Courageous Conversations
Episode 101: Louise Barton - Creating a successful real estate career in Sydney with mindset, self-belief, and commitment to customer service

Episode 101: Louise Barton - Creating a successful real estate career in Sydney with mindset, self-belief, and commitment to customer service

July 6, 2022

Welcome to Episode 101 of our podcast, Courageous Conversations, hosted by Leanne Pilkington.

In this episode, our guest is Louise Barton, a Licensed Real Estate Agent at Richardson & Wrench - North Sydney. Here, she shares the story of what drew her from Scotland to Sydney and the skills and self-belief that saw her attain success.

Imagine moving halfway around the world to restart your real estate career from scratch.

That’s exactly the position Louise Barton found herself in when she took the plunge and booked a ticket from Scotland to Sydney.

Armed with a working visa and the belief Sydney was one of the best real estate markets in the world, Louise set out to forge a fresh career in a town where she knew no-one and had nothing but a suitcase worth of clothes.

She would either make it or come home, tail between her legs…

Five years later and Louise has built a readily recognisable brand as an agent with Richardson & Wrench North Sydney.

But it wasn’t always easy or without its hurdles. There were temp jobs along the way and the temptation to shift careers totally.

However, persistence has well and truly paid off for an agent who had an unshakable belief in her skillset and an unwavering faith she could make it in one of the most competitive real estate markets in the world.

In this Courageous Conversation with Leanne Pilkington, Louise shares what drew her to Sydney, how and why she backed herself, and what changed the playing field to see her interviewing agencies, rather than vice versa.

She offers an insight into the mindset that helped her attain success, along with how she’s used social media to build an established brand.

Along the way, Louise talks about her approach to customer service, the skills that translate regardless of what market you’re operating in, and how she’s setting her team up for success in a Sydney market that’s quickly turning.

“I’m up against people that have been born and bred here. They’ve done it for a very long time, but luckily I always believed in my ability and failing wasn’t an option. And I think if you’ve got that mindset, then you are going to make it. You’ve got to believe in yourself. And then everyone else around you will start believing in you.” – Louise Barton.

Don’t forget to subscribe to the podcast via Apple PodcastsStitcher, Spotify or Google Podcasts.

Episode 100: Emma Brown-Garrett - Finding your niche, the power of a great mentor and why her career has only just begun

Episode 100: Emma Brown-Garrett - Finding your niche, the power of a great mentor and why her career has only just begun

June 22, 2022

Welcome to Episode 100 of our podcast, Courageous Conversations, hosted by Leanne Pilkington.

In this episode, our guest is Emma Brown-Garrett, Auctioneer at Menck White Auctioneers. Here she shares how it took two decades to shape a successful real estate career, and why patience, perseverance and a great mentor all helped her find her feet.

Looking back on a 20-year real estate career, Sydney auctioneer Emma Brown-Garrett has two key pieces of advice: have the patience to find your niche and seek out someone who will mentor and believe in you.

Emma notes it wasn’t until both these elements fell into place that she found her true calling as a highly successful female auctioneer.

And it took her a lot of false starts, a whole host of perseverance and a near exit from the industry to get where she is today.

Now two decades into a career that initially appealed for its glamour and excitement, Emma has truly found her feet as an auctioneer at Menck White who also thrives on the challenge of auction competitions.

In this Courageous Conversation with Leanne Pilkington, Emma shares her real estate journey, including why she feels her real estate career has just begun, and how she persevered to get where she is today.

She discusses what success looks like and why it’s deeply personal, the achievements she’s most proud of, and how she balances a career with family life.

Emma also looks at the importance of finding a good mentor, and how her mentor took her career to the next level by identifying a skillset she never knew she had.

She offers an insight into the relentless commitment to training which keeps her at the top of her game, shares some thoughts on female leadership in the industry, and offers some key tips for young agents starting out who may not yet know where their destiny lies.

In the process, Emma discusses the work/life balance that comes with raising a family and why it’s okay to have goals and aspirations that extend beyond the role of motherhood.

She also offers some sage advice on why success is something you find when you least expect it, and how it’s important to believe in yourself, back your ambition and have the patience to know if you work hard, train hard, and surround yourself with the right people, your time will come.

“I’ve just started my career and this is something that I wish someone had told me when I was younger. If they’d said to me that at 44-years-old you’ll be starting your career. Everything else leading up to it is steps and they’re chapters in your book that lead you this amazing chapter. But I cannot believe that I’m now really embarking on my true career.” – Emma Brown-Garrett.

Don’t forget to subscribe to the podcast via Apple PodcastsStitcher, Spotify or Google Podcasts.

Episode 99: Anna Neelagama - Becoming the industry’s greatest advocate with single licensing, PM skills shortage and sector recognition firmly in sights

Episode 99: Anna Neelagama - Becoming the industry’s greatest advocate with single licensing, PM skills shortage and sector recognition firmly in sights

June 8, 2022

Welcome to Episode 99 of our podcast, Courageous Conversations, hosted by Leanne Pilkington.

In this episode, our guest is Anna Neelagama, the Chief Executive Officer at Real Estate Institute of Australia.

After two years in the role of Chief Executive Officer of the Real Estate Institute of Australia, Anna Neelagama discusses how far the industry has come, the major challenges that lie ahead, and how the REIA intends to address them.

When Anna Neelagama took on the position of REIA CEO, little did she realise a pandemic would promptly see her plunged into unchartered real estate waters.

Closed borders, rental moratoriums and social distancing all saw the industry in the spotlight while both sales agents and property managers were grappling with constantly shifting legislation and the very real challenge of trying to secure a roof over people’s heads.

In this Courageous Conversation, Anna discusses her real estate baptism of fire and how she went from someone with no inside experience of the industry to advocating the sector’s needs on the national stage.

She talks about how, in the wake of Covid, the exodus of property managers has emerged as the single biggest challenge facing the industry and what the REIA is doing to assist.

Anna also looks at the age-old issue of a single rule book for agents across the country, noting this is an issue dating back to the REIA’s inception almost a century ago.

But now, 100 years later, she explains the REIA is finally making progress, and offers an insight into exactly how that’s being achieved, and why it’s not been as simple as many might believe.

Anna also examines how the industry can showcase the critical role agents and property managers play and why people need to appreciate that buying or selling property ranks alongside all the major life milestones.

She shares what she has been surprised to learn since taking on the sector’s top job, and looks at why she remains inspired to be the industry’s most passionate advocate.

“The reality is we have made an extraordinary amount of progress. The institutes themselves are very much on the same page when it comes to standards of training, of licensing and of on-the-job compliance. So the industry leads with that regard. The regulators simply haven’t caught up. And what we’d like is for state and federal governments to come to the party and meet us there” – Anna Neelagama.

Don’t forget to subscribe to the podcast via Apple PodcastsStitcher, Spotify or Google Podcasts.

Episode 98: Nigel O’Neil - Using servant leadership to engage team, change culture, and improve business results

Episode 98: Nigel O’Neil - Using servant leadership to engage team, change culture, and improve business results

May 25, 2022

Welcome to Episode 98 of our podcast, Courageous Conversations, hosted by Leanne Pilkington.

In this episode, our guest is Nigel O’Neil, the Head of Growth at Barry Plant. He has a passion for leading and growing people, teams and offices and has been heading up large teams for over three decades. He has led a number of major real estate franchise networks through periods of change and growth and understands how building the right culture will deliver success.

Barry Plant CEO Nigel O’Neil has established a reputation as one of the most successful leaders in the industry. Here, he offers an insight into his approach, along with key leadership lessons he’s learned within real estate and beyond.

Having led some two of the industry’s best known real estate groups to success, it might come as a surprise to hear Barry Plant Chief Executive Officer Nigel O’Neil say he was a ‘terrible leader’ when he first started out as a business turnaround expert more than 20 years ago.

But he states he was. Although he loved improving businesses, it wasn’t until he drew on emotional intelligence and embraced a ‘servant leadership’ style that he found the ability to bring people together and have them accept change.

Drawing on his extensive experience in finance and banking, Nigel has now helped businesses in a range of industries improve their processes and procedures, find their unique culture, and improve their results.

In this Courageous Conversation, Nigel shares his journey from chartered accountant to real estate CEO, discussing why the industry is unique but, at its core, still the same as any other business.

He discusses the importance of measuring customer satisfaction, why it all comes back to process and procedure, and how to engage your team so your company culture attracts talent and retains it.

Nigel also looks at some of the biggest challenges ahead for the industry, and how leaders can prepare for them now.

He discusses client feedback, and why it’s critical to service-based business like real estate but is not just about seeking reviews and testimonials.

Noting leadership is a privilege, he also offers a thought provoking insight into the leadership style that has seen people change industries to remain part of his team.

To me, being a servant to the team means I’m here to develop the business. I’m here to help them develop as people. So, it’s a simple mantra that if something goes wrong, it’s on me, and if something goes well, it’s them…” – Nigel O’Neil

Don’t forget to subscribe to the podcast via Apple PodcastsStitcher, Spotify or Google Podcasts.

Episode 97: Laura Valenti - Stepping up to tackle domestic violence in the face of a changing property management sector

Episode 97: Laura Valenti - Stepping up to tackle domestic violence in the face of a changing property management sector

May 11, 2022

Welcome to Episode 97 of our podcast, Courageous Conversations, hosted by Leanne Pilkington.

In this episode, our guest is Laura Valenti, is an REIQ board director and the founder of Solutions Property Management in southeast Queensland. With a focus on addressing domestic violence and a passion for empowering women, Laura was named the AREAs 2020 ‘Most Influential Woman in the Property Market’.

Far too many headlines in the past few years have highlighted the tragedy of domestic violence. In this Courageous Conversation, Laura Valenti shares how the real estate industry can step up to assist, along with the ongoing challenges facing the property management sector as the nation emerges from a pandemic.

When it comes to domestic violence, there are few people with as much access to what happens behind closed doors as a property manager.

After all, what other professions have the right to regularly enter a home, assess its condition and get a feel for what’s happening behind the scenes?

That’s why Solutions Property Management owner Laura Valenti believes real estate professionals have an opportunity and an obligation to make a real difference.

This stance, and the initiatives she has put in place as a result, saw Laura named the Most Influential Woman in the Property Market at the REA awards in 2020.

In the time since, Laura has been developing a two-pronged approach to ensure the property management industry steps up to help survivors of domestic and family violence.

In this Courageous Conversation with Leanne Pilkington, Laura shares an insight into how real estate can play a role in recognising domestic and family violence, and helping its survivors.

She shares the easy steps agencies can take to ensure the issue is on their radar, that their staff know what to do, and how they can help survivors access the help they need to re-establish their lives.

With no experience of domestic violence personally, Laura explains the issue is far more common than many would believe and the past two years have shone a spotlight on just how prevalent the problem is.

And that’s just one of the issues that came to light for the property management sector during Covid.

In a wide-ranging podcast, Laura also discusses the personal toll Covid-19 has taken on business leaders, and how the property management industry has altered in the period since.

She touches on the stress many PMs have endured, the mass exodus from the industry, and also looks at how the property management industry has changed permanently as a result.

Housing is just intrinsically entwined with helping people get out of a DFV situation, because if there was a place to go to, then that’s the first step. They leave, have a safe place and then start to get all of the things they need – the counselling, the connection to legal services – so that they can start to rebuild their lives. But you can’t have any of that if you don’t have a safe place to stay.” Laura Valenti.

 

Don’t forget to subscribe to the podcast via Apple PodcastsStitcher, Spotify or Google Podcasts.

Episode 96: Kathryn Ford - Turning illness into empowerment and why your mind is the most important real estate you will ever manage

Episode 96: Kathryn Ford - Turning illness into empowerment and why your mind is the most important real estate you will ever manage

April 27, 2022

Welcome to Episode 96 of our podcast, Courageous Conversations, hosted by Leanne Pilkington.

In this episode, our guest is Kathryn Ford, a women's empowerment expert and celebrity consultant who designs incredible next chapters for women who are ready to make the rest of their life, the best of their life.

Regardless of whether it’s personal, professional or health-related, when one area of your life breaks down, it has the potential to impact everything. Empowerment expert Kathryn Ford offers a personal story of turning tragedy into triumph and shares her tips on how you can unlock joy and peace within.

What one thing would you change in your life right now which would make the greatest difference to your future?

That’s the key question empowerment expert and celebrity consultant Kathryn Ford asks each client she works with as she seeks to help women design their ‘incredible next chapter’.

 

It’s an approach that is based on Kathryn’s own life experience of turning tragedy into triumph and is the successful concept that saw her found the Excellence Institute in 2013.

In this Courageous Conversation with Leanne Pilkington, Kathryn shares her insight into the mind-body connection and how she used it to overcome a series of personal challenges, including a rare disease, a devastating misdiagnosis, and a toxic marriage that ultimately saw her husband draw a gun on her.

Kathryn notes people often can’t identify what’s holding them back, but chances are there is one defining element that has flow-on effects to everything else.

Whether it’s work that affects your relationships, relationships that impact health, or health that impacts work, those three elements of life can’t be viewed in isolation, she explains.

Instead, you need to find the key and focus on the person as a whole, and when you do, there’s an opportunity to take a ‘quantum leap’ towards true happiness.

In a conversation that offers a fascinating insight into mindset, self-awareness and the art of unlocking success, Kathryn shares her story of overcoming adversity and the tools she used to turn her own life around while also assisting others.

“The results in your life that you would love are there. It’s just a matter of learning how to focus,” – Kathryn Ford.

 

Don’t forget to subscribe to the podcast via Apple PodcastsStitcher, Spotify or Google Podcasts.

Episode 95: Rebecca Wiener McGregor - Hypnosis, mindfulness and breathing to create a master wellbeing mindset

Episode 95: Rebecca Wiener McGregor - Hypnosis, mindfulness and breathing to create a master wellbeing mindset

April 13, 2022

Welcome to Episode 95 of our podcast, Courageous Conversations, hosted by Leanne Pilkington.

In this episode, our guest is Rebecca Wiener McGregor, a consulting hypnotist certified by the National Guild of Hypnotists, creator of the Whole Life Happy Method of hypnosis, breakthrough-maker coach, and mentor since 2004.

Rebecca Wiener McGregor is widely regarded as one of the best hypnotists and money mindset mentors in the US. Renowned for her spiritual practice and gratitude meditation, she has empowered the lives of thousands of people to achieve their vision and purpose. 

But as this Courageous Conversation with Leanne Pilkington reveals, it’s not an easy road to achieve the transformation, it’s a physical, mental and spiritual journey that in time will create certainty, clarity, and emotional freedom in your life.

 

In this deeply personal podcast, Rebecca reveals how she blends hypnosis, mindfulness and breathing, to create clarity of personal and business values.

She shares the thought process that has allowed her to push through the darkest of times to come out stronger and more empowered than ever. 

With her Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT), along with neuro-linguistic programming (NLP), Rebecca offers essential tips on self-care, finding the positive, and seeking out the space and support you need when times get tough.

She offers an insight into how mentoring has allowed her clients to emerge stronger, more resilient and with more exciting plans for their businesses ahead.

Rebecca also takes the time to share her expert advice on how to focus on a life without negative judgement but finding the balance to create a lifestyle that feels you, not like you think you should feel. 

“When you get into that practice of practising gratitude, where you’re writing down what you’re grateful for, what happens is that your brain starts to look for more good in your life. All the time. I have goosebumps right now because when I started practising gratitude, it saved my emotional life” – Rebecca Wiener McGregor

Don’t forget to subscribe to the podcast via Apple PodcastsStitcher, Spotify or Google Podcasts.

Episode 94: Kylie Maxwell - Embrace unexpected leadership, bounce back from burnout, and build a sought-after business

Episode 94: Kylie Maxwell - Embrace unexpected leadership, bounce back from burnout, and build a sought-after business

March 30, 2022

Welcome to Episode 94 of our podcast, Courageous Conversations, hosted by Leanne Pilkington.

In this episode, our guest is Kylie Maxwell, a successful agency owner, a real estate business coach, consultant and a trainer at Real+ Training and Consultancy.

When successful agency owners Kylie Maxwell and her husband Jason sold their business in Queanbeyan, New South Wales last year, many in the industry were surprised.

After all, here was a couple at the top of their game, with a highly successful LJ Hooker office, an enviable market share and a renowned reputation in the industry.

But as Kylie explains, it was an opportunity too good to pass up and one they weren’t sure would present itself again in a couple of years’ time.
 
It also provided the opportunity to explore other areas of the industry that Kylie was passionate about.

In this episode of Courageous Conversations with Leanne Pilkington, Kylie offers an insight into the thinking behind the sale, how it was a proposal that came out of the blue, and why they were fortunate to have a business that was sale-ready, despite no intentions to sell.

She explains the role good processes and procedures play when it comes to property management, why every agency owner should audit their business annually, and why the systems they had in place allowed them to seize the unexpected opportunity.

Kylie also reflects on a 30-year career in the industry, including a brush with burnout that many will relate to.

She discusses the challenge of being a leader and a people pleaser, and the changes she made to her leadership style in order to better manage her time, her energy, and the work/life balance.

In a podcast that’s part business best-practice, part property management masterclass, and part lessons in leadership, Kylie offers a wealth of tips, some stellar advice based on experience and a truly personal insight into why she is rightly regarded as one of the best real estate practitioners in the industry.

“If you have a business and it is in your five-year plan to sell your rent roll, don’t wait until you’re tired of it and you’ve run it into the ground. Do it while you’re still actively working in it, and you’re vibrant and it’s got a good reputation and you’ve got a good asset to sell,” Kylie Maxwell

Don’t forget to subscribe to the podcast via Apple PodcastsStitcher, Spotify or Google Podcasts.

Episode 93: Nicole White - Why music can be the key to both team building and wellness

Episode 93: Nicole White - Why music can be the key to both team building and wellness

March 16, 2022

Welcome to Episode 93 of our podcast, Courageous Conversations, hosted by Leanne Pilkington.

In this episode, our guest is Nicole White, an events and team building expert who is passionate about mental health and the impact music can make in your life - professional and personal.

While the real estate industry might have stood at a precipice of unknowns during Covid-19, the entertainment and events sector was forced into total freefall.

Events dried up, entertainment was off the cards, and every corporate gathering was cancelled.

So what do you do when your entire industry collapses? Well you pivot, and pivot again, in the hope one of those pirouettes pays off.

That’s exactly the situation Nicole White and her company Rock and Roll Team Building found themselves in over the past two years.

But in the face of extreme adversity and a landscape of business fear, she and business partner Ciaran Gribbin of INXS didn’t give up.

Instead, they used their love of music and their background in team building to help businesses and individuals manage the mental uncertainty and anxiety of a pandemic.

In this episode of Courageous Conversations with Leanne Pilkington, Nicole discusses how creating and experiencing music can help bring people together and foster wellbeing.

She shares the highs and lows of working in the entertainment industry over the past couple of years, including navigating the heartbreak of watching events dry up and finding the successful business she had built was on the brink of closure.

Nicole also offers an insight into how sound therapy and music alleviate stress and how the creation of music can bring a corporate team together in a whole new way.

One of the main tools that music therapists use in their work is actually songwriting. So being able to work with someone who’s experienced trauma or who is experiencing depression and anxiety, or has had a tough time in life, allowing them to articulate that through songs – through writing, putting words to music – is a really powerful therapy tool,” Nicole White.

Don’t forget to subscribe to the podcast via Apple PodcastsStitcher, Spotify or Google Podcasts.

Episode 92: Madelyn Jones - Addressing homelessness, one gift box at a time

Episode 92: Madelyn Jones - Addressing homelessness, one gift box at a time

March 2, 2022

Welcome to Episode 92 of our podcast, Courageous Conversations, hosted by Leanne Pilkington.

In this episode, our guest is Madelyn Jones, the founder of The Good Box.

When events manager Madelyn Jones found herself walking past the same homeless man every morning in Sydney, she knew there must be something she could do.

Confronted by the issue of homelessness in a big city, she didn’t want to become the type of person who averted their eyes, or worse yet, made jokes.

The problem weighed on her, upset her and ultimately saw her take action in the form of a social enterprise called The Good Box, which she co-founded in 2018 with Gali Blacher.

Each year, The Good Box now distributes tens of thousands of hand-packed gift boxes to partner charities who then hand the boxes out to the people who need them most.

The aim is to provide a box packed full of new items that people experiencing homelessness need depending on their situation.

There are boxes for men, for women and for people sleeping rough with their pets. Each box is purchased by an individual or corporate sponsor and contains a handwritten note.

In addition to providing much-needed items, the gift boxes help start a conversation and build trust.

In this Courageous Conversation with Leanne Pilkington, Madelyn shares the occasionally tough journey of The Good Box, including how it went from something she did part-time to a full-scale social enterprise that saw her willingly walk away from a promising corporate career.

She also offers an insight into how and why real estate agencies are getting behind the initiative to donate a Good Box on behalf of their clients as an alternative to the traditional settlement gift.

The thing with homelessness is it’s not just one type of homelessness. It’s extremely multifaceted. And so our mission has always been to make sure that we’re catering to all different types of homelessness.” Madelyn Jones.

Don’t forget to subscribe to the podcast via Apple PodcastsStitcher, Spotify or Google Podcasts.

 

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