With Christine Shaw from Christine Shaw Properties
After almost 11 years in the property industry and over 500 sales, Christine Shaw took a leap of faith and started her own agency in January this year. Looking back on her career she describes the people she’s met along the way as like “family” and certainly, after inviting me over for a cup of tea in her home, it’s clear that her genuine nature is what her network and clients love about her. She lives with her beloved dog, Abby, whom she says is also the business mascot.
You donate 10 per cent of your profits to homelessness. How did this idea come about?
I am part of the Deputy Chief Minister’s Affordable Housing Consultative Group. Coming to that table with such eminent people is an honour, to drill down into all the detail of homelessness. Every job I’ve ever had is about helping people, so the chance to blend my overseas aid and refugee social policy background with a new social impact model of a real estate agency was a natural conclusion. I’ve partnered with Hands Across Canberra, who validate my books. They know what’s needed at the ground level and they know the best value-adding for the funds.
You went out on your own and started Christine Shaw Properties in January, do you consider this the biggest “jump” in your career?
Fear of failure hugely was a big part of it, in terms of being responsible for someone else’s wage. I walked away from an automatic income and thought I’d made the wrong decision – the industry was all about money and that was scary for me because it could take me many years to get back to that level of income, but the rewards are elsewhere. I realised people list with people they connect with, not brands. Focusing on money is not the issue in life, we’re all here for a limited amount of time and the footprint you leave is much more important than the car you drive or what shiny things you have. It has taken me 10 years to realise that being a square peg in a round hole is the best compliment.
What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learnt so far?
Agents attract clients like themselves. My type of client likes the idea that I don’t have a Mercedes or Audi. Even on the operations side of the company, we focus that every cent we spend is less for homelessness initiatives.
Most memorable sale and why?
The first one when we started Christine Shaw Properties. It was a house on Mackenzie Street in Hacket that sold at auction. It had been in the family for 57 years and had decades worth of memories and family love. Mum was in a nursing home and the children were going to take some unwanted things to the tip but instead, we arranged for Havelock House to come and they took away four trailer loads which ended up helping 101 families. One of them was a lady who was living at Havelock House who had never had a
matching cup and saucer to have tea.
If you weren’t in property what would you be doing?
I’d be in a social policy environment, either in government or helping an NGO in an organisational sense.
Tell me about your childhood.
I’m a Queenslander. Born and bred in Brisbane, was there for 27 years and now I’ve been in Canberra for longer – 30 years. Yikes.
In your spare time, what do you like to do?
I love yoga and walking around the lake, swimming at Manuka Pool, and exploring the bike trails around Canberra. I moved here on my own to be the banquet manager at the Hyatt Hotel.
You have two children; did either ever think of following in their mother’s footsteps and get into property?
Both are studying teaching, which shows that the “care bear” brain of mum has shone through. Laura has completed a criminology degree and is now doing her masters in teaching to work with children who are coming out of the justice
system or whose parents are, and Lewis is at Wollongong University at the moment studying teaching as well, he’s just a natural working with disabled children.