2019 Speakers

Peter FitzSimons

Australian Journalist and Author, former Australian Wallaby

Peter Fitzsimons is a former rugby star, best-selling author, television presenter on Fox Sports, and highly respected contributor to the Sun-Herald and Sydney Morning Herald. Peter has co-hosted radio programs with Mike Carlton and Doug Mulray and interviewed celebrities from George Bush to Diego Maradona.

Peter has written twenty best-selling books, including: Batavia, Tobruk, Kokoda, A Simpler Time, and Little Theories of Life. In 2001 and 2004 he was Australia’s best-selling non-fiction author. Peter has written biographies on Douglas Mawson, Nancy Wake, Nene King, Les Darcy, Steve Waugh, Nick Farr-Jones, Kim Beazley, John Eales and Charles Kingsford Smith.

Born on a farm in Peat’s Ridge, Peter went to school at Knox Grammar School then accepted a one-year American Field Service Scholarship in Ohio. When he returned he completed an Arts degree at Sydney University, majoring in government and political science.

Peter made his Wallabies debut under Coach Alan Jones. He would play rugby in France and Italy for five years, learning French, Italian and Spanish languages.

Peter joined the Sydney Morning Herald full time in 1989 and has since been labeled ‘Australia’s finest sports journalist’ by Andrew Denton. Perhaps the premier interviewer in the Australian media, Peter’s credits include George Bush, Sir Edmund Hillary, Jodie Foster, Nicki Lauda, Joe Montana and Carl Lewis.

Georgi Bates

Director - Residential Sales, Cunninghams Real Estate

Number 1 Female Agent on Sydney’s Northern Beaches; REB top 19 Female Agents in Australia.

Leading an all-female team including Liz Allom (Agent), Claudia Merkert (Agent) and Sabrina Turner (Associate), Georgi is passionate about connecting people with property and has a wealth of local knowledge. As a highly skilled negotiator, Georgi presents with consummate professionalism and is known for being one of the top performing agents in the local area. Georgi is also an enthusiastic property investor with firsthand experience designing and building her family home in Manly, enabling her to share the best possible advice with clients.

Awards and speaking engagements aside, Georgi counts the consistent loyalty of her clients and community involvement as her greatest professional achievement.

Chris Hanley (OAM)

Director, First National Byron Bay

Chris Hanley runs one of the most successful real estate agencies in the country and is the founder of one of Australia’s major literary events.

Chris’s public speaking extends into the business world, where he has been invited to present keynote addresses across Australia, New Zealand and Asia for real estate conferences and beyond, on topics that include leadership and organisational culture.

He works with individuals and organisations as a business coach and mentor. Chris has worked with most of the major Australian and New Zealand organisations.

One of his favourite roles as Principal at First National Real Byron is mentoring young real estate trainees, and he is proud of the strong, positive culture in his business that has been independently benchmarked and recognised.

Chris’s depth and breadth of involvement in business, the arts, education and as a speaker and trainer demonstrates his wide-ranging curiosity and commitment to learning.

Chris was recently honored with an Order Of Australia Medal (OAM) as well as Byron Shire's Citizen Of The Year. Both awards are in recognition of the exceptional work Chris has done for the local community through his work with the writers festival as well as with numerous community organisations.

Dane Atherton

Director, Harcourts Coastal

As the Managing Director of Harcourts Coastal, Dane offers energy and invaluable experience as the leader of the Gold Coast's most dynamic Agency.

Since joining the real estate industry over 12 years ago, Dane has since helped over 8000 property owners achieve their goals. Dane has been officially recognised as the best Auctioneer in Queensland, spoken at numerous industry events and has regularly appeared in the media as an industry expert.

Dane offers his team and clients an incredible advantage with his insight into the sales process and a focus on creating a real estate business that is 'Positively Different.'

Antonia Mercorella

Chief Executive Officer, REIQ

Antonia is the Chief Executive Officer of The Real Estate Institute of Queensland. She is the first female CEO, and also the youngest person ever appointed to lead the REIQ.

Prior to her appointment as CEO, Antonia worked with the REIQ as Deputy CEO and before that, as General Counsel. She has also worked as principal legal advisor to the Real Estate Institute of South Australia, and as a commercial lawyer specialising in property and real estate.

Mark McCleod

CEO – Growth, Ray White

Mark Mcleod is one of the leading agents of change for Australia’s real estate industry. With an impressive track record spanning 25 years and a wide variety of roles, he has mentored some of Australia’s largest franchised and independent real estate businesses and is well known as a compelling industry speaker.

Today, Mark is the Ray White Group’s Chief Executive of Growth, working with agents and businesses around Australasia to implement strategies for success.

Shannan Whitney

CEO, BresicWhitney

Moving to Sydney from Tamworth to enrol in university, I never quite made it to a lecture. I started working part-time for a local real estate agent to make some money to pay for my studies, mainly support work at open houses, and found I was soon working more and more, eventually becoming an agent in my own right.

I noticed a young Ivan Bresic coming up through the ranks of the agency we both worked and we soon formed a highly successful team. While we shared many similar traits and beliefs, I gravitated toward Ivan because Ivan was good at everything I wasn’t. We complimented and supported each other perfectly.

I knew that the real estate industry in Sydney was yet to find a true identity. There were details about it that I knew could be done better. No one had made the connection between property and lifestyle which seemed so obvious and similar connections where already being made across other sectors of business.

Because real estate deals with an essential part of every person’s life – the literal roof over our heads – I believe that real estate agents have a responsibility to support the community. Together with Ivan, BresicWhitney’s aim is to reinvent the contemporary real estate experience in Sydney.

Andrew McCann

Director, Jellis Craig

Approachable yet assertive, Andrew McCann’s impressive real estate career is founded on credibility, strong relationships and the consistent achievement of exceptional results.

As director of three inner Melbourne Jellis Craig offices, Andrew is an inspiring leader, collaborating with his team to deliver premium service, expert guidance and a first class outcome on every transaction.

Andrew is an experienced auctioneer whose confident style positively influences the final result on auction day. After close to two decades in real estate, Andrew’s knowledge of inner Melbourne’s property landscape is extensive. His ability to read the market and tailor campaigns to prevailing conditions has earned him the respect of both clients and colleagues.

A trusted source of real estate knowledge and advice, Andrew is a regular speaker at industry events and has been recognised as being among the nation’s top agents. Andrew’s reputation precedes him – more than half his clients are referrals or repeat business.

Phil Harris

Managing Director, Harris Real Estate

Phil Harris is one of the most requested real estate speakers in Australia today. Having spoken at AREC numerous times as well as various other conferences world wide Phil puts over 15 years of industry knowledge into a simple learnable message.

As Managing Director of Harris Real Estate Phil is the only real estate professional in South Australia to have been recognised as the REISA Salesperson of the Year and the Golden Gavel Auctioneering winner.

In January 2010 Phil started Harris Real Estate, which quickly grew from 5 staff to over 130 now selling over 1300 properties per year and over 2000 properties under management.

Gavin Rubinstein

The Rubinstein Group @ Ray White Double Bay

Having been awarded the Number 1 Salesperson across the state of New South Wales for Ray White consecutively for the last four years running, Gavin’s exceptional attention to detail, dynamic energy and impressive negotiation skill set is what sets him apart from his competitors.

In only 3 years Gavin went from being a personal assistant to Number 1 in NSW for Ray White and has held the title ever since. Starting from the bottom has given Gavin a comprehensive understanding of every facet in relation to a property sales transaction and has allowed him to develop an ability to get a deal together and deliver for his clients in a way that few agents can.

Specialising in luxury property across the Eastern suburbs, with a strong passion for architecture and building design, Gavin’s market knowledge and dedication combined with the support of his team (The Rubinstein Group), ensure his clients are provided with an incredibly professional real estate experience every time.

Ruma Mundi

Principal/Director, First National North Western

Ruma Mundi is an award-winning Licensed Real Estate Professional who has been the leading agent in her specialist suburbs of Sydney’s North West for the past 15 years.

Displaying a high level of integrity and professionalism, Ruma’s dedication to all her clients is reflected in her results with every campaign that she is honoured to represent. She has an unwavering passion for people coupled with a persona that is caring and approachable. She takes pride in always keeping her clients’ needs first and foremost.

After 15 years in Real Estate, most of her clients now are either repeat clients or have been referred to her by previous clients or their families.

Nick Dowling

CEO, Jellis Craig

Appointed to the role of CEO in 2011, Nick Dowling’s inspired leadership has seen the Jellis Craig Group grow significantly from eight to twenty-one offices. Driving innovation throughout this period of expansion, his focus on real estate best practice, professionalism and service excellence has always been in-step with the company’s ethical foundations.

Nick delivers a business strategy that strengthens the company’s long-held industry-leading reputation while providing a progressive approach to harnessing the latest technologies.
Formerly the head of Macquarie Relationship Banking’s National Real Estate division, he now holds a concurrent position as a Non-Executive Independent Director at the REA Group.

Nicholas West

Director, Nelson Alexander

Nick credits his country background for his friendly, straight forward communication style.
Since his career commencement in 1989, Nick’s role in real estate has been defined by conspicuous and sustained sales success across varying market conditions.

A Licensed Estate Agent and Director at Nelson Alexander, Nick is proud of the company’s resources, cross-referencing of knowledge and cooperative approach to assisting clients – a consequence of the seventeen office network. Nevertheless, he remains entirely focused on his principal core activity, the listing and selling of inner-city property.

His strong following from past clients is testimony to his ethical approach and comprehensive market knowledge – and indicative of the values he learned during his country upbringing in Cobram, on the Murray.

“The challenge of meeting high levels of expectation and providing a service that produces results beyond people’s best hopes is continual motivation. In this ever changing market, proven ability and experience is everything.”

Tom Hector

Sales Consultant, Harris Real Estate

om is a dynamic professional who is committed to gaining the best possible outcomes for his clients through honesty and timely communication throughout the sales process.

As a licensed real estate salesperson and auctioneer who holds a Diploma in Real Estate Business Management, Tom understands the challenges you will face in the real estate market. Harris is proud to bring his skills exclusively to its clients. Tom is enjoying record sales including prestige homes, in the wider Adelaide area.

Tom’s energy, dedication and positive attitude towards vendors and purchasers, deliver results far beyond the expectations of an extensive list of satisfied clients. This has established him as one of the highest performing real estate agents in South Australia. Tom’s personal commitment to excellent client outcomes has resulted in his reputation for success in real estate.

More to come…