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The Women We Value in Real Estate: 5 Leapfrog ladies

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Real Estate is arguably one of the most people-centric businesses you will find on the spectrum of career choice. It calls for empathy and emotional intelligence like no other, plus a hefty dose of business acumen and client-focused service.

People transitioning from one home to another, no matter where or how are going through the most stressful event of ordinary life. There are a million things to think about, and there is a sense of vulnerability and uncertainty. As an Estate Agent, you have to be the one with the calm, clear perspective, the guiding hand, and the reassuring support.

So it's no surprise that women do extremely well in this industry; people skills, deep perception, and an eye for people's dreams and concerns, are the enviable attributes well up the list of our ladies' superb capabilities at Leapfrog. Here are five of these dynamos of whom we are justly proud.

LIZETTE LIEBENBERG

History: Lizette grew up in a marketing-orientated family business environment.  Her early interest in the property field saw her developing a passion for real estate.  She obtained her first property qualification in 1990 and gained her first experience as an agent in Kimberley. In 2002 she purchased the Seeff license for Kimberley and ran her own successful estate agency for the next 4 years. In 2005 she also purchased the Seeff licence for Bloemfontein which she eventually sold in 2009 to focus on her family.  In 2011 Lizette realised she missed the property world too much and, together with her husband - a practising attorney at the time, they purchased the Bloemfontein Leapfrog Property Group franchise.  

The heart of the matter: Lizette has a heart for underprivileged people and is very involved in caring for these minority groups through her church.  She considers world-famous property expert, David Knox, as a mentor, and learned that you can only be successful if you are prepared to work both smart and hard and become an expert in your field. 

The motivating challenge: The most challenging aspect of the business for Lizette is being able to continuously adapt in an ever-changing property market and economy, while always ensuring negatives are turned into positives. For her, highlights outshine the challenges. To develop a rookie agent into an independent agent who is able to successfully negotiate a sale between buyer and seller remains one of her most satisfying experiences. To estate agents entering the profession, she reiterates that success and job satisfaction are only achieved from a place of passion and hard work.

Favourite inspirational saying: "Do it now! What's done is done!"

SILVANA DOS REIS MARQUES

History: For several years Silvana worked in the property finance industry, where she developed her love for property investment. She saw that the industry provided opportunities across several disciplines, and became particularly interested in the laws that govern the industry, and how they affect everyone involved in the industry. She was inspired by the number of people involved and affected by these changes beyond the buyer and the seller, and the immense responsibility carried by a real estate practitioner to maintain awareness of these aspects, ensuring the best advice under ever-changing circumstances.

The heart of the matter: Silvana recognised that in real estate she would be able to live out a "working mommy" career. She also discovered that the Leapfrog Property Group valued integrity and non-discrimination. With such values, she knew any changes in the industry would be approached with those principles as a foundation. Their dedication to community commitments impressed her because she has always believed community involvement to be a priority, whether it's the SPCA or under-privileged children.
 

The motivating challenge: People entrust estate agents with the biggest decision of their lives, and Silvana acknowledges that the way in which they are served will have a lasting effect. She was inspired by Tinus Strydom, a property professional, who taught her to write down goals, set timelines, and to visualise achievement daily. This lesson shaped her life. Some wise words she has learned to live by:

  • Give your customers exactly what they are looking for, plus 1 thing more.
  • Meet the expectations of those you are dealing with, plus 1 thing more.
  • Do everything you have to do every day, plus 1 thing more.

Silvana has received several rewards including, Metro Office of the Year, which served to motivate her to achieve even more. Her highlight though, remains mentoring interns and seeing them grow in the industry; their success truly brings home the importance of her work and the responsibility she carries when dealing with those who put their trust and livelihood in her hands. Silvana sees Real Estate as a stimulating career that is both empowering and inspirational, particularly for women, giving them opportunities to master their own potential.

Favourite inspirational quote: "Be bold, and mighty forces will come to your aid." ~ German philosopher and writer, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe.

MICHELLE COHEN

History:  Michelle ran her own business in the fashion industry until 2000 when the rand/dollar exchange rate began to bite. Having no formal qualifications, nor computer skills she found it difficult to find a well-paying opportunity in the conventional job market. Fortunately, through networking the opportunity arose to join a then small real estate company. Michelle grabbed the chance without hesitation. The opportunity to earn as per output suited her admirably; the harder she worked, the better she earned. Best job in the world! In her first year she was the highest-earning sales agent in the office which she worked in. And that is where her love affair with the real estate business began. Within two years Michelle was a trainer and manager and had contributed significantly to the company's growth. Prior to franchising on her own Michelle was the sales director heading a team of 60 plus agents at that same "little" company which she had initially joined.  

The heart of the matter: Michelle says she still loves every single day in this business; she loves the variety on a daily basis, the opportunity to marry business acumen with people skills, the opportunity to problem-solve. As a principal/trainer/mentor, she loves training her office interns into qualified, successful estate agents, improving their quality of life, both financially and emotionally. When rebranding her business 6 years ago, Leapfrog executives impressed her with their knowledge of the business, their passion and plans for the brand as well as their transparency and humbleness. She saw that their values revolved around people and Michelle was quick to identify with this. That, and the colour and funky marketing!  As is Leapfrog's ethos to donate to various charities, the Johannesburg North East franchise is involved in feeding schemes, contributing toward school lunches for under privileged school children and assisting with business equipment for start-ups in areas where the assistance is needed. They have also assisted with cash donations to an ocular specialist who makes prosthetic eyes for children and adults who have lost or were born without eyes.

The motivating challenge: It was her father, she says, who taught her to be brave: "If you think you can or you think you cannot, you are correct". She has learnt that what people say and what they do, are sometimes two different things. Her philosophy is not to take things personally; business is business. She is driven to succeed and to keep the Leapfrog Johannesburg North East track record of happy staff, happy agents, happy buyers, sellers, landlords and tenants alive and well. She is proud to have put together a multi-award winning (winners of Leapfrog Franchise of the Year 2014/2015/2016/2019) and cohesive team that share in their successes and help each through their disappointments.  "Real estate is a fabulous business for a woman to get into" says Michelle," it enables us to continue to be present in the lives of our families while writing our own pay check at the month-end. The most important tool needed is to learn what to prioritise and how to successfully manage your time with those tools, then the sky is the limit!"

 "Favourite inspirational quote: "Don't take criticism from the people in the cheap seats to heart, let their criticism fall to the floor and walk over it." ~ Brene Brown

BERNIE MULLER

History: Bernie says her father was the biggest influence in her life, always going the extra mile to provide for his children and his wife. In everything she does, she has strived to meet those same leadership ambitions that her father instilled in her. With this in mind, she believed a move into real estate would give her the freedom to set and control her own goals. She wanted to be able to push herself forward without limits. She felt that her background in the hospitality industry had given her invaluable experience, which in turn, would definitely give her a head-start in real estate. She knew that being an experienced 'people-person' was vital to her success.

The heart of the matter: Once she opened her Leapfrog branch, she felt able to really spread her wings. She had the opportunity to employ new agents and share her knowledge with them. Bernie enjoys the 'give back' philosophy of Leapfrog. Her team offers free car washes at their local BP garages to the community as part of their marketing strategy; they also support a small local family recycling business with shredded paper. Going the extra mile for clients is imperative, and her agency is always ready to offer guidance and advice at any time.

The motivating challenge: Bernie's most challenging experience was taking ownership of her own franchise in Edgemead. This gave her more responsibility but also the opportunity for limitless personal growth. She has received various awards within the industry, and can testify to the fact that hard work really does pay off. The rewards include: the World Class Award for various years; the Most Unit Sales Award; Top Metro Agent; as well as a product gift award from Private Property. She strongly believes that what you put in, is what you get out.

Favourite inspirational quote: "Don't wait to buy real estate - buy real estate and wait." ~ Will Rogers, actor and humanist.  Another favourite of hers, is: "If you think hiring a professional is expensive, wait till you hire an amateur."

SHARON MATTISON

History: Sharon qualified as a school teacher but over years became disillusioned with the changing role of teachers. A friend was starting her own estate agency and asked Sharon to join her and give it a try. So, as she says, she got into real estate by default, realising it was a good way to fit effectively around her kids' schedules. After a year, she moved to Pam Golding and worked there for 10 years. Her husband joined her in those last 2 years,  with the idea that eventually they would branch out on their own. After some investigation, he deemed Leapfrog the best way to go.

The heart of the matter: Sharon is very committed to her local church, and is always looking to meet needs in the community, often working behind the scenes. She loves getting behind social initiatives and promoting them. The Leapfrog Blood Drive is something she is very passionate about. Inspiration is always close: she says that the people whom we are closest to, should be the ones who help shape us into the person we become. Her husband has taught her to laugh in spite of herself, and her children have been a great leveller, especially as they have grown older and have experienced their own life lessons. No experience is ever wasted.

The motivating challenge: High on her list would be the opening of the Leapfrog franchise; the vision was always to provide a platform for people to earn an income and feel secure enough to allow for personal growth - and she feels that the team dynamic in the office is testament to that. Sharon believes strongly in mutual respect, "We should give all human beings the space they need to develop into the best they can be". She advises that success in the industry is a marathon and not a sprint. If love for people is not at the core of your career, in her view, you will just be doing a job.

Favourite inspirational quote: (from her mom) "You have one reputation; look after it."

The Leapfrog Property Group

Leapfrog Property Group offers a fresh and innovative approach to buying, selling, renting and property investments, ensuring the best property deals for clients across South Africa. Our agents are qualified, trained, experienced; our approach bold and spirited, driven by heart, generosity and honesty. It is our mission to advise, eliminate obstacles and save you unnecessary expense. Trust is our watchword. And value our motto. Armed with our combined credentials, we are the bright face of excellence in the South African market. 

Find us at: www.leapfrog.co.za

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Author: Leapfrog

Submitted 29 Aug 19 / Views 449