Advances in technology have made the real estate industry much more attractive to women looking to custom-design their own careers.
The expectation to spend six days a week stuck in an office from dawn till dusk is long gone, and working from home, in the car or even on the golf course has become the norm.
Real estate is no longer the male-dominated industry it once was and women have cemented their place among some of the nation’s top sales agents in recent years.
With a growing number of female employees joining its sales team, Canberra’s Independent Property Group has launched a unique initiative to support and connect women across all business areas.
The Independent Women Program is helping new salespeople find their feet in the property industry while also inspiring and up-skilling long-time employees.
Eva Bono has been with Independent for 12 months and attributes her success in her first-ever sales role to her supportive team and, in particular, her female mentors.
Having previously worked in the public service and as a hairdresser, she says real estate has provided her with the flexibility to set her own goals and organise her own schedule – while also leaving time to spend with her 12-year-old son.
She says her role offers endless opportunities to learn new skills and shape her career her way.
“I love my team and really enjoy helping people achieve success in the property market. Most of the time I don’t even feel like I’m working,” Eva says.
Based in Woden, Eva says the Independent Women Program has been a fantastic way for her to meet and spend time with colleagues from the five sales offices across Canberra.
“It’s also great to gain exposure to the female leaders within the business,” she says.
“The social events are lots of fun and the guest speakers are really inspiring.
“There’s so much support from the other women, and I feel like I can talk to them and get advice about anything, not just work.
“One big thing for me is, despite being a confident person, like all people I have an element of self-doubt, so it’s fantastic to have a group of positive and encouraging women around to lift me up.”
The Independent Women team members attend regular mentoring sessions and the occasional special outing where they can talk informally about any concerns they might have.
Independent Property Group Executive Director Stan Platis says Canberra’s real estate industry is thriving as more women take up sales positions.
“The role of the modern property consultant is ideal for women,” he says.
“Women make fantastic agents because they are highly organised; they can multi-task and form trusted relationships with their clients. They’re also fantastic negotiators and have strong connections with their communities.
“We have a mix of women who are just starting out in real estate and others that have made the move from other professions seeking an exciting and fast-paced career change.
“Many women returning to work after having children find the flexibility of real estate sales works very well for them.”
Stan says the holistic Independent Women Program aims to inspire women within the group to deliver great outcomes for their clients while also supporting and encouraging each other.
“They’re an amazing group with a diverse range of skills and experience,” he says.
“As well as fostering friendships across our offices, our Independent Women Program hosts guest speakers who talk about everything that makes a fantastic salesperson – from negotiation skills and listening to clients to financial business acumen and leadership.”
Independent’s senior leadership team is split fifty-fifty between men and women, including Chief Financial and Operating Officer Alison Bleathman and CEO Kylie Dennis who are also involved in the program.
Stan wants more women to take on roles in the real estate industry and is particularly keen to welcome more female sales consultants to the Independent team.
“There are so many opportunities for women to create their own career paths in real estate.”
As a real estate veteran, he says having women in the office has given him the ability to “think differently”.
“It’s been refreshing for me to be able to bounce ideas off the team – it’s pretty tremendous actually,” Stan added.
The Independent Property Group welcomes interest from anyone keen to work hard and forge their own path in the real estate industry.