Sandra Kitashima keeps Playa Vista busy as the community’s official Director of Experience
By Kelby Vera
With its beautiful parks, friendly neighbors and an abundance of local activities, Playa Vista offers the kind of community many people dream about. Behind much of it all is Sandra Kitashima, who is master planner Brookfield Residential’s director of experience for Playa Vista.
Kitashima’s job is a juggling act of overseeing local event planning as well as working as a commercial property manager. That means she’s one of the brains behind things like Movies in The Park, the annual Halloween Hangout festivities, Playa Vista’s Cinco de Mayo celebration, and more.
She’s also responsible for the events exclusive to Playa Vista residents, which range from bingo nights to coffee-and-bagel meetups to art-and-wine discussions.
Kitashima says she loves the way various types of events create connections between Playa Vista residents and people outside of the community.
“It’s just a great way for people to come together and create moments and memories. It’s getting outside and having fun and having a positive experience,” says Kitashima.
One of Kitashima’s favorite events as director of experience is overseeing National Night Out, an evening that allows the community to meet local police officers.
“A number of people walked up to me the first year we hosted National Night Out and thanked me for creating a wonderful community event. They felt that there are many great events in Playa Vista, but National Night Out was about bringing community together for the common good in support of our local law enforcement,” she said.
The new year has plenty in store for the community, including the return of Shakespeare in the Park, an Earth Day celebration, dessert socials, a health and wellness expo with Elevation Fitness, as well as a possible 5K race in the works.
One of the biggest changes will be closing the street that bisects the Runway retail center to cars in order to create a pedestrian promenade. Kitashima says she’s “looking forward to the new pedestrian-focused design that will only add to the excitement of its many diverse events.”
In addition to her day job, Kitashima gives back to the community as a board member of HomeAid Los Angeles, a nonprofit that helps shelters make the most of their resources by providing them with building and planning assistance.
“It could be simply, ‘We happen to own the lot next door, but we’re not builders so we don’t know how to pull permits’ or ‘We have four bedrooms here but there are no windows,’” she explains. HomeAid partners shelters with a “Building Captain,” such as Brookfield Residential, which helps connect the dots so “the shelter itself gets to focus on what they’re good at.”
Last October Kitashima was co-chair for HomeAid LA’s third annual fundraising event, hosted by Playa Vista’s Centerpointe Club. The night featured a live jazz band, a silent auction and some mouthwatering paella from grade-A chefs. Most importantly, it raised close to $150,000 — about $10,000 above the original goal.
Keep up with Playa Vista Community Services’ latest projects at playavista.com.