THE NUMBER of crisis care beds on the Gold Coast for homeless young people is about to double, as construction of the Gold Coast Project for Homeless Youth’s Bill Hoyer House nears completion.
Former YP Gold Coast committee member Andrew Antonopoulos is President of the Gold Coast Project for Homeless Youth (GCPHY), a facility which will provide care for up to 1000 homeless young people over the next decade.
Mayor Tom Tate toured the facility this week which is under construction by local developer Villa World and includes seven bedrooms, four bathrooms, large living spaces, an outdoor entertaining area and a separate youth workers’ quarters and office.
The facility will provide care and rehabilitation for homeless young people requiring immediate care, assisting with their development and life skills.
“Seeing this project take shape and the support it has received from local businesses underscores the amazing community spirit we have here in our city,” says Mayor Tom Tate.
“As Mayor, I never want to see anyone left behind so I applaud the commitment to see this project through as it will assist the youth who need our support.’’
Villa World General Manager of Communities and Business Growth, Carl Bruhn, says the swift construction progress was a result of generous and hard-working local subcontractors and suppliers.
“Many of these are small business owners and their staff have donated their time, skills and materials for free or at cost price,” says Bruhn.
“The cost of building this facility sits at about $550,000 and through various streams of funding that will be reduced significantly.
“But we still need donations to complete the build, carry out fit-out of the facility and of course finance its ongoing operation.”
GCPHY President Andrew Antonopoulos says the organisation’s ultimate goal was to break the cycle of youth homelessness on the Gold Coast.
“Ideally, we want to introduce life skills and encourage each person who comes through the door to become active members of the community,” says Antonopoulos.
“With hundreds of young people experiencing homelessness in this city each night, the opening of Bill Hoyer House will help some of them off the streets and into good care.
“With the support of the local community, Government and Villa World, Bill Hoyer House will have a serious impact in breaking the cycle of homelessness.”
Partially funded by the Queensland Government, GCPHY has partnered with Villa World for a second time to make this project financially feasible, having previously completed Jessica Dunne Lodge.
The GCPHY has been established for more than 30 years and is the Gold Coast’s leading service for youth homelessness. The organisation also operates Lawson House, another crisis care facility on the Gold Coast.
What does criticism against the SUNS or for that matter the Titans have to do with community cabinet?
Firstly, it’s funny how coincidences occur. The original purpose of this article was to promote the Palaszczuk Government’s Community Cabinet meeting to be held on the Gold Coast on May 15.
We want to ensure that all professionals head to the forum as it is a unique opportunity for future city leaders to have their say on the direction of the city and engage the Government around critical areas such as job creation and job security in the city.
It is also a great opportunity to have our voices heard and showcase the city’s support for major projects. And, this article is still about wanting you to go to this forum to ensure your voice is heard.
However, there are other ways we can show that as a community we stand together. For those who didn’t watch the news on Monday, AFL legend Leigh Matthews questioned the viability of two AFL teams in Queensland, questioning the future of the Gold Coast SUNS.
His comments aren't just about our ability to sustain sporting teams, they also question the strength and support of the Gold Coast community inferring we don't have a sporting culture or more broadly a united and strong community.
Usually it would be enough for us to rebut these comments by creating a post stating our backing of the SUNS - who are YP Gold Coast partners. However, a Facebook and Twitter post did not suffice on this occasion.
Chairman of the Gold Coast SUNS, Tony Cochrane (pictured right) delivered one of the best responses to this crack at our city you will ever see, so we instead encourage you to watch his media conference because he will say it far more eloquently and humorously then we can – CLICK HERE.
Which now brings us back to our main point – what does criticism against the SUNS or for that matter the Titans have to do with community cabinet? Well, a lot!
Tony notes that we are the Australia’s sixth largest urban centre and still one of the country’s fastest growing cities. However, the continued criticism directed at the Gold Coast implies that we don’t have a community that supports local teams, that it has no soul, substance or history. Quite frankly, these comments are so far off the mark it’s laughable.
The Gold Coast is an incredible place to work and live with a lifestyle that is envied globally. Simply, if you are setting up a business in Australia this is the place to be.
That is why whether it’s supporting our local football teams, getting heard at a state level or being noticed federally, it’s time that we, as a community, back the city that we love.
The reason the YP committee was formed was because we all truly believe that right now the Gold Coast is one of the most exciting places to build a career (and life) due to the extraordinary amount of opportunities to be found here and the freedom offered to really start something fresh and new.
Which is why we want your help over the coming weeks to ensure our voices are heard.
At the community cabinet meeting on Sunday 15th May, help us get the ball rolling by asking this question to start with:
The Commonwealth Games is set to inject $2 billion into the Queensland economy and support around 30,000 jobs – what is the Government planning to ensure local business owners, families and workers are able to leverage the Games post event?
The message we need to get across is that we need to get projects rolling now to avoid any post-game slump and keep the momentum of the past 18-months going.
Then over the coming weeks make sure you head to the Titans or the SUNS – or both preferably – and show that as a community we back our city and believe in its potential.
TOWN planner Nicole Bennetts says Gold Coasters have a responsibility to attract investment to the city, and it is only through wise investment that the city will be able to manage population growth.
The Gold Coast is expected to double in the next 35 years to 1.1 million by 2050, according to lead demographer Bernard Salt, and Bennetts says adapting to that growth is going to be one of the biggest challenges the city faces
“The most sustainable way to grow is in those areas we already have infrastructure and services, like along the light rail route and around our existing centres,” she says.
Bennetts, a recipient of the PIA Young Planner of the Year, currently works for the City of Gold Coast as a senior strategic planner on the City Plan and was the property developer of ENVI – the Gold Coast’s first infill small lot housing project.
The young professional talks to YP Gold Coast about some of the challenges facing the city, along with her vision for growing the region as leading destination.
What makes the Gold Coast a great place to live and work?
The Gold Coast oozes potential. I am excited to work in such an evolving city. I love the variety of lifestyles the Gold Coast has. People don’t realise the depth of opportunities. Its proximity to Brisbane is a huge benefit too – I think the two cities complement each other really well.
As a YP Gold Coast committee member, why are you so passionate about educating future generations of city leaders about the Gold Coast’s potential?
Developing a network of highly skilled professionals is vital in ensuring the Gold Coast’s economy can mature and break-out of the cyclical patterns of previous booms and busts. Bringing people together with the common goal of improving our skills and knowledge is my way of giving back to the place that has launched my professional career.
What do you believe are some of the challenges the city is facing?
As an urban planner, the biggest challenges the city will face is managing growth. The most sustainable way to grow is in those areas we already have infrastructure and services, like along the light rail route and around our existing centres. To support this growth, upgrades to the infrastructure and services will be needed but it is a chicken and egg thing. The City Plan has a 20-year planning horizon with many variables and investment in infrastructure is expensive. Critical mass is required to make the investment worth while. Building new roads/expanding our existing roads is never going to solve traffic congestion. Investment in mass transit is the only way we will mature into a world class city, this includes buses, ferries, light rail, cycle ways – a multi-model approach is the only way to grow.
What needs to be done to create more jobs on the Gold Coast, and grow the city’s corporate culture?
We each have a responsibility to attract investment to the Gold Coast. This investment needs to be in a variety of different sectors. Supporting new business and the relocation of existing business to the Gold Coast is a must. The people of the Gold Coast are the best advocates for this.
What is the city missing?
We have a lot, but there are still so many opportunities. For instance, active citizenship, a ferry system, a cycle network, missing middle housing – we have the high rises and we have the suburbs but nothing in between, such as terrace housing, or small lot housing. Everyone has a role and responsibility in seeing the Gold Coast mature.
WHAT pisses you off enough? Well, therein lies your purpose, says social entrepreneur Ronni Kahn.
“Many people would love to find their purpose and I like to stress that purpose hides in many different ways,” says Kahn, speaking at a Young Professionals Gold Coast event at Nobbys Beach.
“A clue to finding your purpose – if something pisses you off enough, and you cannot find a solution, then perhaps by taking on that problem and solving that problem you might find something incredibly meaningful.”
Kahn practices what she preaches, founding OzHarvest in November 2004 after becoming astounded by the amount of food wasted by the hospitality industry.
In its first month of operation, the perishable food rescue organisation delivered the equivalent of 13,000 meals to eight different charitable organisations. Last month, that number stood at 875,000 meals to more than 850 charitable organisations.
In total, OzHarvest has delivered more than 46 million meals, providing assistance to countless vulnerable men, women and children, and saved more than 15 million kilograms of food from going to landfill.
Kahn, who grew up during the apartheid era in South Africa, says she was fortunate rather than lucky for her success. She says her parents were motivators for her life decisions.
“What they (my parents) did was instil in me the values that all men are equal, all of us deserve the same rights, and that nobody should be discriminated against for any reason – not because of their colour, not because of their race or creed, or disadvantage,” says Kahn.
“Leaving South Africa, which I left after I finished school, was a hard decision because I could have stayed in South Africa to fight the system (apartheid), and I probably would have ended up in jail and possibly be of not that much use.
“That was a consideration for me, but I left and actually went to Israel for many years. But when I came to Australia, I actually found the Promised Land.”
Kahn established a successful events business in Australia, and it was during her time in the hospitality industry that she discovered her true purpose.
She says she reached a point where she questioned why she had been put on earth. She says she wanted to know what it felt like to make a huge difference to somebody else.
“The by-product of every one of my events was, first of all, nobody left and had to go to Maccas on the way home because they were hungry, and secondly, there was wonderful food left on tables that got thrown away,” says Kahn.
“When I could, I would take some of that food and deliver it to a charity that I knew on my way home.
“When I started thinking about what it was that I was looking for and what it was that I could do, I knew that there was food and I knew that there were people in need and I thought what if I could connect that in a very powerful and impactful way.
“My initial goal was to rescue food and feed hungry people and do that until I ran out of food. That felt like a great cause. In no way did I have any understanding of the scale of the problem.”
In Australia, $8-10 billion worth of good food goes to waste each year, or about four million tonnes of food that ends up in landfill.
According to the NSW EPA Food waste avoidance benchmark study (2009), Australians throw out one of every five shopping bags, which equates to every Australian household throwing out $1036 worth of groceries each year.
Australia also produces enough food to feed about 60 million people, yet two million people still rely on food relief every year, according to the DAFF National Food Plan 2012.
Meanwhile, the Foodbank End Hunger Report 2012 highlights that food relief agencies are not able to meet demand. Nearly 90 per cent of agencies reported not having enough food to meet total demand. It found six in 10 agencies required at least 25 per cent more food while almost three in 10 agencies required double the food.
“Our purpose when I started was to rescue food, our purpose now is to nourish our country,” says Kahn.
Kahn was instrumental in changing the existing legislation across four states that had prevented food donors from supplying excess food.
Now, companies and registered businesses around Australia are protected from liability when donating quality excess food to OzHarvest under the Civil Liabilities Amendment Act and Health Acts.
OzHarvest is also dedicated to educating Australians about food consumption, and says people need to shift and change shopping behaviours.
“When we go into a supermarket or a grocery store and buy two-for-one deals, because we think it is cheaper, we need to evaluate if it is,” says Kahn.
“If you pick up two lettuces for one and you throw out one of the lettuces at the end of the week, it is costing you much more than the $2 you saved – it is costing you, it is costing our economy.
“It is about rethinking how we purchase, how we shop and how we live our daily lives.”
OzHarvest also provides the Nourish Program, a pathway to employment aimed at vulnerable youth between the ages of 16 and 25.
Offering advice to young professionals, Kahn says it is important for people to understand how important it is to live now, live for today and be the best possible person you can be.
“As you can appreciate in the event business, I did events that cost $500,000 or $1 million or $300,000, but no money that has ever gone through my hands, or that I have earnt, has felt as good as money that you know is making a difference to one or many people,” she says.
“Each and every one of us has a responsibility to be a leader without a title. What you have to know is that your role is to be a human being that takes care of others, that is aware of the fertility of our lives and that each and every one of us, I believe, has a moral imperative to make a difference to other people.”
The Young Professionals event on the Gold Coast raised close to $1000 which allowed OzHarvest to deliver more than 1830 meals to charity recipients.
In addition, host Simon Gloftis and his team at Hellenika packaged up and donated the excess food from the lunch equating to a further 20 meals which was donated to Rosies for its Friday night street outreach for the homeless.
YP Gold Coast has been working with OzHarvest since 2013 after meeting its Gold Coast representative Lee Danahay who proposed a partnership between the organisations.
OzHarvest links with the city’s other not-for-profits, a main factor in YP Gold Coast wanting to align with the charity.
The YP Gold Coast committee is committed to working with partners who are striving to make a positive mark on the city’s community.
SHANE Primrose and Adam Harrison are playing a different game when it comes to entrepreneurship.
The football fans have teamed up to create Good Football, a social enterprise where for every ball sold, another is donated to a child in need.
Primrose says Good Football doesn't just tackle issues with health and fitness in developing communities, but also kicks the supply chain in the right direction.
The 26-year-old Gold Coast local says inspiration for the social enterprise sprung years ago when he was visiting Kolkata.
"I was 16 and little concerned me beyond chasing footballs and chasing girls, but I met a monk and the lessons he taught me shaped my life for years to come," says Primrose.
"We then served in charity homes in Dayadan, where all the children had disabilities in one form or another and had been abandoned at birth or soon after.
"The street children were taken into these environments by the sisters, under the vision of Mother Theresa, and the value of education for these kids just cannot be understated. Time spent in the school grounds is time where they can free themselves from harsh realities.
Primrose and Harrison came together for Good Football in 2014.
Both juggle full-time jobs, Primrose as a school teacher, and spend their evenings and weekends working on opportunities for the social enterprise. Harrison is currently in Africa visiting orphanages and mission hospitals.
Growing up in the country and attending The Southport School (TSS) as a boarder, Primrose was quick to call the Gold Coast home and now finds our lifestyle formative to running a business.
The first benchmark for Good Football is launching a fully-functioning football store and the ultimate goal is expanding into other sports.
Primrose says the wider community's reception of the concept has been 'incredible'.
Big-name players have purchased from Good Football off their own bat and the social enterprise has scored Fair Game as a trading partner.
"W-League players have been really keen to lend a hand, which is great because football is a growing market in Australia and particularly among young girls," says Primrose.
"We've also had a few pro players pick up products and post on Instagram, and others getting in touch saying how much they like the product and asking what they could do to help.
"It's a bit of a boy dream, coming from a football background, and Fair Game is making everything possible for us because they operate in isolated Indigenous communities teaching kids about health and fitness. They generally collect used sporting goods to use in their programs so were beside themselves when we contacted them to distribute our new products."
Primrose says the next challenge is guaranteeing fair trade through every part of the supply chain.
"The first range of balls on our website are limited edition, machine-stitched, and were sourced in China so we did a lot of research," says Primrose.
"Match quality balls really need to be hand-stitched and there are only four factories in the world that do that with ethical accreditation.
"We need to be dealing with fair trade factories so we aren't solving problems at one end of the scale to source more at the other end.
"If you're going to be in consumer products right now, you really have to consider the true cost of the product because it goes far beyond what the customer pays."
SHE'S 22, a CEO, and making kids think about the only thing that really matters.
Nicole Gibson, the founder of The Rogue & Rouge Foundation and the youngest National Mental Health Commissioner to ever be appointed in the Commonwealth, is proof that millennials are so much more than the stereotypes.
Gold Coast-based Gibson launched her social enterprise at just 18 years old in hopes of breaking down the stigma surrounding mental health.
Her proactive approach to mental health has since helped her cut through over 300 communities and reach 200,000 people across Australia.
Two years earlier, Gibson was in an acting academy aspiring for Hollywood stardom, before spiralling into severe anxiety, depression and anorexia nervosa.
“This obsession with success and competitiveness was one of the things that impacted me my entire life and it wasn’t until last year that I actually started to recognise this,” says Gibson.
Gibson says it took a shock to her system for something to switch inside of her, which came in the form of hospitalisation for anorexia nervosa.
On her journey to recovery, she found herself constantly mulling over the state of Australia’s mental health system, where $600 million is spent every year on absenteeism directly correlated with these issues.
What’s more, seven people commit suicide in our country every day.
“I had 36c in my bank account and called up my best friend and said I was going to tour Australia and visit the most strained communities because I wanted to know the truth about what was really going on – she naturally thought I was crazy.
“But the more money spent on mental health correlates to rising incidences so it's pretty clear what’s been done in the past isn’t working.”
On a shoestring budget, Gibson estimated she would need $75,000 to bring her vision to life. She was fortunate to have a working relationship with SunSuper, who had featured her in their Champions of Change campaign the year before – but that still didn’t make for a shoe-in.
“They said no, I persisted, and they eventually scheduled me in for coffee with their marketing intern,” Gibson says.
“I was pitching for a speaking tour around Australia and I wasn’t a public speaker or expert facilitator by any means. I didn’t even have a car.
“I walked away with a verbal agreement for funding. It felt like the ultimate score of the underdog.”
Gibson found mental health challenges to be epidemic among young people across Australia. The same sentiment prevailed, whether she was visiting an Indigenous community in the Kimberly region, or an esteemed private school in Melbourne.
Some of the schools in remote communities had only 20 per cent attendance rates.
“I spoke to the school bullies, asked why they did it, and they consistently said because it made them feel powerful and the person they victimise then feared them.
“It sounds soppy, but truly the only way to transmute fear is through love. In rough and rural towns where intimacy and vulnerability just aren’t things, we implemented a policy where kids would just hug the bully.
“It’s not about plugging mental health as an issue, but working out how to inject love into a society that feels pressure to be a certain way. We get phone calls saying there’s next to no bullying at these schools anymore because of this hugging trend.”
Gibson continues to roll out programs across Australia, most recently a program in partnership with fellow Gold Coast social enterprise, Startup Apprentice.
They are focused on equipping kids with business smarts to give a sense of direction and purpose.
The local social enterprises are teaming up for an eight-week and one-day program, Startup Apprentice Express, an experience-based learning session that 'bridges a gap between book-smarts and street-smarts' where students come out with a digital business or social enterprise ready for a panel of judges.
“It's so crucial that young people are exposed to different styles of learning, and encouraged to look at both their values and belief systems to give them solid foundations to thrive in and beyond high school,” she says.
“If you look up success in the dictionary, it will likely say ‘a lack of failure’ – the most subjective definition of success ever. The definition for failure isn’t helpful either – ‘an unsuccessful person or thing’.
“We want kids to realise there’s no tangible definition of success or failure to get caught up in. It’s up to all of us to make up our own definitions.”
LABOR’S move to water down the Vicious Lawless Association Disestablishment (VLAD) Bill is a mistake, and any changes to the laws are set to detrimentally impact the city’s reputation as a place to live, work and play.
The laws, established in 2013 after the infamous bikie brawl in Broadbeach, have cleaned up the streets and that is evident in the lack of activity around outlaw motorcycle gang members in public places across the city.
The inability of gang members to assemble or exercise their influence by wearing club colours has seen a new level of safety in all suburbs of the Gold Coast, from the hinterland to the beaches.
Most importantly, the VLAD laws have made it much more difficult for bikie gangs to gather, thanks to the Rapid Action and Patrols Taskforce (RAP Squad), which was assembled to tackle organised crime.
There were eight active club-houses when the RAP Squad was established, now there are none, meaning gangs are unable to take advantage of the strength they have as a club.
The Labor Government’s review into Organised Crime Legislation, which includes the much debated VLAD laws, was handed to Attorney General Yvette D'ath today, although it won't be released to the public until next week.
The Queensland Taskforce on Organised Crime Legislation, which conducted the review, was instructed to ‘advise how best to repeal, or replace by substantial amendment’ the legislation.
It is obvious the agenda of Labor, and it is expected the review will recommend the VLAD laws be repealed by the Palaszczuk government, igniting concerns outlaw gangs will regroup and again exert their power throughout the city.
YP Gold Coast shares these concerns, with fears the most prominent groups including the Hells Angels, Bandidos, Nomads and Finks, are set to receive a leg up from the weakened laws.
The question YP Gold Coast wants to ask is why fix something that isn’t broken? Since the inception of the laws, there is greater certainty flowing through the city.
Tourism is on the rebound, which of course is a reflection of a bunch of different factors, however it is partly due to returning confidence that the Gold Coast is a safer environment for visitors.
The bikie brawl in 2013 was broadcast by news outlets all over the world, damaging the reputation of the Gold Coast as a place to holiday. Now, these motorcycle gangs are not even given the opportunity to mingle, let alone brawl on the streets of the city.
In addition, international education is now a major contributor to the city’s economy and it is vital the Gold Coast portrays a safe and stable reputation in order for this growth to continue.
In 2018 the city is set to be launched onto the world stage, as the Commonwealth Games hits the shores of our city, and the image projected must be one of safety and security.
YP Gold Coast is in full support of the VLAD laws and urges the Labor Government to continue a tough and strict stance on organised crime.
Should the VLAD laws remain or be repealed? Have your say on the issue and comment below.
The Vice President of YP Gold Coast is encouraging the up-and-coming talent of the Gold Coast to be ‘YES’ people, saying the city needs strong leaders that are forward-thinking to tackle the Gold Coast’s unprecedented population growth.
“There are too many voices opposed to the city’s progression, yet they are the same people who complain about the lack of employment opportunities, traffic congestion and property availability,” says Coleman.
“Our city leaders, while taking into consideration the voices of the minority, cannot be frightened of change.”
Coleman graduated from Bond University with Honours and made Senior Associate at Rose Litigation Lawyers at the ripe age of 26 where she has been involved in multi-million-dollar Supreme Court litigation cases.
The young lawyer is well on track to achieving her vision of becoming partner of Rose Litigation Lawyers before 30, and talks to YP Gold Coast about her vision for the city, explaining why the coastal city is the best place to live, work and play.
What makes the Gold Coast a great place to live and work?
The Gold Coast is a growing city. As young professionals we have the unique opportunity to shape our city into the environment we want to live and work in. We know we have a great work-life balance, but what we also have is the ability to create a city that is cultural, progressive and innovative. No other city in Australia can offer its younger generation that opportunity.
As a YP Gold Coast committee member, why are you so passionate about educating future generations of city leaders about the Gold Coast’s potential?
Being in the professional services industry, I can see first-hand the difficulties of recruiting and retaining quality employees. There has always been a connotation that to succeed in the legal industry, you need to work in London, Sydney or Melbourne and that there is no career longevity on the Coast. We have exceptionally good quality work on the Coast, not just in professional services, and it is so important that we encourage our best talent to see a future for themselves here.
What do you believe are some of the challenges the city is facing, and what can the Gold Coast do to overcome these?
The Gold Coast has become a victim of its own success. We have unprecedented population growth and our city’s infrastructure cannot sustain it. There are too many voices opposed to the city’s progression, yet they are the same people who complain about the lack of employment opportunities, traffic congestion and property availability. Our city leaders, while taking into consideration the voices of the minority, cannot be frightened of change. All residents must focus on the future of our city and the needs of the population and this needs to happen now.
What needs to be done to create more jobs on the Gold Coast, and grow the city’s corporate culture?
We need to become a city of ‘yes’ people. We should be saying yes to cultural precincts. We should be saying yes to initiatives that promote entrepreneurship and we absolutely must say yes to projects that improve our day to day lives and liveability of our city.
What is the city missing?
The Gold Coast is incredibly disjointed. The geographical nature of the city naturally divides between the northern, central and southern areas and with that, come competing interests for the city. There is a real opportunity for a collective Gold Coast voice which promotes the city in its entirety. YP Gold Coast is focussed on bringing together the young professionals of the city as a whole, but our current city leaders and other established community forums must take a collective approach for the betterment of the city.
ENTREPRENEURSHIP is in a league of its own in terms of its ability to generate economic growth, create jobs, and transform society.
That is why investing in entrepreneurship and innovation is important if the Gold Coast and Queensland wants to move forward as a leading business destination.
Last year, the Premier recognised this direction and invested $40 million in establishing a flourishing start-up culture in our state.
The business development fund is set to inject money into start-ups, entrepreneurship and innovation in Queensland with the aim of turning great ideas into commercial realities.
YP Gold Coast believes that this sort of investment is pivotal in the Gold Coast’s establishment as a worldly city.
No longer is the Gold Coast just the ‘theme park capital of Australia’ – it is a city with endless opportunities for development, investment and business.
That isn’t to say that tourism is not vital to our economy, it most definitely is, and should also be nurtured and further invested in.
But, investment in people leads to entrepreneurial and business benefits.
By investing in the people of the Gold Coast, particularly the young and ambitious talent that is coming out of our universities, we are sending a message that the Gold Coast is a great place to lay down roots.
The aim is to encourage more and more entrepreneurs to recognise the Gold Coast as a launching pad to a prosperous future – we do not want to see business professionals moving from the Gold Coast to start up businesses in other cities.
YP Gold Coast aims to help create conditions that allow more entrepreneurs to start businesses and will work to nurture an environment that allows these businesses to grow.
THERE'S a new real estate brand on the Gold Coast block, headed by two young guns with real estate pedigree and focused on changing the face of property.
Mitch Lambert and Jesse Willcox (pictured left-right) don't come with traditional brochures or window cards. They also avoid the nine to five and, despite their youth, say they 'won't take' social media in the workplace.
Hard sells, 23-year-old Lambert and 26-year-old Willcox sharpened their business savvy while learning under the best.
Lambert is a former McGrath agent and son of property developer Rod Lambert, who co-owned and operated Lambert Smollen Estate Agents in the 90s. Willcox quickly made a name for himself as a top 1 per cent agent for McGrath in Queensland holding record suburb sales in Paradise Waters and Chevron Island to boot.
Willcox says the risk of leaving McGrath and opening Lambert Willcox was 'leaving it on the table'.
"You can get really favourable commissions working for an agency without any real risk, but I didn't want to work for a company forever - I wanted something greater," says Willcox.
"I found out since leaving that working for the big brand name is definitely not as attractive as I once thought.
"I don't just want to be a real estate agent and then groom my kids to follow in those footsteps, so when the opportunity presented itself to work with my best mate, I grabbed it with both hands."
Willcox says the Lambert Willcox pledge starting on day one was: 'honest, ethical and will outwork the competition'.
He says a lot of people in the beginning doubted their abilities to build on the momentum achieved working for someone else, but the same people became supportive 'almost overnight'.
Setting up shop at Surf Parade, Broadbeach just last week, Lambert Willcox has already made one sale at Surfers Waters under the hammer and can currently count three listings.
"Our female readership in particular on realestate.com.au has gone through the roof," says Lambert, adding it's not just the charm of the founders.
"We present every home like it's being featured in Vogue Living from an interior design perspective, so imagery is real life and not staged. That means the family dog will feature candidly, and we won't relent on a property having video footage.
"The market was calling out for more transparency and authenticity, and we think the big players in the industry really haven't changed for decades."
Willcox spent time in Sydney, London, Paris and the US before taking the leap, and says Lambert Willcox has taken marketing inspiration from other boutique firms.
He says working the industry from the ground up also delivered 'invaluable' experience.
After studying journalism, Willcox went through five interviews to become a real estate agency receptionist, was accepted on the sixth, and in a couple of years worked through a traineeship, administration, property management and sales manager roles.
Lambert says flux in family life informed his decision to go out on his own at 22 and 'take my destiny into my own hands rather than waiting for someone else to handle it'.
"We think a lot of salespeople lack the discipline needed to handle the industry because of the freedom it provides," says Lambert.
"There's a huge focus on personal sacrifice over personal productivity in western culture and a lot of real estate agencies honestly become adult day-care centres.
"We hate 'busy being busy' - an agent will finish the week and sigh 'big week' but didn't achieve any sales or listings. It happens all the time. We don't want our agents sitting there doing that.
"Don't just turn up at nine and leave at five. We don't have set hours and just want our staff working whenever it suits them best.
"We put our names on the door and that's what we keep coming back to. When someone goes out into the marketplace, they don't just have their name on the business card, but mine and Jesse's too."
Lambert Willcox will begin hiring in January, slow and steady, prepared to take on a pipeline of work that will be as long as can be managed. And they are gearing up for a big pipeline.
"The Gold Coast market is better than I've ever seen it professionally and we speak about it a lot," says Willcox.
"I started in real estate when the market was falling, during the GFC, and you learnt tough lessons then.
"Now what the market is doing and the speed of offers coming in, I think it's an easy time for real estate agents."
Images three, four, five and six taken at Willcox Lambert's recent listings in Broadbeach and Surfers Paradise.