Family is a word that figures large amongst R&W Principals as they prepare for their annual awards night which this year will double as a celebration of the group’s 160th birthday.
This Saturday around 400 members of that family will gather at Sydney’s International Convention Centre to celebrate 160 years.
And while there’ll be a moment to reflect on their founders, Robert Richardson and Edward Wrench, it’s the more recent journey that is uppermost in the minds of most. Since 2016, when the franchise was acquired by Andrew Cocks, the process of rebranding and repositioning the network for growth, that he began in 2010 as its Executive Director, has gathered pace.
The network’s most recent rebranding, led by Head of Brand and Network Strategy Amanda Ward not only signalled a new future-focused era for the network but the overwhelming sentiment of its members.
This year’s award winners, to be revealed on Saturday, reflect a diverse and growing network with the spoils shared by both new and long-standing offices and principals.
Ahead of the big night principals shared some of their thoughts about the network.
R&W Elizabeth Bay/Potts Point Principal Greg McKinley nominates loyalty and friendship as the key to success.
“I’ve always been shown loyalty and that’s what I’ve given back,” says Mr McKinley. “You have to earn the right to receive it and with Andrew at the helm I feel there is a real loyalty to the brand.”
Mr McKinley started as a leasing clerk with R&W at Bondi Junction, progressing to property manager at the newly opened Potts Point office that he later bought in 1988. He gathered around him his friends, Andrew Hoggett and Jason Boon, as fellow directors and set about building an agency that was much more than a business. It became family, with extended members reaching right across the eastern suburbs to Bondi Junction and Double Bay.
“I still feel my office has a similar vibe to when it started. We’ve always had a very strong culture of fun, learning and really going for it. Culturally each office is its own beast. But the key to our success is loyalty.”
Robyn Lachmund, matriarch of what is fast becoming a real estate dynasty in the Queensland town and suburb of Caboolture, opened a Richardson & Wrench office with husband Peter 18 years ago. She’s witnessed a growing sense of inclusion over recent years.
“I think that is why we are now seeing such a big difference,” says Ms Lachmund.
“We no longer feel excluded; we are consulted and considered to be equals. If I was to describe R&W I would say we are one big family.”
Mark Smith has had nearly two years to dwell on his decision to rebrand First National North Sydney under the Richardson & Wrench banner when he and co-director Tim O’Halloran acquired its North Sydney office.
He takes a pragmatic view of why the Richardson & Wrench fixed fee model works so well for business operators like himself.
“One of the advantages of being in a franchise is that ultimately decisions are made. We found that as an independent office within a co-operative often decisions were not made because everybody wanted to have their say and wanted it done their way.
“With R&W they consult, they do listen and ultimately a decision is made, even if it doesn’t please everybody.”