We spoke to the executive assistants of Australia’s top three agents to find out how they help the industry’s best stay at the top of their game.
“Someone once said to me that as an assistant, your role is to make somebody else be the best version of themselves that they can be,” Kierra Hagedorn told REB.
As the executive assistant to Marshall White’s James Tostevin – ranked number two in REB’s Top 100 agents – Ms Hagedorn explained that these words have resonated with her, and every day she strives to do just that.
She takes it upon herself to arrive at work half an hour earlier than Mr Tostevin to set up his day.
“Getting in early allows me to print off anything that he needs to go over, or it allows me to send anything to his phone so that before he gets to the office, he’s already seen [it],” Ms Hagedorn said.
“It means that we don’t have to have a conversation when he gets in; we can get going the second the day starts,” she added.
“I look after everything else, and that allows him to give his clients and vendors the best version of him,” she said.
A synergetic partnership
Years of working together, and now being married, have made for a synergetic partnership between Raine & Horne’s Ric Serrao and his executive assistant Lucy Apoyan.
Ms Apoyan explained to REB that she is often 10 steps ahead of Mr Serrao, in terms of knowing what he needs before he has even said it.
“This takes years of experience and gets fine-tuned when you have worked with someone for so long,” Ms Apoyan said.
“On a day-to-day basis I check his emails and voicemail and respond to or delegate as much as I can, to free him from having to make calls that are not dollar-productive for him,” she said.
“Big things I run past him, but small things I just make the decisions,” she said.
The top agent’s eyes and ears
Speaking to REB, Pru Kelly said that she eagerly sought out REB’s number one agent Alexander Phillips of Phillips Pantzer Donnelly to work for him.
“I’d heard from a colleague that Alex was the best agent in the eastern suburbs and that I should go and find him,” she said.
Four years later, the pair have a very close partnership that empowers them both to do their work to the best of their abilities.
“It’s a really honest, open relationship that we have and we on lean each other for guidance – we motivate each other when we need to,” she said.
Ms Kelly explained that her role as an executive assistant to Mr Phillips has evolved significantly since she began working for him.
“It’s evolved from just being a paperwork administrator to being almost an advisory role, something like a consultant for the preparation of homes,” she said.
As Mr Phillips could see that Ms Kelly was passionate about property styling, a significant aspect of her role now is to provide a concierge service to Mr Phillips’ clients on his behalf, meeting with vendors, tradespeople, stylists, gardeners and handymen to co-ordinate the enhancement of every property he lists.
Ms Kelly said that ultimately her role allows Mr Phillips to concentrate on listing, selling and negotiating.
“He doesn’t have to worry about the day-to-day running of his team or what’s happening in the background; he’s got me as his eyes and ears,” she said.
[Related: Top agent clarifies staff roles]