life: finding the time to spend quality moments with her family as well as setting (and surpassing) audacious goals for the Streit Lending team. It is both inspiring and exciting to witness such a dynamic force within the industry.