Next in our International Women’s Day blog series, we had a coffee with Anita Percudani; Director of Realmark. Supporting women in business is Anita’s passion, which made her the perfect person to interview in our series.
Anita started Realmark alongside her husband in 1989. Over the years, she’s grown it to become one of Australia’s leading real estate agencies. That’s a #girlboss right there! Anita has been recognised along the way with numerous awards including being a state finalist in the Telstra Business Women’s Awards.
What’s the story behind Realmark?
On 1st April 1989 (yes, we’re about to celebrate 30 years!) my husband, John, and I, who had both been working at other real estate businesses, just became quite demotivated by it all, and felt that it was a culture of non-engagement and lack of advancement with regards to career development. We thought, "we can do this better" and decided to give it a go.
We rented a very tiny office in Wembley and gave it a mini-makeover with some verge collection finds. I was on reception, and I did accounts, and John was a salesman. So that was our business. He went out trying to find sales, and we did a lot of prospecting and putting databases together and really trying hard.
It was the time when interest rates were between 18-22%. There were businesses failing, developments failing, it was a really, really tough time. Business wasn’t going anywhere, and we were ready to give up. Fortunately, nine months after launching, John made acquaintances with a developer in Perth and an architect, who were doing a lot of developments. We managed to secure the work and went from desperation to finally having a business. So, from then on, the business just started to evolve and grow, which was absolutely fantastic.
How do you balance running a successful business with having a family? What's your boundaries and your rules that you live by?
The rules that I live by was always family was first. I pretty much designed my work life and the
business around my family, which I think is just so important.
Doing it the other way round isn’t really the right way to do it because at the end of the day, your family is with you forever. Businesses come and go. In the early days, back in our first office, I had a playpen down in the back with the eleven-month-old. Every time the phone rang, she would scream, and so I would leave John to answer the phone, and I would just fly down the back and pretty much silence her, so we didn't look too unprofessional. But it worked, it worked, it was really good!
And so, the business then became that flow of continuity around what we do today, and hence the reason why so many women are able to fold into our business, because our mindset is around family. Family first.
Do you care about being a woman entrepreneur or do you just want to be an entrepreneur? Does it matter to you that we get labelled?
That's interesting because it doesn't really matter to me at all very much. People call me the queen of property management in Perth. I’m happy with that!
Legacy: what do you want yours to be, both personally and professionally?
I really want to be known as a caring, giving person that provides opportunity to people, particularly women in this industry and in the workforce generally throughout Western Australia and the world too. Someone who can always be sought to give advice or guidance. I find a lot women in particular come to me, and they are unsure of where they are, so they think "Oh, let's have a coffee with Anita, and she will guide me and give me some of her little twinkle dust that will help me through what I need to do."
What’s your take on International Women’s Day?
This is something we’ve definitely celebrated from the very early days, since females make up approximately 75% of our workforce. I feel so passionate about the day as it gives us a vehicle to bring together all of the fabulous women and recognise their achievements and efforts over the year. To make the day special, we deliver a box of chocolates on every ladies’ desk the night before IWD, so that they arrive the next morning to find the gift, along with a personalised message from myself. In the early days of Realmark, I was running the business whilst doing the school runs, so I know how hard it can be to manage home and work life. I want to show my appreciation and to let the ladies know I’m there for them if they need me.
Anita established Realmark True Blue – a program that supports the work of charities in Western Australia like The Starlight Foundation, Redkite, Nulsen Haven and the National Breast Cancer Foundation. Find out more by visiting the Realmark website
Back To Media and Resources