Gold Coast real estate agent Karen Pirie with her kids Sienna, 13 and Cole, 11. Picture: NIGEL HALLETT
Women have smashed through the glass ceiling in the traditionally male-dominated property industry to become some of the most powerful, wealthy and influential people in real estate.
We have compiled a list of 60 of Queensland’s superwomen of real estate, including 16 from the Gold Coast. >> SEE THE FULL LIST <<
They include industry pioneer Lucy Cole, a single mum and cancer survivor when she launched her own agency 22 years ago, and Karen Pirie, who says there is no secret to her success but hard work.
Lucy Cole of Lucy Cole Prestige Properties
Ms Pirie, 49, has carved an enviable career over close to two decades in the cut-throat industry, while raising her two kids solo with no family support network.
“Do I have something special? No — I just work hard. I love what I do. I’m extremely honest and ethical and I think people see that and like it,” she says.
Ms Pirie switched agencies to the Gold Coast’s award-winning Harcourts Coastal franchise just weeks ago.
In 2003, she moved to QLD from Christchurch, New Zealand and made her first foray into the real estate industry.
With her family still overseas, she relied on babysitters and nannies to care for her children,
Ms Pirie recently swtiched agencies. Picture: NIGEL HALLETT
Sienna, 13, and Cole, 11, while she put in the extra hours to give them the best life she could.
“I want my kids to be successful in life as well. I’m trying to give them opportunities that I never had,” Ms Pirie said.
Back in New Zealand, Ms Pirie was an avid mountain bike racer, but gave that up when she “fell in love with real estate”.
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She still prioritises staying active, and wakes at 5am every day to head to the gym before getting the kids off to school and honing in on a productive work day.
“I’ve had one weekend off in about six months.”
For young women looking to enter the real estate industry, Ms Pirie says it’s important to choose who you work for wisely.
“It’s really important to work with a dominant agency wher you’re starting out, because it makes a big difference when you’re doing calls if people recognise the agency as being one of the best out. That’s half your work done for you,” she says.
“Just work hard — the more calls you can do, the more successful you will be. And, don’t be shy.”
Ms Cole says women had to work hard to get listings, but now are more equally represented in the industry. Photo by Richard Gosling
Handling the rejection that is part of the job comes with time, she says, but having someone to confide in helps.
“Real estate is a rollercoaster of emotions and it’s really important to not let those affect you.
“Sometimes it does, and it’s really good to have someone to talk to when that happens, because looking from the outside it’s never exactly what it seems to be when you’re in the middle of it,” she says.
Ms Pirie says her move to Harcourts Coastal was due, in part, to managing director Dane Atherton’s commitment to the growth of agents within his teams.
Industry pioneer Lucy Cole was one of the first women in Queensland to open an independent agency, Lucy Cole Prestige Properties.
She has grown the company from a one-woman operation to a highly respected brand with a team of 20 employees working across two offices.
Ms Pirie: there’s no secret, just hard work. Picture: NIGEL HALLETT
Ms Cole counts winning the Real Estate Institute of Queensland Salesperson of the Year award three times among her proudest achievements.
“It was a moving experience to receive the accolade because I had been recovering from cancer,” Ms Cole says.
“I could not attend the gala ceremony but was encouraged to do so. I could not even walk up the stairs to the ballroom and hold the large trophy.”
She recalls starting her agency as an “exciting but daunting dream”, and says she is lucky that property is her passion, not just her work.
“For me, it is not uncommon to start work before the sun comes up and still be working well into the night.”
“However, the joy of real estate is that it is not a 9-to-5 job, and it means that you can take time out to enjoy other interests, such as serving on committees, charity work, auctioneering, or spending time with the grandkids,” she says.
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