For me (Sally) it all began right here in Sydney, born and raised in the Eastern Suburbs…
Like many others from his generation, my father had left school young (at the age of 14) and became a taxi driver, while my mother stayed at home raising both my older brother and I. When I was 11 my father, at the age of 40, was accepted to study Law at UNSW. He completed his degree about 6 years later, going on to make a successful career for himself in security and legal consulting.
There must have been something in the water because, also at 40, my mother decided to enter the workforce after studying real estate. She went on to have a thriving career as a residential property consultant in nearby Bondi Junction.
As for me, I ended up studying communications at Macquarie University once I finished school. I’ve always enjoyed news and current affairs, and had the aspiration of becoming a journalist. But then when I was 20, I was a passenger in a serious car accident. I was the most badly injured, suffering some permanent injuries to my right hand. But thanks to some great surgeons and good rehab, these are barely noticeable now. In 1989, after a year of hospital stays and intensive physio, I was ready to get back to my career path. Except that by this time, I was no longer interested in studying to be a journalist…
You see, at this same point in time, Sydney was experiencing a property boom. I remember everyone was talking real estate- so I wanted to get in on the excitement! It wasn’t just a brief flash of inspiration for me, either- I attended TAFE and secured my Certificate IV in Real Estate, in addition to my Auctioneers qualifications. At TAFE we had an auctioneering lecturer by the name of Peter Gillman- and as we now know, he ended up playing a considerable part in my life!
The Early Days
After completing my degree, I landed a job as Assistant Commercial Property Manager at an agency in Bondi Junction. But then 6 weeks after I started, I was “let go”. This might have been harder to take, but they assured me it wasn’t about me as such. It was them, or (more specifically) their company- who had decided to move in another direction.
But not to worry-
24 hours later I’d landed another job with a Residential Real Estate agency- as their Senior Property Manager. The company was a small agency with a big attitude, based in Woollahra. The owner (my boss) was a woman named Charlotte Hausman and she threw me into the deep end- sending me off on rental appraisals by myself and letting me take charge of property sales campaigns when she took off on weekends away. It was “sink or swim, Sally” and- fortunately- I thrived, making a name for myself in the area…
I went on to become something of a residential area expert, able to advise and assist on both property rental and property sales.
Peter, meanwhile, worked as Sales Manager for L J Hooker Double Bay.
When my employer decided to sell their real estate business, I considered my options. In the process of weighing these up, I decided to go all-in and start up on my own. That was 1995, and Sally-a. Shields Real Estate was born.