Wendy Thomson is a busy woman! She is the Owner, Director and Officer in Effective Control of a boutique Commercial Real Estate Agency and the Owner, Director and Lead Consultant of a commercial property consultancy and training company – WendyWho?. In this profile, Wendy shares her experiences of 30 years in the property industry.
Did you always want to work in the property industry? Not at all – worked in my family engineering business and then moved into a role as administrator in a Commercial, Residential Building and Development company. From there I was targeted to take on a role as a Commercial Property Manager in a mainstream real estate agency – then realised I had found the career I had been seeking. I left when I was asked to falsify documents, and set up my own agency in 2004 using a different model than main stream agency business.
Who has been a mentor to you in your career, and how has that effected where you are today? I love networking and have found excellent mentors in the property and other industries who have supported me unconditionally. I have loved the fact that my closest mentors were happy to be honest and challenge me to take on work and projects I doubted I could even think about completing. Without mentors life would have been very different – and not in a positive way.
What advice would you give to someone starting out in the property industry? Learn as much as you possibly can – find mentors – join networks – work out which ones are valuable and leave those that are not.
What do you do to maintain physical and/or mental health? Well this is an ongoing challenge – but physical movement is really important – taking time out to walk, meditate, float one a month, have a massage, journal, surround myself with positive people, travel, explore, yoga and practice gratitude every day! Go to a health retreat! Take a real holiday!
What do you think are the critical things holding women back in the industry? One major is being “invisible” in the boys club of commercial – this is changing slowly but in key organisations and agencies a token women is often put in a position but there is often no genuine listening or respect for the value a women brings to the table. Julie Bishop describes being invisible very well from her time in Parliament.
What positive changes have you seen in the industry over the years? More women entering the industry, but also being accepted as an asset to businesses especially commercial property industry. Higher level of use and acceptance of technology but still a much more development required – lots of opportunities for the right recipe for commercial property management and administration.
How did you get to where you are today? Have you had a diversified career path? Sheer hard work, courage to take on new tasks and roles, pushing boundaries every day, learning and expanding my knowledge, asking questions, accepting challenges, not accepting no as an answer when I believed in something strongly, unfortunately at times putting my work before my family.
Valuing my team and networks. Never leaving behind my values and ethics.
Who has influenced you in your career? Many people throughout my life – this continues to change – currently I am inspired by Annabel Crabb and Leigh Sales. Recently took part in Roxy Jacenko Brand Bootcamp – for me this was very “left field” but it was amazing and I am now in the process of setting up a more relevant social media profile and consistent branding.
What do the WIP Network events mean to you? WIP network events provide solid networking opportunities and meet inspirational women in property roles. Restores the Faith!
Where do you see women in the property industry in the future? I hope that women in property will mentor others in the industry to grow and contribute to their full capacity for a higher level of professional standards and improve the reputation of the whole property industry.