Tell us a little bit about you.
I’m Lisa, 33 years old, originally from Clonskeagh and still live in South Dublin.
I'm the Head of Auction Operations here at BidX1; nothing cheers me up like a good Disney movie; and I'm pretty competitive – which I'm sure is no secret after our recent company step-challenge!
Tell us a little bit about your career prior to joining BidX1.
I studied Marketing & Event Management at Dublin Business School, during which time I was also working in promotions.
Very few people know this, but I actually went to ‘Clown College’ too! You could get more event work if you were able to make balloon animals and face-paint, so that’s what I did!
I graduated in 2009, bang-smack in the middle of the recession. Not a great time to pursue a career in Event Management.
I was frustrated at the time but looking back, I’m glad that life put me on a different path. As much as I like to host a party, the reality of that industry wasn't right for me.
I was only 21 anyway, so I was happy to get experience wherever it was offered. I worked in a photography studio for a couple of years. It was a very random job but I enjoyed it. I remember the slogan – “capturing a moment” – corny but also true. I still love photography. Sometimes you don’t stay on a particular path but you take the learnings and joys with you. It’s an important hobby of mine.
After that, I worked as a medical secretary at a well-known private clinic. Another great role, where I learned a lot, but there was always going to be a ceiling on my progression there – I wanted something more challenging.
A recruiter sent me to interview for the role of ‘Auction Coordinator’ at BidX1. Coincidentally, I was also interviewing with another large property company at the time.
Had you expressed an interest in property specifically?
I don’t think so – it must have been fate pointing me in that direction! After I met Jonathan [Head of Property] and the team, I turned down a second interview with the other company. I loved the vibe; I thought the culture was the right fit for me.
My first auction was on 28th April 2016. You do not forget it!
You became Head of Group Auction Operations last year, managing auctions across all BidX1 markets. What was the journey to that position?
It sounds funny but I’ve always been good at organisation – I’m strong on details, structure, processes. I was made Head Auction Coordinator fairly quickly, overseeing all commercial and residential auctions with a team of four.
Of course, that was in Ireland – then we started expanding! When BidX1 launched in the UK, I split my time between Dublin and London, in order to train the auction coordination team there.
When we launched in South Africa, I spent 6 weeks in Cape Town setting up the systems and processes. Cyprus was next, in 2019, and then Spain a few months later.
A lot of travel, a lot of different time-zones – there were some long days but it was a brilliant opportunity, a chance to travel and learn about the real estate industry in other countries.
In late 2019, our COO approached me to discuss the possibility of creating a centralised auction coordination team. I put a plan in place for how that might work and presented it to management. In January 2020, I was made Head of Group Auction Operations: I picked a team, and we got to work!
What’s a typical day for you?
We are coordinating digital sales across five markets, for various departments within those markets – as well as sales in conjunction with our partners and the other estate agents who list properties on the BidX1 platform.
What I mean is: if you work on the Central Auction Team, there is no typical day!
In general though, I do like to start early. I try to fit in a quick walk before work, and then my first task is to prioritise what’s required based on what’s happening across the various teams/markets.
I tend to get my own work done first thing in the morning – after that, assisting my team takes precedence.
The evenings are different now, of course - mostly spent walking, if the weather allows. Jigsaws have also become a feature of my life, if you can believe that.
What are your main priorities and goals in your role?
Ultimately, I’m responsible for coordinating every sale on the platform, large or small. No pressure!
Clear processes and strong organisation are key. I think it’s part of my personality: I like things to be set up properly.
Taking care of my team is a big focus for me – ensuring they aren’t overloaded, that we can prioritise as necessary, that any red flags or hiccups can be handled calmly and quickly.
Testing is an important element of my role – we’re constantly running dummy auctions, in every scenario imaginable. I don’t like surprises!
And working with our partners is an increasingly important part of my role now; the mass migration to online methods throughout 2020 has increased demand for a proven platform.
Has that shift been a positive one?
I’m really enjoying it. For our larger partnerships, it’s an opportunity to work closely with like-minded firms. We work very closely with the Foxtons team, for example. They come from the same mindset as us – flexible, dynamic, with a ‘get stuff done’ attitude – so there is great morale on the joint teams. Working with them has been brilliant, lots of craic along with the hard work!
And you know, it’s really exciting for an agent/broker to watch their first assets selling online… seeing the bids coming in, the clock running down. We’re excited because they’re excited! It always reminds me of my first auction!
What do you like most about working at BidX1?
Everyone gets on so well. It’s a lovely atmosphere. We are like a little family.
And I am so lucky with my team - they are superstars. You can quote me on that!
What career advice would you give to someone starting out?
It can actually be really helpful to find out what you don't want. I did a stint on the tech team at one point, working on a large-scale CRM project. A great opportunity and I learned a lot but it helped me realise where I really want to be, and where I am at my best: Operations.
For BidX1 specifically, if you’re just starting out, don't panic if you don't love every aspect of your role. There are so many different teams here, and we have so much to do! That means a very broad range of opportunities.
What have been the highlights of your career to date?
Our first auction in Cyprus, definitely. After all the hard work, watching it all come together was amazing – we sold 98% of the catalogue that day! I remember being on the office balcony with the team, it was a beautiful afternoon in Nicosia. Johnny Horgan [MD for Europe] had travelled to Cyprus for the auction and gave a short speech to thank us for all the hard work; we were buzzing, it was an incredible day.
We also abseiled down the side of Croke Park Stadium to raise money for Childline – that’s another highlight. Some of my colleagues found it absolutely terrifying but I loved it – I was humming Mission Impossible as we dropped down!