Real estate: No longer a man's world
Across the Queensland real estate landscape, it isn't hard to see that the gap of gender inequality is shrinking at a rapid pace. What was once a man's world is equally a woman's world too, which is reflected by the number of women in positions of power and success.
In the lead up to International Women's Day 2020, The REIQ sat down with three successful real estate professionals who have battled adversity and gone against the grain in order to achieve stand-out careers that serve as inspiration to any woman... and man.
Michelle Wright, Principal Licensee, Complete Business Brokers
When Michelle Wright was looking to purchase her own business six years ago, she didn't have too many preferences in mind. What she did know however, was that the process of looking for and buying a business was inherently frustrating. And as it turns out, buying or selling a business doesn't have to be complicated when you've got the right business broker working for you.
With a background in accounting and a comprehensive understanding of finance and numbers, Wright is now that 'right' fit for several clients looking to buy or sell a business. "I was naÏve enough to think business broking wouldn't be that hard and began my own business," jokes Wright. "Most people start their career in an agency and get trained up that way...perhaps if I was working in a larger agency where it's heavily male dominated, my success might have been a different story. Maybe I wouldn't have lasted as long as I have."
From stumbling upon the world of business broking to owning her own business, Wright is certainly not afraid to play a big game against her predominantly male competitors. In fact, she firmly believes her femininity and softness allow her to provide the emotional support her clients may not receive with other business brokers.
In 2019, she was the first ever female to win The REIQ's Business Broker of the Year award - an accolade she describes as "a very victorious moment for all females in the business broking industry". "Clients I'm dealing with are generally after someone who understands numbers and a professional. Usually when I meet with those people, it doesn't take long to convince them that I have a good understanding of what their requirements are," says Wright. "With clients, my gender is absolutely irrelevant...I've certainly proven over the last six years that I have a great understanding of how to do a deal and I've completed many deals now. My results speak for themselves."
Nyree Ewings, High Performance Agent, LJ Hooker Cleveland
The name Nyree Ewings is synonymous with elite performance. Forging her real estate career some 18 years ago, she bounced around between administration and property management positions before delving deep into the world of residential sales. "I could see the success that other people were having, and I knew how hard I worked so I thought there would be enough pieces of the pie to share around so to speak," reflects Ewings.
It wasn't long before the LJ Hooker Cleveland agent built a strong personal brand and was standing "shoulder-to-shoulder" with her male competitors. She has won a host of awards from LJ Hooker including the prestigious LJ Hooker Diamond Multi-Million Dollar Club and was even dubbed The REIQ Residential Salesperson of the Year in 2018. Critics might call it luck; for Ewings, she rightfully rejects that notion entirely. She credits her success to grit, determination and feminine power. "Knowledge is my power but I no longer confuse that statement with having to be powerful, dominant or to dominate people. Very early on in my career I didn't understand that," she confesses. "As I've progressed in my career and understood my power as a woman, and that feminine power is my strength, I realised I didn't have to tell people what to do or how to think."
Despite her status as a high performing agent, Ewings isn't immune to the negative stereotyping or sexual discrimination that unfortunately still occurs within the real estate profession, whether it's in the workplace, with competitors or even clients. And while she becomes frustrated when mistaken for "just the assistant" or is the subject of a sexist joke, it's Ewings that comes out on top when another woman chooses to purchase a home from her because of her warm and friendly approach to sales.
"A female can often make another female feel very comfortable. I think some men still think they're the decision makers when they're not," laughs Ewings. "Women are decision makers too and if a man makes a woman feel uncomfortable, they're certainly not buying a property from them."
Tina Nenadic, Director &; Selling Principal , Gold Coast Property Sales &; Rentals
Tina Nenadic began her career as a sales agent at a time when women were expected to "just have a part-time job in order to raise their children." Nenadic reflects on that time in her life with trepidation, recalling some of the negative comments she received at the beginning of her real estate career. "People would dismiss me just for being female. They genuinely thought that being a female or being a mother meant you weren't going to make it in the industry," reveals Nenadic. "I didn't have the confidence back then that I do today. The biggest challenge for me was trying to prove to others that I will do what I said I would do."
Fortunately for Nenadic, she paid little attention to her naysayers. And to prove it, she's now the Director and Selling Principal of Gold Coast Property Sales and Rentals. Proudly leading a team of 15 staff, she's worked hard to cultivate a culture that provides freedom and balance for everyone in her team. "I provide them with emotional support and flexibility so they can have balance in the workplace," explains Nenadic. "I try to guide and help them with what I've gone through myself and even the mistakes I've made so they don't make the same ones for themselves. Even if they do, I'm there to support them through it; to smoothen the ride for them."
Nenadic is the proud mother to three daughters - Maria, Nikolina and Helena - who all work alongside her. Taking the lessons she's learned throughout her career, Nenadic points out she's trying to model the inspiration they need to succeed in real estate. "I'm just trying to teach them to trust their gut feelings," she adds. "They can achieve anything as long as they set their mind to it; as long as they keep pushing forward and moving towards their goals."
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