At WBP Group our aim is to nurture our people and promote from within wherever possible. This is evident from the career progression our CEO Brendan Smith who has been with the organisation for over 16 years, as well as many others within our leadership group.
Today we look at the initiative, motivation and career progression of another of our leadership team in Alexandra Churches, our State Director for Victoria. Adrian Graham, National Operations Manager says “Alex is an extremely hard-working leader in our business and has been for a long time. Her dedication to not only her role and WBP in general, but in particular to her team and the valuers is unquestioned. Everyday her focus is to get the best out of herself and those around her and everyone is better off as a result.’
- How long have you been with WBP Group?
I commenced with WBP Group in 2007 as a residential valuer in the Essendon/Moonee ponds region. Prior to this I had taken a sabbatical from valuations and worked as a mortgage broker. I attended a WBP event as a client and was drawn to the vibrancy of the group.
- What’s your position and describe your role?
I am the State Director of Residential Valuations in Victoria. Multifaceted best describes my role. Speaking from a macro perspective, I am responsible for client relationships with industry partners, together with the successful performance of the WBP team within the industry.
On a micro level, this takes on a myriad of forms and this is what I love most about the role! In any given week I will be dealing with an industry presentation, speaking with industry partners (currently over zoom) or in their team meetings, reviewing valuation reports, coaching valuers on best practice methods or processes, problem solving performance challenges and supporting the teams around me to ensure we grow together in our business. You have to be on your toes the whole time; personally motivated; strong yet compassionate in your operations; willing to think broadly and creatively in order to achieve; and be collaborative.
- Brief overview of the department you oversee?
The Residential Valuation team in Vic at WBP is a group of some 45+ property valuers located in metro and regional Victoria.
- What do you enjoy most about working with WBP Group?
Our Vic Residential Team have a vision – to be a highly functioning, high quality team where members feel fulfilled, challenged, respected and happy. Throughout my time at WBP this vision has been true for me. I work with the most committed group of leaders that I have ever worked with, all striving to build each other up and for the betterment of the team. The thing that brings me greatest fulfillment is witnessing the growth and development of those around me – watching a cadet arrive at WBP, get involved, gather knowledge and grow over the years into a leader, a senior valuer, someone who we are proud of – there are numerous team members who spring to mind. This keeps me motivated.
- What’s been your most rewarding achievement at WBP?
This is a dream job for me, yet I landed it at the most unexpected of times. Over the four years that I have lead the Victorian team I have had my second and third child. Managing the diversity of the Vic team coupled with raising a young family has challenged me in many ways and yet I have grown immensely through these challenges. Leading the Vic Valuation team as we became a major national provider for ANZ, dramatically increasing our volume over a short period of time, coupled with achieving industry leading performance has been a rewarding period.
- Who in the organisation has had the biggest impact on your career?
WBP has one of the most committed leadership teams that I have ever come across and it has been the reason for my longevity at WBP. My career has been most impacted however by my personal motivation and ambition to constantly strive for higher expectations both of myself and those around me.
- Favourite book or podcast which has impacted your career?
Early in my career I read and listened multiple times to The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. This provided a solid foundation and regularly revisit. In recent years I have gleaned countless pointers and thoughts to ponder through The Tim Ferris Show podcast and also The Knowledge Project podcast – both interview style podcasts designed to help you master the best of what others have already mastered.
- Any advice for younger valuers following in your footsteps?
Whatever career choice you make, you need to love what you do! This is not to say that you will not have challenging times, however at the heart of any meaningful achievement in life there will have been challenges to overcome. I have always taken time to set a vision for my future through exploring long term goals and using mind mapping to navigate through my strengths, areas of interest and how to align the many aspects of my life. Once I have a clear picture of my vision, the details and timeline are relatively loose. I knew as I left high school that I wanted to lead people within my career and yet at no point have I sought to climb the ladder or force myself forward. I am humbled by the experience of being trusted to guide a group of professionals and would encourage others who seek to lead people to find every opportunity to be involved, support, encourage and learn from others. This may appear to be at your own time or monetary expense sometimes, however doors will open and opportunities will present themselves and you will be ready to step up.
- Why should someone become a valuer?
While my daily activities no longer include physically valuing properties, from a very young age property has been a passion of mine. Valuations provided for me a fantastic combination of being an independent property professional, not being stuck behind a desk, providing a broad variety of property sectors to work within and with opportunity to become a specialist in your field. The industry has evolved immensely since obtained CPV in 2004 and is likely to evolve considerably in the near future with so many opportunities that weren’t present when I graduated all those years ago.
Cultivating innovation, excellence and a sense of community is at the core of what we do at WBP Group. We aim to provide a great place to work while nurturing the careers of our property professionals. Please follow us on LinkedIn to keep up to date with what’s happening at WBP Group and our career opportunities.