Prue Fletcher is the Brand and Lifestyle Ambassador for Fletchers Real Estate, having joined the agency in 2009. Here, Prue shares her thoughts on working in the property industry and where she sees it heading into the future.
Did you always want to work in the property industry? From a young age I actually wanted to join the mounted police force, I have a deep love for horses! However, I did always have an interest in property as my mum and dad were supportive of my sisters and I buying property from a very early age. It wasn’t until purchasing my first home in my early 20’s that my love for Real Estate really ignited and I chased down a career in property – never looking back.
Who has been a mentor to you in your career, and how has that effected where you are today? Born a Leo, I guess I’ve always naturally been a bit of self-starter, however when I began in Sales in 2009 I worked alongside an incredible leading lady, Kaye Hoverd. She taught me the importance of being a strong woman yet most importantly to never let go of my femininity. Little did we know back then how powerful both of these attributes would become as we now witness our industry forever changed with the rise of AI and automation.
What advice would you give to someone starting out in the property industry? KNOW YOUR STUFF, become an EXPERT and start building your online brand around this with authenticity. The internet can provide clients with an overwhelming amount of information and as agents we need to be able to weave through the chatter and deliver expert, up to date advice to our clients and execute negotiations with finesse. Exemplary time management skills are also imperative to a successful career in Real Estate.
What do you do to maintain physical and/or mental health? Juggling a new role with two little girls keeps me pretty active! I prioritise some ‘me time’ everyday, even if for 15 minutes, to ensure the people who rely on me are always getting the best version of myself.
I love Yoga, I try and practice daily. In an world where we are constantly connected, I make every attempt to disconnect, it’s the only way I can recharge. I don’t take my phone to bed at night, I am strict on this. I love reading and learning so I always read in the evening to wind down. We need to allow our bodies and minds to truly rest and get restorative sleep.
Pilates, meditation, horse riding and a brisk walk also fill my cup. And a glass of red wine at the end of the day, it’s all about balance, right?
What do you think are the critical things holding women back in the industry? In all my years I’ve never felt secondary to my male colleagues. I think Real Estate is an industry which not only provides pay parity, but also equal opportunity for females to succeed and lead. However, I will put a caveat on that if you are a woman ‘wanting to start a family’.
Culturally, Real Estate is a 7 day a week profession, we have built an industry (rightly or wrongly) around this. It’s one of the only professions I am aware of where people call you at 8.00am on Christmas morning. These boundaries CAN change.
In my new role, it is a goal of mine to explore the restructuring of Sales roles which will allow women to maintain leadership positions should they desire to have a family. In my 12 months on maternity leave I was still able to generate an income and service my clients remotely working flexibly. Given the changing landscape and our ability to work anywhere, I know others can be supported in doing the same. We see such talent drop off and never return, it saddens me when these women have SO much to offer.
It involves a cultural shift and a re-education for both employers and clients, however it starts with conversations like this. It’s time for change!
What positive changes have you seen in the industry over the years? When I first started in 2009, women made up the administration department and men predominately Sales. I believe as an industry we are slowly beginning to see the value of a female representative at the negotiating table. Data released via REA last year stated that ‘Millennial women are the fastest growing home owners in Australia’ and to ignore their presence as the decision makers in our communities is very much ignorant and brand damaging.
I think companies have started to realise that women, both in the workplace and in the home, have a significant role to play which is dangerous if ignored.
How did you get to where you are today? Have you had a diversified career path? I first started on Reception with Hocking Stuart in Ivanhoe. I moved to London and returned to take a role as a PA to the Director at the time of Ian Reid Real Estate. I started there in September 2009 and we rebranded to Fletchers in the February of 2010. I worked alongside some brilliant agents for the best part of 10 years and they taught me everything I know. I progressed to a Senior Sales Consultant for Fletchers, selling lifestyle property in Eltham & Kangaroo Ground until I left on maternity leave in mid 2016. Whilst not in the office 7 days a week, I was still able to generate a reasonable income and service my clients whilst working flexibly.
I saw an opportunity to take on a new role and pave the way for others to do the same, which is where my passion now lies in helping to re-educate both our industry and clients allowing women in similar circumstances to myself to still have a successful career in Real Estate.
Who has influenced you in your career? Fletchers is currently in it’s Centenary Year, my husband’s great grand-father founded the business back in 1919. My father-in-law Rob, still serves as Executive Chairman today, and since moving from Eltham to Corporate I have had a front row seat at what a remarkable career he has had. For a company to withstand 100 years in business, especially Real Estate, the authenticity and community respect both he and the leadership group have achieved is something which I hope we, as a brand, take into the next 100 years. The majority of his business was built ‘offline’ and his presence serves as a constant reminder for me to get amongst the community and do good things for others when given the chance.
What do the WIP Network events mean to you? Having organised catch ups with like-minded women within our industry means that our message can travel further, our ideas can be BIGGER and together we can all be braver in leading the way for the next generation coming through.
Where do you see women in the property industry in the future? I hope that if you are an 18 year old girl with dreams of having a career in Real Estate that you are given every opportunity to lead and succeed and that if you choose to have a family you are provided with a pathway back, should you choose.