Faith in the system

Elizabeth Porter is a licensed conveyancer and director of Porter Veritas Conveyancing, which offers expert contract advice for purchasers, and contract preparation and advice for vendors.

A career in conveyancing law was a seed planted when Elizabeth was studying at Saint Francis Xavier’s College, Hamilton, where she completed Legal Studies in Years 11 and 12.
With a policeman as a father, it is fair to say Elizabeth’s respect for the law was ingrained from a young age.

A genuine success story, Elizabeth has worked and resided in Lake Macquarie for more than 15 years, with Newcastle and Port Stephens also being called home. Passionate about conveyancing law, Elizabeth believes it is paramount to provide a truthful, ethical, respectful and professional service equally to her clients and colleagues.

 

  1. What Catholic school/s did you attend? Do you know why your parents chose a Catholic education for you?

I attended a local public school from Kindergarten to Year 6 (1985-1991).  My parents enrolled me at San Clemente High School in Mayfield for Years 7–10 (1992-1995) and then Saint Francis Xavier’s College (SFX) in Hamilton for Years 11 and 12 (1996-1997).

From a young age I had attended and enjoyed our local church’s Sunday School program and later, Sunday services.  Christmas and Easter were always celebrated by attending a Service.

My parents, now in their early 70s, say they chose a Catholic education for me because they  wanted to ensure I was learning and maturing in a safe and nurturing environment while at the same time focusing on academia and preparing me for higher education and life thereafter.

 

  1. What are your fondest memories from your schooling years?

I really enjoyed Year 10 at San Clemente and Year 12 at SFX the most.  Year 10 at San Clemente cemented friendships and I felt confident, supported and accepted during what could have been a difficult time in a teenager’s life.  Similarly, I graduated from SFX knowing who I was as a young adult. I felt confident to enter the workforce and started to make plans for my future; I knew what I wanted out of my life. 

Both schools held memorable retreats and leadership camps, which reinforced the framework for confidence, resilience and teamwork that made me feel a part of a supportive and loving community.

 

  1. Has your Catholic education been of benefit in starting up and/or running your business?

Catholic education, together with the support of my family, has been the framework of the confidence, encouragement, resilience, and belief required to start up and run my business.  It wasn’t until I was invited to take part in this interview that I realised how much Catholic education, especially the Marist Charism traditions instilled at SFX, prepared me to be a future entrepreneur. 

In summary, the traditions taught me to:

 .              be present and undistracted, and to communicate respectfully

 .              be empathetic

 .              be accepting and to value and respect others

 .              forgive and to reconcile

 .              lead by example.

 

  1. What drew you to work in the legal industry?

My father was a detective sergeant in the NSW Police, and I was very proud of the service he provided to the community for so many years.  My father’s occupation fortified my sound respect for the law from a young age. 

My interest in the Australian legal system was incited after electing Legal Studies and General Studies at SFX.  After leaving Year 12 I was fortunate enough to be mentored by lawyers in national law firms and conveyancing practices.  Criminal law would have been an obvious choice; however, I developed a preference for contract law, especially conveyancing law and practice.

 

  1. You have achieved great entrepreneurial success. What goals have you set?

My No 1 goal is to be happy within myself and within my family.

Ideally, my business goals are to run a profitable business, be constantly evolving, maintain employee retention, discover new ways in which to do business more efficiently and grow my business at a rate I can comfortably maintain.

 

  1. Any advice for people starting out in the legal industry or budding entrepreneurs?

Both the legal industry and being an entrepreneur (or a combination of the two), require constant prudent planning and determination.  Realistically though, there’s no issue that can’t be overcome.  Here are some tips I’ve learnt along the way.

 .              Listen and learn from those willing to help, and be appreciative.

 .              Remember that experience takes time. 

 .              Have empathy.

 .              Treat everybody with the same level of respect.  We are all human beings with jobs to do to make the world go ’round.

 .              Admit when you are wrong.

 .              Learn and use people’s names.

 .              Seek help if you need it.  Don’t pretend you are OK or that you understand. 

 

  1. Is faith a part of your life? If yes, how has it helped?

Faith has been and will continue to be an essential part of my life.  I have many times prayed to God, whether it be work-related or to do with personal matters, asking for help, guidance and forgiveness.  Having faith continues to give me the confidence to move forward and to accept what we cannot change ourselves.

I feel having faith is important because it can affect decisions, the way we treat others and the way we can react to difficult situations. 

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Brittany Gonzalez

Brittany Gonzalez is Communications Co-ordinator in the Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle.

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