By Hedgie Gundry
Wayne Stewart and Cathy Baker are a formidable pair. Their decade-long mentoring relationship is as inspiring as it is mutually beneficial. Here they share their mentoring journey.
Managing Director at Century 21 Novocastrian and former REINSW President
When the REINSW Mentoring Program launched back in 2011, I thought it was a sensational idea and was quick to volunteer. I was asked if I’d be happy to mentor someone from the Central Coast, as I’m based in Newcastle, and I gladly obliged.
I first met Cathy at the inaugural Mentoring Program meeting and, when the formalities were over, we sat down to get to know each other. She told me her story, talked about her family, how long she’d been in real estate, her current performance figures, where she was today and where she wanted to be. To be honest, I was immediately in awe of her. This was the beginning of what was to become an inspiring journey for both of us.
Cathy and I worked together by talking through her goals and how she was going to achieve them. Initially, I thought she was being overly ambitious, but her passion was infectious. I knew she would succeed as she had such a clear vision.
After a couple of brief phone conversations, I met Cathy on the Central Coast and asked her to come up with a business plan. The first step was to help her understand that she was running her own business within a business, and, when she had her plan in place, she could grow accordingly from there. It was a simple step and she’s not looked back. That first ‘Cathy Baker Business Plan’ still sits proudly in my office today.
Everything she does, she does from the heart. For me, this is one of the core reasons why she’s so successful. She truly cares about what she does and the people she does it for. That has been one of the greatest pleasures of working with Cathy Baker.”
Cathy and I don’t get to see each other as much as we’d like as we are both so busy, but she truly epitomises for me that, in life, you can become whatever you want to be – you simply need dreams, goals, a plan and huge commitment.
I’ve loved working with Cathy over these years and watching her smash each of her remarkable goals. I also admire her for what she represents to women in business. While she was achieving these remarkable goals, she’s also been a mother to four boys at a very demanding time of their lives.
Cathy is an inspiration for any real estate agent who wants to be successful. This is just one of the many reasons why I encouraged her to become a member of the REINSW Residential Sales Chapter Committee – so she can inspire and encourage many others.
In my experience, everyone who works in real estate sales has an ego. You need an ego to do this job in the same way you need an ego to be an actor. You’re out there performing, at all levels, all the time. But once I got to know Cathy, I realised she runs a business that is genuinely not ego-based. Everything she does, she does from the heart. For me, this is one of the core reasons why she’s so successful. She truly cares about what she does and the people she does it for. That has been one of the greatest pleasures of working with Cathy Baker.
I’ve gained so much from this mentoring relationship, not least of which is a dear friend who I look to with the greatest of respect. I’m incredibly proud to have had a small part to play in Cathy’s incredible career journey.
Principal at Belle Property Killcare
I started in real estate when I was 40; I had four young children and needed to learn all I could about the industry as quickly as I could.
Wayne was part of the REINSW Mentoring Program and, when I applied, we were lucky enough to be assigned to each other. We committed to regular catch-ups in person, but I also knew I could speak to him over the phone anytime I wanted.
Wayne immediately understood how my business worked, as he’s also based in a regional area. He knew the Central Coast extremely well and had an in-depth understanding of what I wanted to achieve.
When we first came together, I was just starting in real estate and had so much to learn. Wayne was fantastic at guiding me through the processes and helped me to avoid making huge mistakes. He has always had a great ability to advise me in ways that are easy for me to understand.
Having Wayne as my mentor was an absolute godsend. Even though the official REINSW Mentoring Program only lasted 12 months, he’s remained a huge influence throughout my real estate career. And, importantly, we’re firm friends. He’s such a warm and kind-hearted person, and has always had 100 per cent confidence in my abilities. I also love his dry sense of humour and positive outlook on life.
Now that I’m more established in the industry, we support and learn from each other as much as we can. A mentoring relationship between two people at different stages of real estate is exciting. There’s a real synergy between us and he’s now a lifelong friend as much as he’s a valued mentor.”
Wayne has been my sounding board for all the major business decisions I’ve made, from being an agent back in 2009 to becoming the principal of my own business in 2015. Even though I’ve had business coaches and trainers along the way, Wayne has been there every step of the way and I have huge respect for him and value his expert opinion. As a former President of REINSW with a vast wealth of real estate knowledge, he’s such a valuable resource for someone in my shoes.
Wayne is very generous with his time and I can always call him if there’s something I’m unsure of, even to this day. He runs a big business himself, but still finds the time to help anyone he can – and this is one of his most endearing traits.
Now that I’m more established in the industry, we support and learn from each other as much as we can. A mentoring relationship between two people at different stages of real estate is exciting. There’s a real synergy between us and he’s now a lifelong friend as much as he’s a valued mentor.
We used to meet up monthly at the REINSW Residential Sales Chapter Committee meetings, but he’s recently stepped down from this position. It’s a bit sad for me thinking about the fact he’s not going to be there to catch up with regularly.
When I reflect on my journey and the people who have had the most impact on my career, Wayne has been a constant inspiration throughout.
I’ll be forever grateful for the opportunities Wayne has given me.