After one runner reached the finish line in his athletic career, he began a new journey as a finance broker.
For Sean Wroe, who was an international track and field runner for more than a decade, it was the competitive side of finance broking that drew him into what he now considers the “perfect profession” for him.
“Broking is very competitive but there’s also a great sense of achievement when you help a client get the best possible deal,” he said.
“To me that’s just like winning in an athletics event or achieving a personal best.”
The two-time Commonwealth Games gold medallist, who competed in the 2008 Beijing Olympics, had to withdraw from representing Australia at the 2012 Olympics in London due to appendicitis.
It was around this time that he started thinking more about his career after athletics.
Mr Wroe landed a store manager position in 2013 for Japanese retailer UNIQLO, working for the company in Tokyo and Singapore. He was also part of the team that introduced UNIQLO to Australia.
But he realised through his role at the retailer that he was supporting someone else’s dream.
After discussions with his friend Andrew Morello, the head of business development at Yellow Brick Road and the first season winner of the Australian Apprentice, Mr Wroe decided that a career in broking would be worth pursuing.
In 2017, he launched his Melbourne-based business Sakura Finance, the name of which is a tribute to his Japanese heritage.
“Sakura is Japanese for cherry blossom, but if you break the word sakura down, Saku means blossom and Ra means good, virtuous, and respectable,” Mr Wroe said.
“Japan is close to my heart as my mother Miyuki is Japanese.”
The athlete-turned-broker, who studied finance and Japanese at Swinburne University, said he received guidance from long-time Loan Market broker Ben Marsden.
“With Ben Marsden’s guidance, Sakura Finance has been very successful for me,” Mr Wroe said.
“While I am based in Melbourne, I have clients all over the country. I am mostly writing home loans, mainly for first time buyers, but also asset and commercial finance as well as personal loans.”
He noted the similarities between running a small business and being an elite runner, saying that “you have to manage a lot of your own affairs such as securing sponsorship and your race program”.
“The determination and discipline harnessed during my athletics career is now helping me to build Sakura Finance,” Mr Wroe added.
The Sakura Finance founder said he takes “great pride in” helping others enter the property market, noting that this was something he was determined to do himself. He purchased his first investment property in Richmond, Melbourne when he was a professional athlete.
“Now I am a broker, I am able to help people achieve their property dreams,” Mr Wroe said.
[Related: What it’s like to be a broker in Tasmania]
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