Joel Davoren and Lauren Kirk

Joel Davoren – The Path to Leadership

If you ask Joel Davoren what makes a good leader, he’ll tell you that he’s still learning that himself.

“I don’t think anyone is really perfecting it,” says the RE/MAX Australia managing director.

“You always have to work on it. It really is a trip.

A third generation real estate professional, Joel’s journey began in 2004 as a business advisor.

In the first edition of Elite Agent Seven years ago, Joel had just been appointed director at RE/MAX.

It’s safe to say that a lot has changed in the past seven years.

When Joel arrived as director, RE/MAX had 75 offices in Australia and New Zealand and by the time the Kiwi branch of the franchise was sold in late 2019 they had grown to 106 offices.

There are now 80 offices across Australia.

Joel says his early days as manager were “a big learning curve” as he was tasked with rebuilding and growing the brand in Sydney.

Before his father, Michael Davoren, and Chris Chapman bought RE/MAX, the brand was in decline and Joel was part of the team brought in to turn things around.

“It was a pretty monumental task to do,” says Joel.

“It was about understanding the market and developing our offering to our business owners and members.

“There were many facets to it, from your training and development to your service levels and what you do for your customers.

“We basically overhauled everything in those first few years that I was in this position. It was a big part of re-engineering what RE/MAX stood for.

And it worked, with RE/MAX growing from three offices in Sydney to 13.

Joel moved from NSW/ACT State Manager and Manager to Franchise Manager at the end of 2015.

It was around the same time that his brother, Josh Davoren, joined the group as senior business manager.

“I was really focused on growing the country,” notes Joel.

Joel says one of the biggest challenges he has faced over the past seven years is the global COVID-19 pandemic and the uncertainty that comes with it, especially at the very beginning.

“In the midst of Covid, MD (Michael Davoren) decided he was going to call it a day, and I took on the role of GM,” says Joel.

The key, Joel says, was to focus on a quick, not perfect, reaction and to stay on top of all the Covid information circulating at the time to provide a stable platform for RE/MAX business owners.

“Your network should feel safe, secure, reassured and comfortable as best it can,” he says.

“There were a number of key priorities I had coming into this leadership role, but the first was to navigate our network through the crisis that was unfolding at the time.”

One of the cornerstones of RE/MAX today is that everyone in the company is accessible and works together, which means high retention rates.

“We have a pretty tight network,” says Joel.

“We have a community that’s very open and sharing, and it’s not all franchise groups.”

Joel says RE/MAX Australia has a great mix of business owners, with experienced operators and enthusiastic, driven young people.

He says they are looking to add to that in 2022.

“We are looking at a number of different opportunities ranging from acquisition, merger, joint venture and organic growth,” says Joel.

“There are a lot of things on the horizon for next year.”

Lauren Kirk – Putting Business Owners First

If you ask Lauren Kirk what business growth means, she won’t give you a standard answer.

It’s not just about increasing the number of people in the office or even agents in the field.

It’s not just about more sales or a higher GCI.

It’s all of those things. It can also be about increasing profits, but also about improving internal processes or improving the customer experience.

“Growth is different for everyone,” Lauren says.

“It doesn’t always mean growing the business in terms of staff, management and sales.

“It’s about focusing on what you want to do. What you want to achieve.

Now Associate Director of REGROWTH with Kylie Walsh, Lauren has developed her business acumen and coaching skills over the past seven years so she can give her knowledge back to the industry she loves.

When Elite Agent Featured Lauren in the first issue of our magazine seven years ago, Lauren had just been appointed Head of Business Development and Support for Raine & Horne.

It was a new role in the franchise, created with the recognition that property management was a solid business option in its own right and no longer just the little sister of selling.

“I was really lucky to be able to start in a starring role and create something without someone else’s legacy,” Lauren says.

“I don’t think there are many people capable of doing this in their careers, so it was an exciting opportunity.”

Lauren has spent a lot of time on the road, meeting in person with business owners, property managers and BDMs to raise awareness, roll out new products and provide general support.

“(Property management) is definitely considered a career now,” she says.

“It’s not just this stepping stone to another role in a company like it has been for so long.”

Stints with Real+, as a trainer and consultant, and DiJONES, as head of the training academy, followed with Lauren sharing her knowledge with others.

But she says she learned as much from other companies as they learned from her.

“You learn something from every company and every person you talk to, because no two companies are the same,” Lauren says.

“Even though we do the same thing, each company is structured differently, has different customers and a different offer.

“It makes it interesting to work with this variety.”

Mid-2021, Lauren joined Kylie Walsh at REGROWTH in an exciting new role focused on helping real estate business owners shape their agency for long-term growth and success.

Lauren and Kylie lead the usual training and coaching sessions on ad pitches and sales dialogues, but they specialize in agency leadership, growth, client experience and sustainability.

“We look at what that means to a business owner, whether it’s people, profits, or whatever they want to achieve,” she says.

Kylie and Lauren offer 360 degree health checks to identify areas of a business that may need attention, then provide the training and coaching needed to achieve those goals.

“We are focused on leadership, customer experience, sustainability and 360 degree business health checks in these key areas of sales, property management and new business,” she says.

“Then we also have our retreats, which have a different focus, not just on business, but on people.”

Held over three days, usually at Dungowan Station near Tamworth, retreats are an opportunity to take time out and connect with new people.

“We all talk about working in the business rather than the business, but it’s so easy to get caught up in the business,” Lauren says.

“So it’s really about allowing people to take three days to get away and focus on the core areas that they need to focus on.

“Besides focusing on areas of activity, it’s about downtime…it’s about taking time for yourself and refocusing and resetting.”

Lauren says the plan is for 2022 to be even bigger and better with new resources and training items, the details of which she’s keeping under her hat for now.

“Kylie and I have been in the industry for a long time, and it’s just about giving our knowledge back to the industry,” she says.

Read part 1 of this article with David Highland and Paul Signorelli here.

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