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Auctioneering is no longer a ‘boys club’: meet the Brisbane woman debunking the antiquated stereotype

If you were to pass Tara Kelly on the street, you’re likely to assume she is a model – a career path she actually dabbled in during her early 20s.

“There is some fascination that I am an auctioneer,” says Kelly.

“I don’t think I fit peoples’ preconceived profile.”

However, there’s much more to Kelly than meets the eye.

The Place Estate Agent began to forge her auctioneering career some two years ago, inspired by former REIQ Auctioneering Chapter Chair, Peter Burgin.

Her first call was for a home in Coorparoo for agent and Place Director, Andrew Bradley.

It was pouring rain, and the house sold with one bid – with some negotiations, of course.

“The owners were so happy and the feeling you get from that is just incredible,” says Kelly.

“I just love being involved in the crucial part of the campaign.

“I meet so many amazing people, both sellers and buyers, and being a part of the emotional journey of them purchasing and selling homes is just so attractive to me.”

Kelly believes that being a female auctioneer has actually helped, not hindered, her career.

“Almost everyone I come across makes a positive comment about being a female auctioneer,” says Kelly.

“Some have specifically hired me on the basis of being female, and almost everyone I come across makes a positive comment about being a female auctioneer.

“I am proud to be a part of an evolving industry and have not experienced any form of discrimination based on sex.

“I feel that women can offer a more sensitive approach to a negotiation.”

With a career experience as positive as Kelly’s, it begs the question – why aren’t more Queensland women opting to dominate the auction block?

REIQ Auctioneering Chapter Chair Justin Nickerson says a lot of women choose not to pursue a career in auctioneering because of the industry’s ‘boys club’ stereotype.

“I think a combination of a lack of visible [female] role models to follow, and a perception that it is a male-dominated occupation (which it presently is) leads to both a lack of selection by females as a career path, as well as being encouraged by outside influences to pursue it,” says Nickerson.

“There are some terrific female auctioneers who have already walked the path and have a history of demonstrated success.”

“By diversifying our occupation and having greater representation across both sexes it may assist us to appeal to a wider scope of the general public, who presently struggle to relate to a male-dominated group.”

Budding auctioneers of any gender wanting to progress their career should consider entering the 2020 REIQ Auctioneer of the Year competition, says Nickerson.

“It can put you under an evaluated stressful environment that provides feedback from experts on your areas that need development – something which is not possible in every day on the street calls,” says Nickerson.

“It will make you practice like you never have before – which accelerates your growth.”

Kelly agrees, citing that her first auctioneering competition with the REIQ propelled her career behind the gavel to new heights.

“It was a huge step for my fresh career and is still proving to be an important part of my development,” says Kelly.

“I look forward to competing again next year.”


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