Episode 68: Edward Smyth and Karen Stewart on building a team and playing to your strengths

“If you don’t get it right at the start you’re going to fail – for teams that’s really important. A lot of people now see people on stage at AREC and think a high-performance team is the way forward, but you’ve got to get it right at the start.” 

On paper, Edward Smyth and Karen Stewart’s partnership seems peculiar. Coming from very different backgrounds, Karen has been in real estate for 15 years on the Gold Coast whereas Ed joined the industry just two years ago after working as an investment banker in the UK, it’s hard to see how their styles would mesh. But in this episode of the Elevate podcast, Hannah Blackiston discovered that the secret to success for the co-directors of NGU Gold Coast lies in those differences and the unique approach they each bring to the business.

In this podcast, we explore both Karen and Ed’s careers, how they work together (and when they don’t) and how tech and data can change the way agents interact with clients.

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Episode host: Hannah Blackiston
Special guest: Edward Smyth and Karen Stewart


1:31 Ed’s history as an investment banker and why he decided to make the leap to real estate

2:27 How Ed and Karen met and why they decided to work together

2:41 Karen’s background from her 15+ years in real estate

3:16 Karen: “I wrote about $1.5 million dollars in my first two weeks there”

4:10 Karen: “It can be a lonely business working in real estate, especially if you have a quiet personality like I do”

4:55 The importance of differences in a successful team

5:48 Why the stakes need to be even for a business partnership to be successful

6:32 Using a partnership to appeal to a wider demographic

6:53 Ed: “People see speakers on the stage at AREC and think a high-performance team is the way forward, but you have to get it right from the start”

7:15 Prioritise the tasks you perform so you’re maximising the return for your business

8:38 Ed: “You need to focus on how you get stuff off your table so you can get the good stuff on your table”

8:54 Inside the day to day of a high-performance team

9:25 How an outsider perspective can benefit your business

10:14 Ed: “It’s about identifying what kind of person we’re going to deal with and letting them choose who they’re most comfortable with”

11:20 How technology and automation can save you time

12:06 Karen: “I’ll continue to be the face to face and do the personal touch because I think you need both”

14:00 How a good partner can bring out the best in you

14:45 Finding what drives you

16:00 Background on the Gold Coast market

17:50 Making the most of quiet market

19:24 Ed: “I think a business mentor is critical”

21:02 Planning for the future as a new business

22:08 Losing momentum when you change brands or open a new office

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Hannah Blackiston

Hannah Blackiston was an in-house journalist with Elite Agent. She worked with the company from January 2018 to January 2019.