Meet Vanessa Maher, business development manager, franchise development manager, and Academy trainer at Harcourts Victoria. While she does love property, she is fascinated by people.
A vinyl record collector, food lover, and mother of two, Vanessa started at Harcourts in March 2014. She was, in a sense, born into the industry, with both parents and a sister working in real-estate and another sister employed as a builder. She worked in the family business for nine years before branching out on her own. She credits her parents for teaching her she could do anything, a philosophy she certainly took seriously when she chose to pursue real-estate, being one of only three women in her course of ninety.
Vanessa works within the Harcourts Victoria corporate team. The team are structured and dedicated in their approach, working to ensure that every interaction you have with a Harcourts representative, whether with a salesperson out in the field or an administrative officer, leaves you more successful and closer to your goal than when you started that meeting.
On a daily basis, in her capacity as a Business Development Manager, Vanessa helps business owners write annual business plans and checks in with them to ensure they remain aligned with their plan, or to make adjustments if required. Vanessa is very process-driven, which she admits is rare from someone of a sales background. She works with clients on strategy and recruitment, and believes that businesses can be made to perform at a much higher level quite easily by, often only slightly, tweaking the process.
Vanessa looks for ‘opportunities to make changes in the industry’. She did this by creating a Certificate IV traineeship program, and has authored a book titled ‘Monitor the Sales Process’. Previously she served on the Business Skills Victoria board for two terms and was an exam writer, assessor and consultant for the Real Estate Institute of Victoria.
The role of Franchise Development Manager is a recent ‘new string to her bow’, allowing her love of working with people of different personalities, to shine through. It involves not only scouting for new locations in which to spread the Harcourts brand, but also scouting for new employees who match the Harcourts values. These values of people first, being courageous, doing the right thing, and fun and laughter, were carefully selected to ensure that the culture of Harcourts is first-class.
Vanessa is ‘in charge of making sure that our training calendar is full of amazing courses and classes for our people to attend, and responsible for delivering portions of that…I oversee the management of the academy’. The Harcourts Academy was recognised at the Real Estate Business Awards June 2016 winning the Training and Education Program of the Year: ‘It’s nice to be running an award-winning program for our people’. This national award honours her work as a professional development trainer and an advocate to young people entering the industry. Vanessa’s advice to people wanting to join the industry is to be a self-starter and work hard: ‘I don’t know of any other industry similar to this which gives you the opportunities, the flexibility and where you can create your own income, in the sense that the more effort you put in, the more money you can make’.
Vanessa clearly loves her job, due in large part to her CEO, Sadhana Smiles, ‘I’ve worked with Sadhana before…she’s an amazing woman…she stretches you at the right times, pushes you just enough that you don’t break but you really perform at your optimum…she’s an expert at getting the best out of people’.
Vanessa loves Melbourne, ‘it’s the best city in the world’, and its people. Whether she assists you in business, dances with you at a music gig, or dines with you at her favourite restaurant in AC/DC lane, she exudes passion for her job, and for her life. Indeed, her values are typical of the kind of person found in this extraordinary team at Harcourts Victoria.
‘The culture is phenomenal’.