Leigh Metcalf heads RPA Property Administrators and shares her personal journey of three decades in the property industry
With bright, green eyes and a can-do attitude, Leigh Metcalf arrived for her interview at Rabie Property Group (Rabie) in August 1991. Now, thirty years later, it’s those same bright eyes – now with a lot of wisdom behind them – and attitude that has secured Leigh in her position at the head of a successful property management company.
HOW LEIGH GOT STARTED
“I will always remember the day Leigh arrived for her interview,” says John Chapman, director at Rabie. “She looked very neat in a pencil skirt and blazer, but it was her personality that sold it for us. We knew from the start she was different. However, this became apparent when she diffused difficult clients and situations with her unique humour and easy-going nature. Her confidence was evident from the beginning and has rewarded her well throughout the years.”
Leigh was born in Bloemfontein and her parents moved to Cape Town when she was a baby. At age eight they moved to Johannesburg and eight years later to the UK. Here, she completed high school and started her property career at an estate agency. In 1990 they returned to Cape Town where Leigh joined the Rabie team.
THE RPA PROPERTY ADMINISTRATORS JOURNEY
“We have been managing properties since 1995. For 26 years we have been problem solving and managing a variety of property types. Rabie Property Administrators was formed as a department within Rabie, managing its in-house properties,” says Leigh. “The portfolio grew quickly and a separate company was registered in 1998 as we acquired third-party clients and started managing sectional title properties. As a result, we established a body corporate department.”
“In early 2019 the time arrived to spread our wings and we changed our company name from Rabie Property Administrators to RPA Property Administrators. This was to create a standalone brand and to distinguish ourselves as a separate entity in the marketplace, although we still remain affiliated with Rabie.”
After holding the position of portfolio manager, Leigh was appointed a director of the company in 2002. Today, RPA manages an R8bn portfolio and manages more than 30 sectional title schemes, which includes both commercial and residential properties. “One of our core principles is to not overload our portfolio managers,” says Leigh. “We have a flat management structure which allows our portfolio managers the responsibility of the full management of their properties.”
THE RPA PROPERTY ADMINISTRATORS TEAM
RPA Property Administrators’ back-office team covers financial, administrative and utilities management. “Our management works alongside the various teams to ensure excellence on all levels. We offer our clients a full management package. This includes physical management of the property, management and operational reporting. We also offer additional services in terms of special projects such as project management, painting and decorating.”
Leigh was mentored by Chapman and Leon Cohen, CEO of Rabie. “It has been my privilege to learn from these gentlemen who lead from the heart,” says Leigh. “Remaining humble is a key element to great leadership, as is leading by example”.
Cohen remembers the most significant attributes Leigh displayed from the beginning. “It’s Leigh’s leadership, integrity and ability to get along with a variety of people across the board that makes her a true asset to Rabie.”
After 30 years, Leigh is still enthusiastic about her career with RPA, because “Every morning when I wake up, I look forward to coming to work. I love my job!”
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