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Women at Work: Nola Debney

Molly McLaughlin

While being a real estate agent and a marriage and civil union celebrant may seem like an unlikely combination, for Nola Debney, it is an obvious match.

Nola is a self-confessed people person and both careers allow her to interact with people at pivotal moments of their lives, which means there is never a dull moment for Nola. She has worked in real estate for over 20 years but began working as a marriage and civil union celebrant later in life.

“It is all about people,” Nola says. “I can be part of a very significant time in their lives. Getting married and buying a house are both huge things for anyone, and being part of either of these experiences is just fantastic. There can be a lot of anxiety initially, but ultimately it all leads to a very happy outcome.”

Nola lives and works in Canberra but also performs ceremonies in gorgeous locations on the South Coast and around the ACT. Her real estate career is her main focus, but her weekends and evenings are dedicated to making other people’s special day memorable. Interestingly, her two careers can sometimes even overlap.

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“I often get to enjoy their lives after buying the house. I get to see the changes that they make and the gardens they create,” she explains. “Sometimes the wedding comes first, then the house purchase and then the babies, all of which I get to be part of.”

Of course balancing two jobs along with spending time with her family and her grandchildren has its challenges, but Nola is unfailingly positive and believes it all comes down to time management.

“I think when you enjoy what you do it is not a challenge, but a pleasure,” she says. “Real estate is a job that requires a lot of time, and it is not always easy to plan your day because circumstances change. However weddings are much more structured, you normally have plenty of time to prepare for the ceremony, as couples will book their wedding 12 months in advance. This enables you to work with them to get everything perfect before the big day. As long as it doesn’t rain!” she laughs.

Hearing Nola describe her work, it is easy to see how working in two careers filled with excitement, love and hope can be so rewarding.

“The repeat business, the smiles, the tears, all that,” she says. “Inspiration came from the pleasure of being in a position to share a meaningful experience with a couple, the joy and happiness that they experience. It is just lovely to be a part of that time in their lives, being able to help create the ceremony, putting their feelings into words.”

Nola is proud member of the Canberra Women in Business Network. Canberra Women in Business connects likeminded businesswomen so they can develop strong working relationships that will fosters the growth of successful businesses through support, referrals, mentoring and friendship.

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Their events focus on creating a welcoming place where networking is fun, a light-hearted and interactive.

To find out more about Canberra Women in Business visit: cwb.org.au

To find out more about Nola real estate work click here and for information about her celebrant services, click here

All images by Martin Ollman

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Molly McLaughlin

Molly McLaughlin is new to Canberra and is attempting to prove to her friends that the capital city can be cool. This mostly involves frequently going out for brunch and then posting about it on social media, along with trekking up hills and around art galleries. She is half way through her uni degree but spends most of her time reading, writing and planning her next adventure. More about the Author

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