Well most people call me “Steph” so let’s stick with that!
The real me is pretty much, what you see is what you get. I am pretty straight-up and everyone always knows where they are with me. I am extremely passionate about what I believe in, head strong, focused and determined. This often gets me in to some situations.
I grew up in Wellington on the Kapiti Coast with my parents and one brother. I now live all over the show to be honest. I don’t really know where I am each morning that I wake up. Sounds crazy but it’s true. That’s how life is when you have a business that is national. People ask me where is “home” and I often say Taranaki and Wellington.
I began my career in banking straight out of school at the age of 17. I was lucky enough to be accepted into the school leavers programme at National Bank and never looked back. I studied commerce at the same time as working for the bank which was a win/win.
At the age of 22 I became the youngest Mobile Mortgage Manager for National Bank and spent the next 12 years in that role. I loved it. It was an extremely externally focused role that was all about relationships and referral business. I did this role in Wellington, Auckland and Taranaki. The connections I made have stuck with me for life. It was a great tenure.
I was waiting for the timing to start SMM. People often ask if I wish I had done it sooner. I believe there is a right time for everything and my whole career led up to it. It was about 15 years in the making.
I wanted to be able to keep doing what I loved but offer customers ALL options by not restricting them to one bank, and I wanted to have a team of dynamic, professional and driven advisors to do it with.
It was something that had been done before by many – but I wanted to do it BETTER.
So nearly four years ago I took the jump and never looked back.
Starting your own venture is by far one of the most challenging and rewarding things you can do. It takes over your whole life if you are passionate about it and SMM is really my baby.
To me there are two parts of SMM.
The first is that we want to be the BEST team to take the stress away from our clients when they are making financial decisions with property. We want them to feel like the process is simple, achievable and accessible.
The second is explained by part of SMMs visions statement.
Our success will enable us to provide housing assistance to the under-privileged within those provincial communities.
It is with no surprise that we host and run fundraising events for community charities. We have just had our sixth event and have raised over $70k to date.
It is important to me to give back – it’s not all about the bottom line. There has to be some other factor to make me feel like I have been true to who I am.
I also love to help other business owners where I can and see individuals grow. I mentor through Business Mentors NZ. Community means a lot so I am involved in a lot of projects and I chair The Business and Retail Association in New Plymouth.
My vice is wine and fashion – my bank account would be a lot better off if this wasn’t the case. I have recently been appointed “Fashion Ambassador” at Wellington Racing Club which ticks two boxes of my loves – horse racing and fashion – a perfect role.
I like to keep fit. I used to do triathlons and teach spin classes, yoga and step classes but now I am an F45 freak! It cuts down the time and gets the stress release that I need. I don’t get to yoga as much as I should – but I am working on that currently.
My family and friends are so important to me and I like making my Mother proud – she is my biggest fan by far and I wouldn’t be who I am without my parents influence and the values that they installed in me.
So no, I don’t rest much, or get much sleep. This does make me a rather direct person sometimes. But I love what I do and get a buzz every single day from clients getting where they want to be and my team loving what they do.