Seemingly born with a profound drive for success and sound corporate mind, Tim Gurner has been following his inner entrepreneurial spirit since he was just 19 years old.
Armed with a A$140,000 loan from NAB, the young businessman bought a gym – making his first dive into business one of the bravest, yet most terrifying, moments of his life.
"I worked around the clock to get my personal trainer accreditation whilst also running the business," Tim tells The CEO Magazine. "The loan drove me to work tirelessly 24 hours a day until I could pay it off. There was no way I was going to fail."
After three years of dedication, the entrepreneur sold the gym to a competitor so he could pursue real estate – but it didn’t come easily.
"I knocked on the door of every real estate company in Melbourne until Tony Pride gave me my first lucky break," he shares. "After that journey, I approached an incredible man – Morry Schwartz AM – as I thought he was doing great things in branding and property."
It was this meeting with the esteemed Australian developer that set Tim on the path to success in the property industry.
"I was just 24 years old with next to no experience in the industry, convincing Morry to hire me," Tim reflects. "I offered to work for free just to get my foot in the door.
"He must have seen something in me. I walked out of his office with a job and within two years I was a director and held a 30 per cent stake in the business.
"Within one week of working with him, Morry had changed my life."
From teaching him how to market, sell and the importance of branding, Morry became a mentor to the budding businessman.
"He gave me the confidence to be my best and take on the world," Tim says.
And that he has. When Tim turned 30, he founded GURNER – a luxury developer creating design-led residences that offer elegant architecture and a timeless appeal.
Currently responsible for 19 buildings and more than 5,700 apartments under development across Victoria, New South Wales and Queensland, GURNER’s portfolio boasts a value of more than A$3.8 billion.
"The loan drove me to work tirelessly 24 hours a day until I could pay it off. There was no way I was going to fail." – Tim Gurner
Synonymous with ultra-high-end luxury, Tim’s tenacity has driven continual expansion of the business, which has become a household name across development, property management, wellness, hotels, retail and build-to-rent industries.
Looking back on his green career, the Founder – who has been named on the Australian Financial Review’s Young Rich List several times – believes his leadership style is "tough but fair".
"I started out as a very hungry and aggressive entrepreneur and may have put people off during my ‘build up’ phase," Tim says. "I was immature and felt that success came by pushing hard and aggressively.
"In hindsight, it works, but the stress caused to myself and others was unnecessary."
And for a first in the Awards’ 10-year history, three leading Australian CEOs will be recognised in 2021.
"There has been so much uncertainty in the last 12 months, with so many people feeling as though they don’t know where their place in the world is," Tim explains. "Awards like this help to hero and celebrate the incredible talent we have in corporate Australia, which is now more important than ever as we look to rebuild our strong economy."
Are you Australia’s top CEO? Perhaps you’re the best Real Estate Executive of the Year? Apply for the 2021 Executive of the Year Awards today.