Danielle Boyd was just 13 when she was diagnosed with a life-threatening disease, but she hasn’t let it stop her chasing her dreams. From reception to general manager, the Wiseberry agent has worked her way up the ladder with a positive, never-give-up attitude. At just 29, Danielle says she’s only just getting started.
If you put a hurdle in front of Danielle Boyd, you better believe she’s going to jump it.
At just 29, the effervescent real estate professional has overcome a serious health condition, which threatened her life on three occasions, to become the general manager at Wiseberry Taree.
She fulfilled her lifelong dream to run and grow a real estate team and office of her own earlier this year, arriving at the Victoria St office to witness the challenging aftermath of the March NSW floods.
The first time Danielle made the two-and-a-half-hour trip from Wyong, where she previously lived, to Taree, the town was still cut off by floodwaters, and she had to turn back.
“A couple of days later, I got in,” she recalls.
“I pulled up at the office, and when I walked in, I’ll never forget it because the whole office was a mess from being flooded.
“It was all mud. It was horrible, and I stood at the door holding back the tears.
“At that moment, I was thinking, ‘What have I done?’”
A NEW BEGINNING
What Danielle had done was pick up her comfortable life in Wyong, where she had family and friends, and moved more than 200km away.
“I moved from the Central Coast to Taree on my own, no partner, no children,” she says.
“I didn’t know anyone; I just packed up and did it.”
Danielle’s first day in Taree was spent ripping up carpet and knocking down walls in the office with a few local firefighters on hand to help out.
The first two weeks were spent cleaning up, and the following two consisted of renovating to ensure the office once again looked like a real estate agency.
“It took about four weeks because everyone in town needed trades, and there were backorders on things like carpet and flooring,” Danielle explains.
“We’re still waiting on things even now, but it’s nothing too bad.”
Danielle’s career leading up to her becoming general manager at Taree is just as eventful.
A CHALLENGING DIAGNOSIS
At just 13 years old, she was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease, an inflammatory bowel disease that affects the whole digestive tract.
While Danielle claims the title of being the first child in the country to trial chemotherapy as a treatment for the condition, it, unfortunately, didn’t work or aid her recovery, and there’s still no cure for Crohn’s disease.
“They (doctors) did everything they could for me between the ages of 13 and 16, and then they just said, ‘We can’t do any more. We need to take your large intestine’,” she says.
“So they went in, and they took my large intestine, and that’s when I was given the ileostomy bag.”
Over the next four years, Danielle was in and out of the hospital with various complications, including some that were life-threatening.
She had a severe reaction to medication and later developed an infection post-surgery that doctors caught just before it turned septic.
NEAR DEATH EXPERIENCE
But it was Danielle’s third life-threatening complication that saw her just an hour away from death.
She was working in real estate at the time and was at home cooking dinner with her partner when she started feeling unwell and vomiting.
A trip to the doctor saw her diagnosed with gastritis and sent home with pain medication.
Still in severe pain the next day, Danielle went to the hospital, only to be given the same diagnosis and sent home with morphine.
“I knew something wasn’t right, so I said to my partner, ‘You need to take me to John Hunter Hospital because I’m not ok’,” Danielle recalls.
“When we got to John Hunter Hospital, they rushed me straight in for emergency surgery because my bowel had started perforating.
“Later, they told me that 50 minutes is all that I would have had left.”
THE LUCKY ONE
Danielle says her illness and close brushes with death have fuelled her to live life to the fullest and to be grateful for every day.
She says she has met some inspiring people through her illness, but not all of them have made it, making her realise she’s one of the lucky ones.
“When you’ve come close a couple of times yourself, and you’ve met people that haven’t made it, it just really makes you go, ‘I’m very grateful’,” Danielle says.
“I might have this bag attached to me for the rest of my life, but when I’m dressed, you don’t know (it’s there).
“I’m very lucky. I was told I’d never work full-time, so that’s why when I work, I work really hard. Being told you wouldn’t be able to do something and then doing it means I just want to go all in.
“I’m like that with every aspect of my life because you really have no idea when things can take an unexpected turn.”
PERSONAL EXPERIENCE FUELS HER CAREER
Danielle’s career in real estate started eight years ago and was fuelled by her own experience of being unable to secure a rental property.
At just 18, Danielle didn’t have a rental history, and she struggled to find a landlord and agency to take her on.
After undergoing surgery for her Crohn’s disease, Danielle finally found somewhere to live with a department of housing unit.
“Because I struggled so hard to get a rental for myself, that’s when I decided to get into real estate because I wanted to help people secure accommodation,” she says.
Danielle went to TAFE and got her Certificate IV in Property Services and then her Certificate of Registration before calling and handing in her resume at every local real estate agency.
The tactic worked, and she got a job with Raine & Horne Wyong on reception.
She also got experience in sales administration and property management, before moving to Raine & Horne Lake Munmorah, which was then bought by Wiseberry.
“From there, I became Kimberley Burke’s personal assistant, and then Darin (Butcher) moved me into property management where I worked for 18 months and managed more than 200 rental properties,” Danielle says.
“The property management role is what well and truly pushed me outside my comfort zone, and it’s where I learnt my confidence.
“I went from being a personal assistant where I was told what to do, or where I asked what I should do, to running a portfolio of over 200 properties where I was in control, I had to make the decisions and I had to run it my way.”
THE GREATEST LESSON
Danielle says one of the greatest lessons she learnt in property management was not to take things personally or to take work home with her.
She says it’s a fine balancing act between caring enough to develop a trusted relationship with landlords and tenants and being able to switch off once you leave the office.
But Danielle stresses there is lots of enjoyment working in property management, and she loved nothing more than catching up with tenants during their first periodic inspection.
“It’s really rewarding when you do your first routine inspection, and you see a tenant come in and make a property that you’ve seen vacant their home,” she says.
“When you approve someone’s application as a tenant, it really does have the power to change their lives.
“You’ve given them a home in a location that they’ve always wanted, that is close to their children’s school and you watch them turn it into their home, and you get to watch their kids grow up. That’s rewarding.”
REACHING HER GOAL
Despite her clear love of property management, Danielle says when Darin offered her the position as general manager at Taree, it was a no-brainer.
“General manager was always my end goal,” she says.
“Whenever I sat down with Darin and did my goals and where I wanted to get to, I always said general manager.
“So when I was offered general manager at 29, I couldn’t say no.”
Taking on the Taree agency has also seen Danielle switch to becoming a selling agent – something she only had limited experience in before this role.
But she says having worked in almost all facets of real estate earlier in her career and working as Kimberley’s PA had stood her in good stead.
“I was always in awe of her negotiation skills, and I listened to her going back and forth with offers,” Danielle explains.
“I studied her vendor management, how she built relationships with buyers and I understood the whole sales administration process.
“I had the background, the understanding and the knowledge, so it made it (switching to sales) quite easy.”
Danielle’s first sale at Taree came from a buyer that walked into the office just to see what she had listed.
“They said, ‘This is what we’re after’ and I said, ‘This is the one for you’,” she says.
“It turns out they were from the central coast, so we were talking for 20 minutes about how different it is here in Taree to the coast, and then I took them out to the property.
“I sold them the property then and there, on the spot.”
ATTITUDE OF GRATITUDE
Danielle says she’s now able to live with Crohn’s disease and manage the condition by eating well, exercising and listening to her body.
With stress one of the main things that can cause the condition to worsen or ‘flare up’, Danielle says it’s important that she takes time out and slows down when she notices that she’s becoming mentally and physically weary.
“I’m also really big on self-development,” she says.
“Every morning, I practice gratitude, and I think that really helps. If you’re starting the day and constantly saying what you’re grateful for, it’s harder for life to bring you down.
“As an agent, you can have some tough days because you’re dealing with a difficult client, selling a deceased estate, or selling a property because of a divorce, or you haven’t hit a target, or you’ve lost listings.
“There’s a lot of stress and pressure, and you’ve got to learn to pull the positive from any and every situation.
“You’ve also got to take time out for yourself, whether that’s reading a book, going for a walk, listening to a podcast or getting a coffee.
“I love pilates – that’s my thing.”
THE FUTURE IS STRONG
Danielle says she was sent to the Taree office to build and grow the agency, which now comprises five team members, including Karlee Felton, Murray Robinson and Alister Currie.
Since she started, Danielle has employed two ‘young guns’ who focus on prospecting and training to become a buyers’ agent or a listing agent.
Danielle says she has clear personal and agency-wide goals for the future.
She’d like to buy into the Taree office and see Wiseberry Taree named the most improved office at the annual Wiseberry awards.
She is establishing a property management department and wants to see Wiseberry Taree become the top agency in town.
“I’d love to see that by the end of the year,” Danielle says.
“I’d love to see us up there as the Number 1 in the area, and I don’t see why we can’t do that.
“We’re all on the same page, we’re working really well together, and we have a team that has that drive.
“I said to Darin the other day, ‘Taree is like my baby. This is it; this is my life. It’s going to grow, you just watch’.”