Helen South, along with husband Ian Graham, 8 cats and 2
dogs, made the mass migration from chilly Canberra to Tamborine Mountain
21 years ago. Helen had known Tamborine for many years and when the opportunity
came to move north in 1981, Tamborine Mountain was chosen as their new
Helen had grown up on a sheep and cattle farm in the Nandewar
Ranges of North-Western NSW and departed for University at Canberra at
the age of 18. Most of the following 17 years were spent in and around
the academic world of ANU. After graduating with majors in English, Geography
and Political Science, Helen became a high school teacher but soon traded
that for tutoring and lecturing in Political Science at various educational
institutions including Royal Military College Duntroon.
While undertaking postgraduate research during the seventies,
Helen sought to supplement her income and somehow fell into selling jewellery
via party plan. After that proved a viable source of supplementary income,
she was recruited into a clothes selling party plan group. During that
period, Helen discovered she had a real talent for selling and, when the
opportunity came to move to Queensland with Ians work, she decided
that her future lay in sales rather than academia.
Just 6 weeks after moving to Tamborine Mountain Helen started
work with a Gold Coast real estate group. She spent 2 years commuting
to the Coast and undertook extensive industry training during that time.
This period reinforced her decision to go into real estate and in late
1983 she obtained a position with a small local agency. After working
in a relatively professional agency at the Coast, Helen found it quite
a shock to be working in a very laid back Mountain style office.
In March 1986 Helen accepted a position with Lane Realty
and at the end of that year she bought into a partnership with the then
owner, Ron Lane. Two years later she purchased the remaining half of the
business . Helen saw no reason to have her name in lights,
but continued with the well known name and much loved smiley logo designed by Ron
when he opened the business in 1983.
After assuming full ownership of the company Helen set
about turning it into a thoroughly modern agency. Helen was fortunate
that Ian is a computer industry professional. First it was just one computer,
then 2 or 3 computers. Today, every desk is equipped with a laptop and
every member of staff has full Internet access. Specialist real estate
computer programmes have been purchased from the USA to maximise the efficiency
and productivity of the staff. Helen started surfing the web in 1994 and
got her own e-mail address in 1995. She had quickly seen the potential
for real estate on the web and set about planning and developing the Lane
Realty site during 1996. Ian put countless hours into translating her
ideas into html and doing all the related web site site development and
promotion. This web site, launched in March 1997, was one of the very
first agency sites in Australia. It received immediate acclamation in
the USA where it is frequently used by highly paid trainers as an example
of effective web site creation.
Helen is the only Australian member of the American Allen
F. Hainge Real Estate CyberStars group and also the only Australian agent
to hold a formal qualification in Internet proficiency. She was chosen
to be one of the first 500 people to undertake the American National Association
of Realtors inaugural on-line e-PRO accreditation course in 2001.
All graduates of that inaugural course are entitled to display the distinctive
e-PRO 500 logo.