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International Women’s Week; Celebrating the all-female firepower behind one of the northern Gold Coast’s most prominent real estates!

By Rachel Devery

From left to right; Jess Francis (Director of Operations), Dannye McFaul (Director of Marketing), Bernadette O’Sullivan (Director of Property Investment) Erin Cowling (Director of Data and Performance) and Jean Brown (Director of Growth).

May 17, 2011. Beyonce Knowles took to the stage at the United Centre in Chicago, and what she debuted that day created a Mexican wave of empowerment right out of the packed stadium and across the entire globe.

Who run the world? Girls!

Individual words that are so simple, but when put together in this very order and sang, they have a way of raising goosebumps on the arms of women, and invoking focus, confidence and motivation that is as fierce as the gusts of a ferocious storm.

At the Ray White Catanzariti Family Group, it is indeed the girls who run the world. The directors of the 5 office, 100 staff organisation including a Director of Operations, a Director of Marketing, a Director of Data and Performance and a Director of Property Investment are all female. The recent appointment of prominent real estate leader Jean Brown as the company’s Director of Growth, has resulted in the formation of one of the strongest all-female leadership teams that the real estate industry has seen.

Business owner, Peter Catanzariti, attributes the business’ success to his savvy directors and said that the formation of the team was simply by chance.

‘When it came to appointing the right people to help me to run the business, I simply selected who I believed to be the best of the best, and for us, it turned out that the best of the best were all women.’

Peter said that it came as no surprise to him that the best candidates for his leadership team would be women, adding that his admiration for female leaders came from somewhere closer to home.

‘In my family, our wives, our mothers and our grandmothers have always been the patriarchs, the best decision makers – they are the ones that really run the show!’

Business owners Peter Catanzariti and Nicola Catanzariti with their all-female leadership team.

The all-female composition of Peter’s leadership team is contrary to much of the rest of the industry. According to a study conducted by the Property Council of Australia, ‘while women represent the majority of the workforce in the real estate industry, they are still distinctly underrepresented in leadership roles’.

While peter couldn’t be prouder of the uniqueness of his business structure, he firmly believes that the business’ rapid growth and success is attributable to the no-nonsense, multidisciplinary attributes that female leaders bring to their roles.

‘I truly admire the women who run the show in this business; they are such strong women. All of them are devoted mothers, expert multitaskers, and in my opinion, they have an amazing ability to get things done!’

According to the 2022 Diversity Equity and Inclusion Report made in association with the University of South Australia, women bring a wealth of unique traits to the table when they take on leadership roles that can lead to increased profitability and improved retention and morale. The report indicated that women tend to have higher levels of emotional intelligence, more resilience, and a greater willingness to collaborate.

The Ray White Catanzariti Family Group’s Director of Growth, Jean Brown, is a true example of the study’s findings. As a successful real estate leader and business owner for over a decade, Jean believes that females do lead differently, referring to her approach as a modern and empathetic style of leadership.

‘I brushed aside the tradition of being a conventional authoritative leader; I lead with ingenuity and authenticity— there is power in being vulnerable’, she said.

As advocates for women in leadership roles, both Peter and Jean believe that it is important to provide pathways for aspiring female leaders. According to InDaily, more training, mentorship and more conversations will lead to an increased presence of female bosses in the real estate industry.

‘We tell our team members that they don’t just have jobs, they have careers if they want them, and we couldn’t be happier to provide training and development for any of our staff who want to shoot to become directors’, Peter said.

The Director of Operations and HR, Jess Francis, was one such recipient of training and development over the years with The Group, and is now the leader of a large team of receptionists, sales administrators and specialist professionals across 5 different locations. Starting out as an administration assistant, she wants other women in the real estate industry to aim high too.

‘I relish in the opportunity to be a role model for some of the girls that are starting out. I want to inspire them to pursue leadership roles too’, she said.

Jess Francis, Director of Operations.

This week the country will no doubt see many celebrations for International Women’s Week; Peter is excited to treat the business’ directors as well as the rest of the 60 female staff to an all-inclusive paint and sip event on the northern Gold Coast.

‘I’m really looking forward to getting together with all of the ladies from work to unwind, celebrate our successes, and celebrate each other’, Jess Francis said.

With the all-female firepower contributing to the business’ successful expansion across five offices in four years, one thing is certain; who run the world at the Ray White Catanzariti Family Group? Girls!

Happy International Women’s Week


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