Mentor transforms broker’s business journey

Could your brokerage survive if your senior group left?

Mentor transforms broker’s business journey


By Ryan Johnson

A brokerage who enlisted the help of a prominent broker and industry thought leader explains how her mentor changed the course of her business journey.

For Alissa Childs (pictured above left), starting her brokerage Two Birds One Loan with her long-term friend Elouise Dooley in 2018 was a dream come true.

The experienced pair went from strength to strength in the first couple of years, steadily growing their brokerage and loan book across the residential, commercial, and asset finance space.

Year three started with a new phase of growth for the blossoming business but, as good things come in threes, both directors and a senior team member fell pregnant weeks apart. 

“We were settling record volumes, and we were both feeling very overwhelmed and stressed,” Childs said. “Our staff all needed training, but we did not have time to do it, so we were throwing things at them with no formal structure, as we were so busy getting the loans through.”

“We were dealing with a lot of the loan processing ourselves which was not good use of our time. We knew we needed help and guidance to manage the growth, sort out the process, and get the team up to speed.”

Searching for help, the pair turned to prominent mentor and finance broker Nancy Youssef (pictured above right).

“From her opening statement, we knew 100% that she was the person we were meant to be working with,” Childs said. 

“Nancy promised that she would solve all our problems, and she was so confident, which we really needed to hear. Although we did not know how she was going to pull us through that time, she delivered on this promise tenfold.”


For her part, Youssef’s own journey has been one of twists and turns.

After establishing her brokerage, Classic Finance Group in 2003, Youssef grew her side hustle of teaching Cert IV and Diploma courses to mortgage brokers for many years (whilst broking) before taking this into a fully-fledged career that would take her to the heights of philanthropy and mentorship.

Wanting to give back after the GFC, Youssef established Classic Mentoring initially aiming to mentor 10 brokers yearly.

“However, over the last nine years, I have successfully mentored nearly 200 brokers, helping them transition from startups to award-winning professionals,” Youssef said.

Youssef’s sweet spot is with experienced business owners, helping them establish foundational structures, processes, and governance they lacked due to reactive business growth.

In 2022, one of these business owners happened to be Childs.

“Alissa and Elouise, who are both business partners, approached me 11 months ago feeling drained, lacking clarity, and facing challenges in their brokerage,” Youssef said. “Four years into their broker journey, they lacked a growth strategy, felt overwhelmed, and were uncertain about moving forward.”

Are you a technician or a business owner?

When the business partners first met Youssef, Childs said they felt “hopeful but deflated”. The message was that they had to go back to basics.

“Starting with mindset and belief system changes, we worked on addressing their control concerns and redirecting their focus to effective management and leadership,” Youssef said.

“Brokers often act as technicians and not as business owners. So, it’s all about addressing, what’s your why? Why are we even here? And start formulating small, bite-sized goals towards a direction and business plan.”

The two directors were impressed.

“All her learnings, she shared with us, and every single monthly session since, we have walked in thinking, what more could she possibly do for us as we have now come so far since our first meeting. Yet, every session, she has more gold to share,” Childs said.

Specifically, Childs said one thing Youssef had taught them to do was to delegate and manage time more effectively, building systems that effectively manage the stressors that come with being a business owner and dealing with fast-paced transactions and deadlines.

“We are the face of the business, and we took a lot on emotionally through those early years when we were managing stressful transactions to do with situations that were outside of our control. Things such as lender SLAs and having clients purchasing properties without approvals in place for example – we would let these circumstances affect us,” Childs said. 

“Nancy has helped us optimise our time, which helped the team get up to speed, and manage much more of the tracking and process without our involvement.

“When these things are outside of our control, or we have clients who come to us for help with stressful situations, we work very hard to help them but also, we now have the strength, experience and resilience with stress management to effectively look after these transactions without allowing them to affect our mental wellbeing.”

Youssef said she was proud of all of that Two Birds One Loan had achieved.

“They’re just firing now and what worked was them coming in each month and being held accountable.”

Improving weaknesses to amplify strengths

While their mentor may have helped address their weaknesses, Childs said it was just as important to not change what they were doing right.

“We have built our entire business from the ground, through building and nurturing client relationships. That is a part of our journey that has never faltered from day one,” she said.

“Our customers have been our number one priority, and we pride ourselves on understanding their needs and providing solutions that are well researched and facilities that are structured properly, and in the best interests of the clients.”

Childs said this was the reason they were recognised as one of the Australian Broker’s Fast Growing Brokerages in 2022 doubling year-on-year, and they didn’t need any mentorship in that space.

“We needed the mentor to help us manage the volume of clients we attract because of our strong reputation. What our mentor has really helped us with is business and people management. We feel like we have really levelled up in this space,” Childs said.

Childs said that since both her and Dooley came from corporate roles and had not managed people before, they had never had to implement processes and set up training manuals and schedules.

“Now that we are managing our time more effectively, we are not feeling stressed, we have found ourselves having time to work on networking, business growth strategies and media opportunities, all of which we would never have been able to make time for if we did not start working with Nancy.”

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