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From receptionist to principal: how Kate Handley rose through the ranks

It has been an illustrious career run for Kate Handley of Ray White Waterford, Queensland since she first started out in the real estate industry 12 years ago.

From humble beginnings as a receptionist at Ray White Marsden, it was Handley’s willingness to work for free during the weekends “just to gain experience” was what helped her to propel to where she is today which the owner of her very own business.

It all began when Handley began settling into her role as a receptionist, soon after that she started helping out the property managers by taking on odd jobs for them.

Hungry for more responsibility, she quickly began progressing through the business, and as the owners Kerri and Neville Newman saw her energy they started acting as mentors, guiding and teaching her along the way.

“It was around the time Business Development roles came into real estate and I’d just turned 18. Kerri offered me the opportunity to become the first BDO in the office – I didn’t even have a car! I hustled to buy my first car and get my real estate licence so I could start in the role the following week,” she said.

In her first year in the job, Handley was ranked number one in Business Development across Ray White Queensland.

Kate Handley

“It was all because I sunk my teeth into the role – I was so determined to succeed. Property management is the bread and butter of the business, and I was lucky to work and learn among such a growing operation,” she said.

By this time, Kerri and Neville had decided to move the business to where it is today in Waterford and encouraged Handley to go into a sales role.

“A devastating time for us was when Kerri passed away in 2013. She had taught me so much, and I promised her I would stay with the business and keep her vision alive. Kerri was a true pioneer in the industry in our local area, and I wanted to keep her legacy going.”

Handley soon transitioned into a team leader and business manager role after Kerri’s passing, as Neville tended to his family. Then, two years on, Neville wanted to retire and asked Handley to take over as the principal of the very business that taught her everything she knew about real estate.

Handley and her current business partner, Lisa Anderson took over in February last year and have focussed on creating relationships by growing their property management and sales teams.

“As more and more investors set their sights on the area, the relationship betweens sales and property management are so important.

“When we talk about referrals between the two departments, we call it the incubation system – it develops customers for life. In our office, property management and sales are fully integrated,” Handley said.

With plans to continue growing the business, one of the key focuses for Handley and Anderson is to strengthen the relationships with their landlords and tenants further.

“Our aim is to be much more than just a property manager to our clients; we want to become a consultant for all things property and get to a level where they don’t make decisions without coming to us first,” she said.

Now, 11 years after she started her first role in the business, Handley has reached elite status, putting her among the top two percent of agents across the Ray White Group.

She’s now proud to be mentoring the young people in the team.

“We don’t look for experience when we hire; we look for the cultural fit. We want those who have the drive, who are go-getters.”


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June Ramli

June Ramli was a in-house journalist for Elite Agent Magazine.