Why Walt Disney is my inspiration: Jo-Anne Oliveri

It may not seem like Walt Disney and the brothers behind the golden arches, McDonald’s, have much in common with real estate, but for Jo-Anne Oliveri they’ve provided sound inspiration for her property management career.

Throughout my 30-year property management career, I have learned many lessons about leadership.

Here are my top six takeaways to inspire you to become an empowered and enriched real estate leader.

1. Never stop learning

Learning is the greatest gift you can give yourself.

From day one as a property manager, I developed the habit of reinvesting 10 per cent of my annual earnings into my personal and professional development.

Every year, I not only developed the knowledge and skills needed to take the next career step but also increased my earnings.

As a leader, you will never know everything, which is why you must never stop learning.

If you want to be a successful leader, continually invest in yourself, and learn what you need to take the next step.

2. Seek inspiration from leaders outside your industry

There is so much inspiration to gather from other leaders.

However, only taking inspiration from leaders within your industry is an insular approach.

That’s why I stepped outside the real estate industry and sought empowerment from leaders in other fields.

One such leader is Walt Disney.

He inspired others to believe in their vision and bring it to fruition with the help of their cast or team.

The original McDonald’s founders, Richard and Maurice McDonald, also inspired me.

While Ray Kroc’s leadership enabled scalability, the McDonald brothers created the systems to ensure consistency and productivity.

Look beyond real estate and learn from leaders outside the industry to discover an untapped world of inspiration.

3. Lead from behind

Leading from the front is one of the biggest mistakes that leaders make because they can’t see what’s going on in their team.

If we look to the animal kingdom, we can learn a great lesson from wolves.

The alpha wolf leads from behind so he can watch over his pack.

That way, if the senior wolves tire, he can call on others to support them.

On the contrary, if the junior wolves stray, he can call on others to guide them.

Successful leaders lead from behind so they can support and guide their pack safely towards their goals.

4. Focus on targets, not numbers

Great leaders ditch the management number mentality and focus on the asset value target.

That’s because only focusing on the desired number of managements results in properties scattered across a wide market area that generally have a low rental value, require more time to maintain and cost more per property to manage.

As a result, this impacts your profit per management earning potential.

Successful leaders shift their focus from numbers to targets.

To do this, work out your average monthly rent in your market area and multiply it by your management fee.

Growing your property management business using this method can generate a quality rent roll, increase your asset value multiplier point, and decrease your business costs.

5. Experience is an asset

Successful leaders know when experience is an asset or liability.

We all know that hiring staff is one of the most critical business tasks.

A recruit will either align with your brand or follow their own agenda.

One type of recruit is an asset to your business, while the other is a liability.

That’s why you should measure a recruit’s experience with another critical quality- adaptability.

6. A journey never runs in a straight line

A mentor once shared with me that you should see life as a wonderful winding river.

The river has many twists, turns, obstacles and currents and will never flow in a straight line.

When we have a goal, we must be prepared for the twists, turns, obstacles and currents and see them as lessons guiding us to our destination.

If you stay the course, you can reach your destination and emerge as an empowered leader.

Being a leader comes with colossal responsibility but equal amounts of joy, enrichment and fulfilment.

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Jo-Anne Oliveri

Jo-Anne Oliveri, CIPS, TRC, Founder and Managing Director of property management business solutions company ireviloution intelligence. She is an international real estate identity who has trained over 500 agencies and thousands of agency owners and property managers worldwide. Visit to find out more.