Real estate agents are always happy to point out the dramatic touch vaulted ceilings add to a living room, or the cozy feel a ceiling with exposed beams adds to a space, or don’t forget the touch of elegance crown moldings add to the ceiling.
But they leave off the property description, are the glass ceilings women in the industry face when striving to reach senior leadership positions.
Not for Belinda Sinclair though, and not for Domain Group.
Belinda has been with Domain Group, one of the leading real estate companies in Australia, for 11 years, and during that time, she has progressed from a state sales manager to a Head of Sales & Agent Partnerships at Domain Group, happily leading a team of 80 across all of Australia, and a revenue line of over $230m.
“I started in sales initially. Looking after some of the country’s most successful real estate agencies gave me a deep understanding of the industry and day to day challenges of the customer.
“But I immediately identified my greatest passion to lead people and have a wider impact across the business.”
Belinda’s story is a testament to the importance of finding an employer that aligns with one’s values and supports career growth. This support, along with her own hard work and determination, has proven that women can excel in the male-dominated world of real estate and sales, and that with the right employer, anything is possible.
It starts with a plan for success
“From the outside, my path might look predictable and linear, and many may say I’ve been lucky. However, it was deliberate, planned and backed by continuous development, coaching and hard work.”
At Domain she has found an environment where she feels comfortable enough and safe enough to make the right moves for her career and home life. And progress has been her constant companion.
Part of Belinda’s success came from building the resilience to not give-up or turn away from her goals, and to see challenges as opportunities for growth.
“I was unsuccessful the first time I applied for the National Sales Director role. But I interviewed again for the role six months later and was offered the place in an interim capacity before being permanently appointed.
“That period forced me to face up to the reasons I was knocked back initially and to ensure I committed to developing the skills I maybe lacked or didn’t present compellingly enough.”
The quest for leadership needs the help of a supportive employer
Belinda is quick to acknowledge the role the company and the professional relationships with her peers have played in facilitating her success.
“Domain has supported me through the challenges of internal progression and helped me all the way to establish myself as a new leader.
“I’ve also been able to work with peers and to tap into formal leadership training, to access external coaching opportunities, and to network with senior leadership mentors.”
The support she’s received has not only aided her career, Belinda credits the way it has also provided her with tools to navigate towards success in her personal life too.
Belinda is married with two young children, Jack (8) and Tayla (5) and she tells us she spends a lot of time with them swimming, bike riding, and walking their cocker spaniel, Bentley. But she admits it isn’t always easy to balance everything.
“I love what I do, the team that I work with, and the customers I support. So, I’d be lying if I didn’t acknowledge that sometimes it’s easy to get caught up prioritizing business over personal life. I constantly remind myself that family needs to come first, and I need to be deliberate in making sure school concerts or book week are equally important as delivering on key business objectives. It’s a work in progress.
“Past and current leaders at Domain have always been open to my working flexibly so I can collect children from school sometimes and control my own travel diary.
“It’s one of the things I respect most about the senior leadership at Domain. They are open about the value of family priorities, and practice this themselves, so they can set an example for everyone else at the company.”
What success looks like from the other side of the ceiling
For Belinda, constant striving in all of life’s many aspects is what keeps her going.
“To me, success is the continual path of personal growth, and building teams around you with diverse experiences and complementary skillsets.
“It’s important to be waking up with purpose, knowing that I’ll learn something new today, or that I will develop a skill or add value to those around me.”
However, finding her own path through the glass ceiling isn’t enough for Belinda. She’s been helping others smash through it along with her.
“I am most inspired when I can play some sort of role in the development and professional growth of others,” she tells us.
“I often look around the business with a grin when I see team members that I hired years ago in a sales role like myself that are now leading teams or working in other divisions across Domain, furthering their careers.”