Inspired by Jake Millar, we look closer to home at one of our region’s highest achievers. Monique Balvert-O’Connor finds out how Kay Ganley combines a record-smashing career in real estate with time for her family – in particular, her beloved granddaughter, Georgia.

WORDS MONIQUE BALVERT-O’CONNOR / PHOTOS BRYDIE THOMPSON

It must be a great day when you realise that the best people to employ in your growing business, are your family.

FOR THE PAST FIVE YEARS, KAY HAS BEEN THE BAYLEYS MOUNT AND PAPAMOA OFFICE TOP SALESPERSON. She doesn’t simply rank highly on the local stage; in the last financial year she was fourth nationwide in Bayleys’ residential sales, and eleventh over all offices covering residential, country, and commercial property sales. She has been in the top five percent nationwide for a few years now. Three years ago, Kay took on a full-time PA and, this year, family members have joined the winning force.

KAY’S ELDEST DAUGHTER, JANELLE GANLEY, WHO HAS WORKED IN THE BAYLEYS OFFICE FOR THE PAST FIVE YEARS, JOINED HER MOTHER’S TEAM ONLY A MONTH AGO. She lists and works with vendors and buyers. Conrad Doyle – the partner of Kay’s second daughter, Chloe – also became part of the team this year, as a buyers’ agent. Chloe, meanwhile, has established a five-star property management company, and that includes house cleaning services for Kay’s clients. Son, Mitchell, though is far removed from the property world. He’s studying towards a PhD in biotechnology.

A TRIP TO SINGAPORE AND THE MALDIVES IN JUNE THIS YEAR, BUENOS AIRES THE PREVIOUS YEAR, AND HAWAII BEFORE THAT, ARE ALL PART AND PARCEL OF THE KAY GANLEY SUCCESS STORY. Bayleys takes their top nationwide high achievers on overseas trips annually, and Kay has got used to packing her bags mid year.

HER WORKING LIFE IS UNDERSTANDABLY BUSY. But as the team has grown, work-life balance has improved. Time for her grandchild, walks around Mauao, and pilates, are now on the radar. “Having a team of four means we provide the ultimate service for our clients, and I get to see my children and granddaughter so much more.”

“A CLIENT TOLD ME RECENTLY THAT I WOULD BE LEAVING A LEGACY. That compliment was hugely humbling. But one day, when I retire, they can carry on that legacy, if that’s what it is,” Kay says.

KAY BEGAN HER REAL ESTATE JOURNEY AS A 42-YEAR-OLD, following years owning men’s fashion stores.

“I OWNED MY OWN BUSINESS FROM THE AGE OF 21. When it was time for a change, I knew I wanted to remain my own boss, have flexibility, and feed my love of people. I hit on the real estate idea.” It was a good fit. She sold her first property two weeks into the job.

AFTER EIGHT YEARS WORKING WITH OTHER COMPANIES, SHE JOINED THE BAYLEYS MOUNT OFFICE IN 2006. Kay deals in high-end properties, from baches to mansions, mainly beach, waterfront, and bordering the golf course at Mt Maunganui, and Papamoa. She’s a record-holder. Her first beachfront sale was over $1 million in the late 1990s – one of the first to sell at that price, and she was responsible for the first $1 million sale bordering The Mount golf course. She also holds the luxury home market record at the office for a $6.6 million Marine Parade sale in 2015.

AS FOR HER RAZOR-SHARP, WINNING EDGE, testimonials are rich in adjectives such as warm, trustworthy, knowledgeable, empathetic, and professional.

“SOME PEOPLE PERCEIVE REAL ESTATE TO BE A SIMPLE BUSINESS, BUT IT’S NOT IF YOU DON’T HAVE DETERMINATION AND COMMITMENT. I have that, plus I have always been driven to be successful.”

WITH THAT DRIVE HAS COME COMPROMISE – SHE’S MISSED FAMILY GATHERINGS AND OTHER FUNCTIONS. Before having a full-time PA on board, paperwork would keep her up until midnight. Then there’s the on-call component, and weekends dedicated to taking clients to houses, and staging open homes. It’s fortunate, she says, that her husband, Mike Gallagher, understands her working world – he manages a real estate office. But, with the team now in place, a more balanced life is forecast. And, as Kay says, all the highs in the job are people- related. Now she gets to enjoy the job while surrounded by family and the clients who’ve become like family over the years.

AS FOR HER PERSONAL SLICE OF REAL ESTATE? Kay and Mike live in a downtown Mount apartment and own a holiday home in Ohope. She plans to be at the latter, with her feet up, for Christmas.

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