Ōmokoroa Country Estate already feels like home for our new Sales Manager, Karen Matheson.
“My passion is sales and looking after people. This is more than a job for me. It’s something I care deeply about, and working in a retirement village is what I’m meant to do in life.”
The former UK resident previously worked at Carmel Country Estate Retirement Village in Ohauiti and left just before COVID first hit. “I miss working in a village, I miss being surrounded by residents and helping people make those important decisions about their future. When I heard about this position, I felt it was meant to be.”
Karen says people seldom want to leave their family home, so she strives to make the transition as seamless and enjoyable as possible. “I love holding people’s hand and walking them through the process to make sure they have a thorough understanding of what’s involved and the different emotions they’ll likely encounter. I really like to get to know people properly so I can find exactly the right home for them. I never put pressure on anyone, and I believe existing residents are always the best advocates for village life.”
Karen will spend the next month working alongside Emma to learn the finer details of how OCE operates. While Emma will be sorely missed, Karen is the perfect person to take the reigns and has an extensive background in sales and working with retirees.
“For the past six months I’ve worked as an administrator at Acacia Park Home & Hospital just up the road. I’ve also previously worked as a real estate agent, specialising in seniors selling their family homes to move into retirement villages. So I have a complete understanding of all the practical concerns and issues that people face when moving through this stage of life.”
Karen grew up in Warwickshire in the UK’s Midlands and immigrated to New Zealand in 2014 to be with her Kiwi husband, Bruce. “I left everything and everyone behind. It’s not something I ever thought I’d do, but if you don’t try you don’t know! And I didn’t want to live with regret.”
In the UK she worked in banking initially before becoming a corporate business consultant for Jaguar. “I used to take all prospective buyers for a tour of the Jaguar factory and if I timed it right, they could actually see their car going through production.”
She later put her sales skills to great use running her own garden building company where she designed bespoke high-quality wooden sheds and summer houses. “I’ve always loved sales and showing people the quality of something. I was the only garden company that had the Guild of Master Craftsman acknowledgment.”
Karen admits she’s fastidious about presentation and has put a great deal of effort into running a traditional bed and breakfast from her Whakamarama home in recent years. “I like to garden and I love the land. We have a couple of acres plus three alpacas, chickens, a cat and three dogs. I like to throw myself into things 100 per cent.”
Back in the UK, Karen has two adult children and a 15 month-old granddaughter, Evamae, who she regularly talks to. “She waves to Nana and tries to kiss the iPhone and feed me blueberries through the screen,” she laughs. “She recently received her buzzy bee and easter bunny gift from me, so that was a real hit.”
We know OCE residents will make Karen very welcome so keep an eye out for her in the coming weeks. The good news is she drinks both tea and coffee and is always keen for a cuppa and a chat!