Elite AgentFeature Interviews

Real estate’s finest ready for the Ride to Provide

Thirty of the industry’s finest are set to trade their pressed shirts for Lycra and their appointment diaries for bicycles in a few short weeks, as they embark on the charitable endeavour Digital Live Ride to Provide.

The challenge will see these real estate professionals cycle 500km across the rural countryside of Thailand, raising funds for Hands Across the Water. We caught up with just a few of the many agents taking part…

What do you do in real estate when you hit the target you’ve been aiming for? You make the next one bigger. That’s exactly what REA director of Industry Relations Steve Carroll set about doing when he flagged the idea of the Digital Live Ride to Provide.

Hot on the heels of raising $25,000 for charity Hands Across the Water through last year’s Digital Live workshops, he set a goal of quadrupling the sum.

Now he’s being joined by a band of real estate professionals who are set to ride 500km through Thailand in April to help achieve that aim.

Founded by former Australian Federal Police officer Peter Baines, Hands Across the Water was initiated in response to the Boxing Day Tsunami of 2004. Its primary aim was to accommodate displaced and orphaned children, but soon the goal extended to include education and opportunity.

And, as the cyclists prepare to hit the road each day on the Ride to Provide, they will don a very pertinent reminder of what their efforts can achieve.

Something to ride for

Mook Petrada is one of Hands Across the Water’s many success stories and was among the first intake of 23 children who found themselves homeless after the tsunami.

Hands general manager Claire Baines explains: “Mook had lost her whole family and was part of our initial project to provide safe accommodation and a future.

“She stayed with us until Uni, where she went on to study marketing. Mook then had the opportunity to come to Australia with our Chairman, and while here managed to secure work experience.”

Mook’s placement allowed her to hone her skills in English and further the education she had completed in Thailand. It also ultimately saw her offered a job here as a graphic designer.

Now, the uniforms the Ride to Provide participants will wear each day on their journey have been personally designed by Mook.

Here’s an insight into just a few of the riders and real estate professionals who will be donning that kit…


James Curtain, Director, Place Woolloongabba 

James Curtain gave up a corporate career to enter real estate 14 years ago, and he hasn’t looked back. Since 2018 he’s been the director of Place Woolloongabba in Brisbane’s inner south-east, where he sells mainly prestige homes.

Why the Ride to Provide?
The father of three is following in both his wife and son’s footsteps by taking on a charitable endeavour.

“My wife took part in a mission to the slums of Africa a few years ago and my son went on a similar trip to the poorer parts of India. Both their experiences changed their lives for the better,” he reflects.

Now, James notes, he’s looking forward to helping contribute to a program that enriches and changes children’s lives.

James’ training routine
James started training in January, undertaking three or four rides a week. He also regularly swims and boxes.

To accommodate this new routine, his average work day starts at 4.30am and he also makes the most of his weekends, with sessions after Saturday open houses and a long ride on the Sunday.

While he’s away…
James plans to be totally focused on the Ride to Provide while he’s away and will entrust all business operations to his skilled team.

Future goals?
James’ major goal for this year is to lead his business and its people through a challenging market, creating a framework that will make them “stronger than ever before”.


Lauren Hampson, Marketing Sales and Administration, Ray White Noosa 

By day, 23-year-old Lauren is a sales administrator at Ray White Noosa, but by night she’s a business owner and graphic designer at Lauren Andrea.

The self-confessed workaholic joined the real estate industry in 2017 and notes her idea of success is to grab every opportunity to empower others through experience and education.

Why the Ride to Provide?
Lauren explains she first met Hands Across the Water founder Peter Baines last year and was hug

ely inspired by the story. When the Ride to Provide opportunity arose, she didn’t think twice.

“I wanted to be a part of providing these beautiful children with the same opportunities that we Australians have in achieving our own goals,” she says.

Lauren’s training regime
This is far from Lauren’s first endurance event. Throughout her childhood, she travelled with her family to participate in sporting fixtures like the Noosa Triathlon, Cairns to Karumba, WA Ironman and the New York Marathon.

Her mum, Michelle, is an experienced cyclist and has been guiding her through training in the lead-up to the 500km ride.

Lauren currently rides 20km a day at the gym before work and again after work, and trains long distance along the coastline at weekends. Shortly, she’ll start tackling the steeper hills with her mum.

While she’s away…
Lauren says she has an incredibly supportive team who are taking on her responsibilities while she’s away. She will also use the opportunity to enjoy some extended travel.

“I plan to take a further week of holidays after the ride to relax. I’m thinking something along the lines of a return visit to my favourite country in the world – Croatia.”

Future goals?
“Finance and travel are on the top of my list this year,” Lauren says.

“I’ve also signed myself up for an array of local events, including the Runaway Noosa Marathon and world-renowned Noosa Triathlon, which is very exciting.”


Brad Robson, Director, Place Graceville

A self-confessed outdoors man, Brad Robson has been in real estate 16 years and now leads a team of 30 in the picturesque Brisbane suburb of Graceville.

Born and raised in New Zealand, his day-to-day role involves leadership, training and coaching, but still offers the time to pursue his passions of mountain bike riding, rock climbing, sailing and mountaineering, with a more recent interest in triathlon.

Why the Ride to Provide?
As a man who loves a challenge, a 500km bike ride for a great cause was something he couldn’t resist.

Brad’s hoping the event will give him the chance to raise funds “for a pretty cool charity” while learning from the finest in the industry.

Brad’s training regime
Brad currently jumps on his bike three times a week to knock out a quick 35 to 60 ks, with a mix of heart rate training, hill training and speed training.

While he’s away…
With total confidence, Brad notes he’s lucky to have an amazing team of people who work with him and they will handle all aspects of the business while he’s away.

Future goals?
“I’m currently in the process of landscaping my house, so the number one goal is to complete that!”

I want to be the best version of me I can be. Many years ago I skydived and it taught me that if I can do that I can do almost anything. This bike ride holds similar value to me. I am so grateful for the opportunity.


Adrian Sacco, Director, One Agency Sunbury

Adrian Sacco came to real estate about five years ago after a successful corporate career, and says this is the industry where he was meant to be.

Now the Sunbury local runs one of the leading agencies in the region, using his people-person approach.

Why the Ride to Provide?
Adrian’s 14-year-old son, Tom, is accompanying him on the Ride to Provide, and Adrian notes he’s looking forward to spending quality time together while helping others.

“The opportunity to contribute to improving the life of someone from a disadvantaged background is simply too good to pass up,” Adrian reflects.

Adrian’s training regime
Adrian and Tom have recently stepped up their training, with at least four bike rides a week in between sessions in the gym.

While he’s away…
Adrian says he’s fortunate to have an excellent team he trusts and respects who will manage the business while he’s away.

“This has allowed me the opportunity to participate. I plan to be out of the business for only two weeks.”

Future goals?
This year Adrian plans to continue building on the rapid growth within his business with a view to expansion. He also intends to work on his personal fitness, while spending more quality time with his family.


Valerie Timms, Principal, Timms Real Estate

Mum of four Valerie Timms has been in real estate 20 years, but that’s not the only career this accomplished woman has enjoyed.

She once worked in an abattoir, spent time as a vet nurse, has made nachos in a Mexican restaurant and also worked with people with disabilities. These days you’ll find her heading up independent agency Timms Real Estate in South Australia.

“I fell into real estate and found the idea of creating my own destiny thrilling,” she notes.

Why the Ride to Provide?
Valerie explains community and charity are all part of her business focus. She has also spent time in Thailand and loves the people and the culture.

“When Steve Carroll mentioned the Digital Live Ride at seminars I was involved in, I was really touched. The story really struck me as such a huge legacy.”

Valerie’s training regime
Valerie has been steadily building up her riding schedule.

“Living in the Adelaide Hills, flat terrain has not been available – so I’ve used a combination of an indoor exercise bike plus insane hill rides that have honestly nearly killed me, but I’m still here and breathing.”

While she’s away…
“I am in a fortunate position where I have built an awesome team around me, so I have great support,” Valerie notes.

“I’ll be gone for a total of 11 days and my team will have everything in hand. I am going to miss my children desperately, but I feel the role modelling outweighs those 11 days.”

Future goals?
“I want to be the best version of me I can be. Many years ago I skydived and it taught me that if I can do that I can do almost anything. This bike ride holds similar value to me. I am so grateful for the opportunity.”

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