Pippa Rowntree is taking a different view
5 April 2019
Pippa Rowntree isn’t a real estate agent – but when she saw property management specialist agency Leah Jay were hiring, she knew she’d found her dream role.

Although her passion for real estate began when she was a child, Pippa – who grew up in the UK – found her early career path took her in a very different direction.

“I was in the Royal Navy for almost eight years and was one of the first women to serve at sea,” she says. “I then re-trained in marketing and have since worked in a number of different industries – travel and tourism, construction and property management – and I also ran my own business for five years.”

Pippa moved to Australia with her young family and settled in Newcastle, where they’ve been for 15 years.

Follow your passion

As one of a growing number of professionals working in the industry with a core skill set and experience acquired outside of real estate, Pippa knows first hand how sharing a diverse range of knowledge and insights can benefit a team. 

“I saw my current role advertised and, when I realised it was at Leah Jay, I jumped at the opportunity,” she says. “Leah Jay is a brand I respect and I was really excited at the thought of working with them.”

“I’ve had a lifetime fascination with property and the real estate industry. My parents always bought the worst house on the best street and then fixed it up, so growing up I was constantly surrounded by renovations.”

As well as her interest in real estate, and the knowledge and appreciation for the Leah Jay brand, what really drew Pippa to her job was the opportunity to learn from the agency’s founders and directors.

“I loved what they stood for and wanted to work with them to keep the brand strong and evolving,” she explains.

“Like a lot of skill sets, marketing is transferable to different industries. But I also think it’s important to be passionate about what you are doing. If you don’t have that passion and excitement for your work, then that can potentially come through to your clients and colleagues. And it’s especially important in marketing, as that could flow through into campaigns and communications with clients and stakeholders.”
 

Everyone in the team has a part to play in the success of the business, so it’s important to recognise that and engage the people you’re working with to get the best results. I think, if anything, that’s the key to success – to have the right people around you. – Pippa Rowntree

An evolving role

When Pippa began at Leah Jay three-and-a-half years ago, it was as Marketing Manager and a member of the executive team. In that role, Pippa was the brand guardian for Leah Jay, ensuring all internal and external communications and activities reflected the values and vision of the brand. However, her diverse skill set and business experience saw Pippa working across all areas of the agency from day one.

“My first six weeks in the business were exciting because I project managed the fit out of a new office,” she remembers. “That really fed into my love of renovating and design, and it was a fantastic project to work on to bring the brand to life for our team and clients.

“One of the most rewarding parts of that role was being able to work with different teams across Leah Jay.

“Branding and marketing touches all areas of the business. I’ve worked on steering groups, special projects and on the introduction of new processes. It’s put me in a great position to be able to work with and get to know a lot of people who operate in different areas of the agency.”

Since starting at Leah Jay, Pippa also worked closely on the strategic direction of the business, conducted market research to help inform decisions about the growth of the agency, supported the training of property managers and leaders in the business, and worked across sponsorship and community activities – all while ensuring the values of Leah Jay were reflected in every area of the business.

More recently, Pippa has taken on the new role of Manager – People and Projects, which sees her moving away from her marketing remit to focus on other areas of the business including training, mentoring and recruitment, as well as business and investment projects.

“I don’t really think of myself as ‘successful’,” Pippa says in response to a question about sharing her secrets to success. “But I do think I’m passionate, enthusiastic and I appreciate the team I have around me.

“Everyone in the team has a part to play in the success of the business, so it’s important to recognise that and engage the people you’re working with to get the best results. I think, if anything, that’s the key to success – to have the right people around you.”

Best foot forward

Working at Leah Jay has had some unexpected, but welcome, personal benefits for Pippa.

Inspired by her colleagues’ enthusiasm in their sponsorship and support of a local six-kilometre running event, Pippa found herself stepping outside her comfort zone and joining in.

“People all across the business were giving it a go, from our founder Leah to some of our property managers. I wasn’t really doing any regular exercise at the time, certainly not running, but I was really inspired by my colleagues,” she explains.

Little did Pippa realise, this was the start of a whole new way of life for her. After completing the event, she joined a running group and has gone on to complete six half marathons in three years. She hopes to attempt a marathon next year.

“Running has changed a lot for me,” she continues. “I used to be a night owl, but now I’ve become a morning person and start my day with a run. I find it really helps to clear my head, I arrive at work feeling fresh and I make better decisions throughout the day. Through running I’ve also met a lot of great people. It’s an awesome community to be part of.”
  

For me, the best part about my personal and professional development is that I can use this knowledge to empower members of our team through mentoring and training to help them strive to be the best person they can be. – Pippa Rowntree

Leading the change

As one of the leaders of the business responsible for supporting the training and professional development of her team and property managers across the agency, it’s no surprise that Pippa takes her own ongoing professional development seriously.

“I really love to work on professional and personal development, and I enjoy pushing my boundaries to improve,” she says.

“I’m very task focused and sometimes that comes across like I ‘shut people out’ – which I absolutely don’t want to do – so it was interesting to me to think about that behaviour, why I can be like that and then work to change that behaviour.

“I recently undertook a Life Styles Inventory test to check in on my progress and I was really pleased with the results. It showed that my style of leadership has become more constructive. This helps me to manage stress better, improve professional relationships with my colleagues, be more flexible in how I think and behave, which all ultimately means I can be more effective in my role.

“I think it’s the responsibility of everyone, no matter what your role or position in a business, to be working towards your own development. It’s something that I’m committed to keep working on, because I’ve already seen the benefits it’s had for myself and others. For me, the best part about my personal and professional development is that I can use this knowledge to empower members of our team through mentoring and training to help them strive to be the best person they can be.”
Pippa’s top tips for success in the real estate industry

  1. Communication | Being an excellent communicator is important. You need to not only get your message across clearly, but must also listen and understand what other people want to share with you.
  2. Respect | Always be approachable and friendly with colleagues and clients, and give them the respect everyone deserves.
  3. Understanding | Understanding the perspectives of clients and colleagues is important in any industry, but real estate can be particularly emotional. Whether it’s sellers, buyers, landlords or tenants, we’re dealing with people’s homes and assets, and emotions can be heightened. We all need to take the time to consider what others might be going through, so that we can be compassionate and helpful.
  4. Self-awareness | Be aware of your behaviour and actions, and consider how they may impact or influence other people in your team. You often notice other people’s actions, but being conscious of how you behave and how that impacts the functioning of the team is very important.
  5. Support | Building a support network around you is essential. Having people who you can go to for advice and guidance is extremely valuable, regardless of the industry you are working in.
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