In just four short years of adulthood, Katie Dowton has trekked through South America on her own, purchased a house, been made partner of a business and been listed as a 2020 Young Gun.
MPA spoke with the Central Coast broker about her whirlwind of achievements and why she decided to become a broker.
Running a business is in her blood
The middle child of five, Dowton started crunching financials for the family business from the age of 12. Growing up near Broken Hill, she found herself working alongside her parents in more than one business venture.
“My dad is an opal miner and he does mine tours,” she says. “My parents had a café and they also had a bed and breakfast.”
She says she enjoyed helping her mother take care of the accounting for their shop and café; finding the experience an altogether inspiring one.
“I developed a bit of independence and I found it super important to be able to stand on your own.”
A foray into broking
Dowton worked at ANZ for about six months after finishing school before she made the transition to broking at Mortgage Choice.
“It gave me a bit of an understanding into the finance industry, but I didn’t love the pushy sales side of things,” she explains.
“We used to get a lot of brokers coming in to do doc sign ups with their customers, and that’s how I found out what broking was.
“I learned that there were so many more options that could be better suited for different clients in their array of situations.”
The thing she loves most about broking is how it has enabled her to guide and support a range of customers, including younger people. One of the things she has been able to help younger borrowers with is buying a house – something she herself achieved by the age of 21.
“I think there is a lot of stigma around it being really difficult to get into the market – especially as a first home buyer,” she says.
“I really want young people to be able to understand that it’s not as hard as you think and that there is a lot of support available.”
Last year Dowton was brought into the business as a partner. She also began studying a Bachelor of Business and Innovation and Entrepreneurship at the University of Newcastle.
“I wanted to broaden my knowledge and understanding of how to run a business; how to be able to grow a business and provide a better service for my clients,” she says.
While buying a house and becoming a partner in the business were both highlights for her, being able to help clients through the COVID-19 pandemic has brought her a lot of job satisfaction.
“Everything that we are going through at the moment with the coronavirus situation has been a highlight for me because of the support I’ve been able to provide to my clients,” she says.
“It’s such a hard time for people at the moment who have lost their jobs or had their hours cut back at work, and I have been able to take some of that financial pressure and stress off them.
“So, in a weird way, this has been a really positive experience.”
A solo trip through South America
After going to boarding school in year nine and ten and then moving to the coast to complete her schooling, Dowton wanted to do something different to the standard Contiki trip that many of her peers were planning.
She embarked on a six-week solo trip through South America – no small feat for a young woman who couldn’t speak a word of Spanish.
“I went to Chile, Peru and Colombia and basically trekked through Machu Picchu, the Inca trail,” she says.
“In Colombia I did another trek and it was just such a huge experience.
“It was really hard physically and mentally being on my own. I didn’t learn any Spanish – which was so silly, because they don’t speak English over there at all.
“It really forced me to gain some confidence and to have some life experience. It helped me to see the way they live over there and the opportunities we have over here – and not to take them for granted.”