When it comes to careers in real estate, the possibilities are as rich and diverse as the industry itself.
As founder, CEO and Managing Director of Aux Venture, a boutique Australian firm specialising in attraction and development of investment into Australian Agriculture, licensed real estate agent Jennifer Wainwright’s career path has been different to most.
Her resistance to being told ‘no’, has resulted in her being the only woman in Australia doing what she does.
“I was that kid that when told what they couldn’t do, would always respond with the ‘well, let’s just see’ or ‘how do you know I can’t?’,” says Wainwright.
“The thing I remember most clearly was the desire for flexibility; for freedom.
“I aspired to the thought that you didn’t have to have your vocation define where you could live and work; or that the traditional corporate ladder didn’t have to dictate the path to where you were wanting to go.
“I guess I’ve always aspired to be a leader in what I do, to be amongst the action and to not just participate the leading edge but to create it.
“Luckily for me, today’s technology, plus many years of proving value and integrity now let’s me have exactly that – a flexible, fantastic lifestyle and the exciting career.
Wainwright’s career has been a little unorthodox compared to most, having studied Rural Science, graduating with honors in feedlot cattle nutrition from the University of New England.
“I went on to work as a rep for an animal health company, traveling across Queensland for 4 years talking to farmers and visiting some of the state’s most remote regions.”
She was then head hunted by the ANZ bank in the early 2000s to grow their services to the beef industry and went on to become the National Livestock Specialist for the ANZ Banking Group.
After many years of success, Wainwright left the bank at the end of 2008 and in February 2009 Aux Venture was founded.
“Drawing on a desire to create effective capital solutions to the agricultural investment landscape, I built at the time, the only specialist consulting and services company with a strategy to grow and develop investment into Australian agriculture.”
This year, Aux Venture celebrated its 10th Birthday.
“Amongst our clients are the largest agricultural operations on the planet, and many of the world’s largest and most sophisticated investors.
“I work crazy hours, especially because of my international clients, and I have few holidays, but then, I need few, because work is exciting and fun, every day.”
Part of Wainwright’s work is attracting and developing investment introductions into Australian agriculture.
“There can be transactions of property, where I act as selling agent, or portfolio targeting work where investors actively engage me to find assets for them to buy, a buyer’s agent.
“Aux Venture does not really work like a listing agent, rather the licence underwrites our work with investors and clients looking to expand or diversify their interests in the sector, so most of what we work with is ‘off market’ opportunities that often undertake a highly confidential process, where possible.”
Wainwright says property is a big part of the Real Assets investment portfolio and in Australia offers a strong opportunity to preserve capital while supporting fundamental industries like food and agriculture.
“I have always enjoyed the opportunity in my work to get out onto rural properties – to meet the people and learn or see something new and interesting.
“Australia is an incredibly diverse country, and one with enormous opportunities in the growth and development of sustainable food production.
“Property is an important ingredient in a strong agricultural investment portfolio.”
As a woman making her mark in the property and agricultural sectors, Wainwright looks to the likes of Penny Chenery and Julie Bishop for inspiration.
“There’s not a lot of women leading my industry. Elizabeth O’Leary , Head of Agriculture for Macquarie’s Infrastructure and Real Assets fund is definitely someone I admire and enjoy learning from.”
Wainwright’s advice to other women wanting to take their career to the next level?
“Don’t wait for the perfect moment, or the plan, or the security, or the permission, or the proof.
“If you truly believe in the change you want to see, you can be the creator of it.”
Join the REIQ in celebrating women like Wainwright at the annual Women in Real Estate lunch, bringing together the amazing women of our industry. Click here for tickets to the event, which includes great food, wine and inspiring speakers, including triple Olympian Sally Callie and award-winning agent Cindy Cash.