The secret to Bobbette Scott’s happiness and success is her ability to find the silver lining in everything and always remain positive. As a well-respected member of Knight Frank’s business and Partner, Head of South Australia, Bobbette shared her career challenges, highlights and hopes for the future.
Harnessing early career success
At the young age of 29, still based in South Africa, Bobbette was promoted into a senior role managing the Property Management business for a large property agency. It was a major challenge – but also a huge opportunity!
“It gave me valuable skills and experience in leadership and the management of a large business in a male dominated industry. It set me up for a successful career in property and gave me the confidence to take on many challenges that ensued over the years.”
Bobbette immigrated to Australia in 2000 with her family and landed a role as a commercial property manager at a large property agency in Adelaide. Her drive and passion saw her promoted to Director of Property Management for SA within 12 months, and she managed that business until she was headhunted by a competitor to be their Senior Director Asset Services.
“I took what was almost a non-existent Property Management business at the time to a business that was responsible for one of the largest portfolios in Adelaide. It was a fantastic experience building a team of high performers and growing the business consistently by 20% per annum.”
Seeing her strong skills and experience, Knight Frank approached Bobbette seven years ago to join the company as a Senior Director of Asset Management Services. She was brought on to restructure the business, improve the culture and take the business to the next level. Her consistent performance saw her through multiple promotions, and now she is the Partner, Head of South Australia.
Bobbette demonstrates the values of Knight Frank as an organization, leads with integrity and is a role model that many aspire to.
A role with a difference
As the State Head for Knight Frank SA, Bobette wears three hats – managing the local business, responsible for the performance of the SA Asset Management business and managing key assets on behalf of some of Knight Frank’s clients.
At Knight Frank, Bobbette has always had great Managers who have believed in her.
“At Knight Frank I have a voice, I have support and I know if I am facing a particular challenge I can pick up the phone and speak to anyone and I will be heard. I am lucky to be surrounded by some amazing professional colleagues both locally and nationally and I have built strong relationships with them and our mutual clients.”
She is motivated by seeing her team grow every day, and Bobette’s definition of success is being respected and helping others to flourish.
“I think working with a team and seeing them grow motivates me every day. There is nothing better than having a highly engaged team of professionals working with you to take your business to the next level.”
Bobette loves making a difference in her work and sinking her teeth into a challenge.
“There were many obstacles that I needed to overcome in this role, and I was ready for the challenge. We have been on a journey at Knight Frank and I can truly say that it feels like we have arrived! We have an amazing team now and a culture to suit and I am very grateful to be working for such a great company that truly cares about its people.”
When challenges help you grow
Bobbette never shies away from a challenge, and her early career definitely helped shape her professionally.
“I am a bit of a perfectionist and am not happy with being mediocre at anything. This can be a bad thing too as I put a lot of pressure on myself.”
In her early career, breaking into a non-traditional industry as one of few women certainly posed its challenges. As a young woman in South Africa, with limited leadership experience, she was promoted into a management role.
“The initial announcement about my promotion was met with quite a lot of anger and doubt by my team of mostly older men – but I am happy to say that I did not let this affect my ability to roll up my sleeves and get down in the trenches with the team and get the job done. The company believed in me, and I held my head up high and soldiered on. It did not take long for my team to respect and support me, and the role ended up being a very successful one indeed.”
She also faced sexual harassment in her workplace back then. Her positive attitude helped her through, but she shared,
“It is such a shame that women in that era had nowhere to go when facing these challenges, you just dealt with it and tried not to make a fuss.”
As a WORK180 Endorsed Employer, Knight Frank have policies in place to ensure that type of behavior isn’t faced by anyone in their organization.
Moving across the world to Australia also posed a challenge, leaving her family and friends, and building a whole new life. Bobbette’s drive to succeed and resilience helped her with it though.
“It gave me the ability to put on a strong brave face every day and take on every challenge that has come my way in every role.”
To her younger self, Bobbette laughs that she would say,
“You see, hard work pays off!”
Her additional career advice is to remain open minded, keep listening, and treat people fairly.
“I believe in hearing both sides of every story – I never jump to conclusions. Treat others as you wish to be treated is probably my mantra.”
Now she wants to see Knight Frank continue to grow and become number one in Adelaide. Beyond work, family means everything to Bobbette. She’s proud of the legacy she’s building, and the people she’s supporting at work.
“I am most proud of seeing the people I have mentored and coached over the years become very successful in their roles. Nothing can top that sense of satisfaction when you can see your team grow professionally and be happy and confident because you have modelled the way.”