By Katrina Creer
Lyn Kimball is not often lost for words but was shocked when she was announced as the winner of the prestigious Woodrow Weight award at this year’s REINSW Awards for Excellence Gala Evening.
The Property Manager from Wagga Wagga was honoured for her outstanding contribution to real estate practice.
“I always look forward to this award on the night – just listening to the bio being read out and wondering who is going to get it,” Ms Kimball said.
“To be recognised like this just blows me away, I can’t believe it – but it is a wonderful acknowledgement, and I am humbled by it.”
The award is named after the legendary former REINSW president, Woodrow Weight, who was the first Australian to be elected World President of the International Real Estate Federation and later awarded an OBE.
Ms Kimball has served on the REINSW’s Property Management Chapter Committee for two decades achieving great outcomes for both tenants and landlords. As a member of the Residential Tenancies Act Sub-Committee, she also tirelessly worked on recent legislative changes.
All this would not have been possible, had it not been for a job interview for a receptionist position organised by the CES – now known as Centrelink – more than 35 years ago.
Ms Kimball had been working as a secretary for a local finance firm but a company takeover meant she would have to relocate. Keen to stay regional, she took up the job offer with Fitzpatrick Real Estate.
“I didn’t know anything about property at the time, but in those days most people didn’t aspire to a particular career via an admin position, the goal was to have a job and do it well,” she said.
Ms Kimball, however, was quickly moved into property management taking her in an exciting new direction. She became a ‘jack of all trades’ taking applications, processing leases and negotiating with tenants and landlords on repairs.
It was Chris Fitzpatrick who suggested that Ms Kimball put her hand up for the REINSW’s Property Management Committee. It meant catching a flight to Sydney every second month. She still recalls her first meeting where she nervously only managed a quick introduction.
“I was the country agent coming to the city thinking ‘oh my goodness what am I doing’ – I was in awe but they were all so lovely,” she said.
Ms Kimball went onto serve as Committee Chair from 2007 to 2009 and as a Director of the REI Board from 2015 to 2019.
She later became Director at the same agency where she landed her first break into real estate, helping to grow it from just six members to a staff of 50.
Ms Kimball has been determined to raise the profile of Property Management as a career in its own right and not just a stepping stone to other roles. The mother of four says it is a job you can do with a family and still ‘have a life’.
“Salespeople are out there and people know what they are doing, but Property Managers just go about and do our job to the best of our ability,” she said.
“I’d like to dedicate this award to the other Property Managers on the committee who also worked so hard – they really are unsung heroes.”
A job promotion for husband Steven has meant a recent sea-change to the Central Coast. Ms Kimball has just taken up a position with the REINSW Helpline where she also hopes to encourage and support those working in Property Management.