Born in Mareeba in 1956, Katie Page-Harvey was first schooled in St George in South-West Queensland before later attending Brisbane State High School which was to be a life-shaping experience.
State High fostered her confidence and ambition, instilling in her a belief that she could do anything: as history has shown, that belief never left her.
As it was not open to women at the time to become a surveyor, Katie’s then career choice, with steely and characteristic resolve, she left for Sydney. At the age of 26, she joined Gerry Harvey at his only store with an open brief to contribute her skills to the growth of the business. Within five years, Katie had been appointed to the Board and had taken control of the furniture division while overseeing new store fit-outs.
If there’s a defining characteristic that underpins Katie’s success and that of Harvey Norman, it’s the feel for retail. As she says: “Retailing is an innate skill – you don’t learn it at school – you can either sell or you can’t – it’s as simple as that. It’s in my blood as it is with Gerry.”
In less than 40 years, Harvey Norman has grown more than 100 times from a single store with annual turnover of $3 million into an integrated retail, franchise, property and digital business. Today, operating in 8 countries with close to 300 stores, around 540 franchisees, the business turns over nearly $8.5 billion and generates close to $1 billion in earnings. Katie’s contribution as the long-term CEO to this growth and success is truly remarkable. Her widely acknowledged talents for trend spotting and trend setting have been pivotal factors as has her vision and tenacity in developing the offshore operations which now contribute nearly one quarter of the company’s profits. Katie has also built the Magic Millions into a world class thoroughbred sales company, in the process significantly boosting the Gold Coast’s tourism and international reputation.
She has been an inspirational contributor to the development and growth of women’s sport in Australia and been a generous contributor to the Australian community. As a female leader, Katie Page-Harvey is an extraordinary trail blazer. True to her Queensland country roots, Katie keeps her feet firmly on the ground, in Queensland as often as possible, and attributes this to knowing what the customer and the community wants.