A yin and yang approach to running a brokerage

Deanna Ezzy has earned plenty of accolades during her time in the industry. Last year she ranked 49 in the Top 100, making the list for the fifth year running.

According to the director of More Than Mortgages, she wouldn’t be able to achieve such success without the support of a strong team.

Striking the right balance

Natasha Condi started working for Ezzy in loan processing and administrative support about six years ago and has been an essential member of the team ever since.

“My Top 100 ranking over the past 5 years wouldn’t have been possible without her help.”

“Not only can she machine through the admin/loan processing/file-driving/commission tracking, she is extremely reliable and almost never takes sick leave.”

Now a broker in her own right, Ezzy has offered Condi part-ownership of the business.

She says part of the reason the two work so well together is because they are very different from one another.

“She is the Yin to my Yang.”

“Our personalities are very opposite, and the way we work things out is also different.”

“Natasha put together a Training Manual for our new brokers, and I went through all the scenarios and found it interesting that she works things out quite differently to me but we both end up with the same answer.”

“I value her input and ideas, because she’ll often think of things I haven’t and vice-versa.”

An environment of growth

Ezzy says a good leader is someone who stands firm for what they believe in while being honest, inspiring and intelligent.

“I hope I live up to this by putting myself out there and relating well to others in their daily lives, as well as continually learning and striving to be the best that I can be for my team and our clients.”

Wanting to create an enjoyable and dynamic environment for her staff, she believes growth is very important.

“Stagnating in a job is the worst, and I want my team to feel that they are always moving forward. I want them to enjoy coming to work and to genuinely care about each other so that they can be themselves and have some fun.”

“I also want to help facilitate any goals that they might have, and push them past where they think their limits are.”

She adds that her favourite quote is “everything you truly desire is outside of your comfort zone” – something she helped Condi with by encouraging her to take on client-facing activities.

“Natasha had serious doubts around her ability to be able to run initial meetings and phone calls with clients, and I think she was worried about not being able to connect with the client.”

“I pushed her to simply try it out for six to 12 months and if she still felt the same way then, she could go back to being the ‘behind the scenes machine’.”

“From what I have seen over the past three to six months, she’s doing really well. I’m super impressed and proud of her.”

A new sense of purpose

Ezzy says she has led her team through the challenges of the past couple of years thanks to the help of a strong support network.

“I have a business coach, a shrink, a dedicated partner at home (he’s the best) and my mum (she's the best) lives next door.”

“With this support group around me, I’m able to make calm, informed business decisions and I do my best to be very transparent with my team.”

While COVID-19 has been a challenge for everyone, Ezzy was able to turn an initial feeling of anxiety into a well-developed contingency plan that has ultimately seen the business thrive.

“When the Covid lockdown hit, I noticed myself getting quite anxious about the future. I ‘caught’ this quickly, and decided to stop watching the news and focus only on things I could control.”

After pouring her thoughts into a Word document, she had a session with her business coach and they mapped out all the worst-case scenarios.

“In going through several different scenarios, I was able to identify exactly how many loans we would need to settle to break even. I then had a team meeting on Monday, and relayed all my thoughts in a really positive way.”

“I also let the team know that the worst-case scenario would be that we would all have to cut back and work three days a week,” she says, adding that she highlighted the benefits of a four-day weekend as part of this.

“I also reassured them that I didn’t think this would happen and reiterated that this was ‘worst-case’.”

“There were a whole list of positives that I went through with the team, to help them, and me, to see the pandemic and subsequent lockdown as challenging, but ultimately rewarding insomuch as coming out of it with more knowledge and experience than we had before.”

She says by focusing on the opportunities to help people with their finances during the pandemic, it gave the team a valuable sense of purpose that enabled them to get on with things despite the worry and uncertainty that COVID-19 could cause.

“As it turned out, loan volumes went up and we were extremely busy with loan maintenance.”

“We all put in a lot of hours in the first few months of lockdown, and the “worst case” scenarios that I had worked on with my business coach never saw the light of day.”

“I think having that contingency helped the team to focus on our clients in a new and meaningful way.”