It's usually around this time that the empowering and inspiring women of the Sunshine Coast come together to honour, applaud and connect with one other at the annual Sunshine Coast Business Women's Awards night.
It's the night of nights for women in business and where 500 boss babes gather with their colleagues, friends, staff, and besties to congratulate those amazing women who were nominated in 1 of 6 categories. Micro/Small Business Woman, Young Business Woman, Professional Business Woman, Corporate Business Woman & Outstanding Business Woman.
Unfortunately, due to COVID-19, we can't gather to show our support this year for women in business however, we can honour those past winners, of which I am one. I thought I would share my journey with you as to how I got to be nominated and how I won Corporate Business Woman of the Year.
Since the age of 19, I have been in Real Estate, starting out with property management traineeship with a firm at Greenslopes in Brisbane.
After my 12-month traineeship was completed, I started a real estate firm called PRIME Real Estate. It was a very small shoebox office in the heart of St Lucia with about 80 properties. With my astute business skills and work ethics, I saw the brand grow, I guess you could say my little shoebox office was bursting at the seams and as a result, I had to move location to a bigger space.
I decided to purchase a very well established business from a couple that wanted to retire from the industry. PRIME Real Estate was moved to the wealthy Racecourse Rd, Hamilton, and rebranded as Ideal Real Estate. My little 80 rental properties grew to 370 and this is where my real estate empire grew.
While owning and operating a successful real estate business, I also grew a passion for Property Development. It was only natural seeing that I was already playing in that space. With several development projects on the go from Units and townhouses through to light industrial sheds and lot subdivisions, I was definitely edging my way towards being one of the youngest female property moguls in Brisbane.
During this time, I also acquired a second office at Burpengary and franchised the business name.
I quickly realised that I can make more money in Property Development in a year than running a real estate office so the decision was made to sell both real estate agencies and concentrate all my time in Property Development. Many projects were built over the years and by the age of 30, I had a healthy property portfolio of over 30 properties and became a very well-respected businesswoman.
In 2008, I was cruising along developing projects in Brisbane, and I was using my equity to fund my next projects. Then BOOM, the GFC hit. I was told by the bank that was funding my projects that they were calling in their loan, despite the fact I always made and met my repayments and had never defaulted. In my eyes, was the perfect client.
The banks got scared, rightfully so, but the fallout was I had to find $4 million dollars in 60 days to pay back the loan. As you can imagine, I was extremely stressed and fell apart for about a week, then I pulled myself together and went back out to the banking marketplace. Thankfully, a second-tier bank was more than happy to pick up my tab and help me with my vision on the provision that I buy a business that has cash flow. The only business I knew how to do was real estate and it just so happened that an agency popped up for sale on the Sunshine Coast.
In December 2008 I purchased Carolans First National Real Estate.
This real estate office had a small portfolio of 130 residential properties and the office itself was very rundown, the previous owner had Motor Neurone disease and his health was deteriorating fast.
By the time settlement occurred there was no staff left and the rental division had been let go and run into the ground.
It was at that moment, standing in my new office with no staff, that I declared I was going to be the biggest and best agency on the Sunshine Coast. I called upon the only people I could trust to help me achieve this goal and that was my sister and mum, who were also in the real estate industry. With my goal, my dream, and my vision all mapped out and two of the best property managers on the coast we set out to achieve excellent growth. In 2009 I welcomed an increase of 55% in the business, in 2010 an increase of 65%, and in 2011 and an increase of 75%.
My dynamic business style and relationship skills have made me a well-respected and sought after property professional. I have created an exceptionally high level of service in Property Management and was committed to providing superior knowledge across all areas of Residential Management throughout Queensland.
Since owning Carolans First National Real Estate Myself along with my sister and mum won multiple local, state, and national awards such as:
NATIONAL AWARD FOR THE HIGHEST NUMBER OF NEW MANAGEMENTS GAINED IN 2010 AND 2011
QUEENSLAND PROPERTY MANAGEMENT AWARD FOR MOST MANAGEMENTS GAINED IN 2010 AND 2011
AUSTRALIAN and QLD ADMINISTRATOR OF THE YEAR IN 2010
QLD PROPERTY MANAGEMENT OFFICE OF THE YEAR 2010 AND 2011
In May 2012 I was awarded the Individual Award for Most Amount of New Business Gained in Residential Managements in Queensland and Australia. I was presented with my award by the former Premier of Victoria, Mr Jeff Kennett.
By the time 2013 rolled around, I felt like I had reached my business goal, my dreams, my vision for the business. I was one of the biggest and most successful real estate agencies on the Sunshine Coast. I went from 3 staff ( mum, sister, and myself) to 20 staff as a result of my success, my peers nominated me for the Sunshine Coast Corporate Business Woman of the year a nomination that I won.
I was recently asked to reflect on where I am now to where I was when I won this award and let me tell you, my life has differently headed down a different path in the last 7 years.
Since winning Corporate Business Woman of the Year in 2013, I have had a career change and moved away from Real Estate and into the Media arena. In 2014, I started a series of online TV Shows with the most successful being The Wine O'clock Show which gained, on average, 130,000 views each week.
Doing these series has taken me on an amazing adventure and has given me enormous opportunities, ones I never imagined would happen, like attending the TV Week Logie Awards each year since 2015, being invited to Channel 9 to film The Wine O'clock Show series, being the Ambassador of MYER Brisbane City and Maroochydore. I have connected with some amazing creatives and gained life long friendships. I've ignited a flare for writing and my articles are now published in major media outlets like News.com.au and Channel 9's 9Honey.
When asked "are you still in real estate" the answer is yes, I still own Carolans First National Real Estate, I just don't run it. I leave that to my sister, yes she is still with me and my absolute rock. I would rather buy real estate than sell it and I'm still growing my property portfolio.
Most recently though, I have been rolling up my sleeves, exchanging the heels for Blundstone boots, and started renovating properties. Watch this space!