Where did you grow up?
I was born in Cape Town, South Africa but emigrated to Sydney at an early age. This wasn’t an easy immigration, coming from a relatively poor country to a wealthy Australia. I saw how hard my mother had to work to gain a foothold and eventually thrive here, it made me appreciate the necessity of a strong work ethic.
I went to school at Glenaeon Rudolf Steiner School in Middle Cove. I’m grateful for the education I received there and how it shaped who I am today. The focus, in my experience, was on developing a well-rounded individual.
I was 11 years old when I decided that I wanted to be in Property. This long-term goal gave me a point of focus to achieve what I needed to get into the Bachelor of Property Economics at UTS.
I deferred the start of my degree in 2015 to travel solo for 301 days. My trip took me back to Cape Town to work in a bespoke furniture factory, all the way up to Iceland, to the UK, across the Mediterranean and Eastern/Western Europe. The cultures and individuals I interacted with during this stage of my life showed me how to work with and relate to people from vastly different backgrounds. These interpersonal skills have been key in bringing me to where I am today.
How did you get to your current job position? For how long have you had it?
I applied for the Stockland Graduate program in the second half of 2018, I was already working with Stockland as the recipient of the Ervin Graf Scholarship for 2018. This undergraduate role gave me industry experience and insight into which graduate stream I wanted to apply for and what to expect. I have been in my current role for 1 year, but with Stockland for 2 years.
How did you choose your specialisation?
University really opened my eyes to all the possibilities within the property industry, so I was unsure of exactly what I wanted to specialise in. My experience as an Ervin Graf Scholar didn’t narrow down my options since I found everything interesting. I had to decide not based on what I didn’t like, but on what I thought had the clearest path to my future goals.
What was your interview process like? What kind of questions were you asked?
There was a round of psychometric testing before a video interview. In the video interview, the questions were quite broad. They related to market movements and knowledge of the company, with some examples of why you would fit with the culture. Then there were two rounds of face to face interviews with senior level managers. The questions were conversational but pointed at getting to know me with specific examples of past performance and personality.
What does your employer do?
Stockland is Australia’s largest diversified Australian Real Estate Invest Trust (AREIT), it owns, operates and develops Residential, Retirement Living, Retail, Workplace and Logistics assets across the Country.
What are your areas of responsibility?
As a Development Graduate, I work with the Communities Business or the Residential and Retirement Living portfolios. Until recently I worked on a major project in the Northwest Growth Corridor. On this project I responsible for a wide range of project items, including managing consultants, delivery of parks, pricing and competitor analysis, estate maintenance, roll out of innovative technology and reporting to the business. I now work with the Business Manager for Communities; in this role I am responsible for reporting on strategic priorities and supporting the Business Manager with preparation of Board Papers, new business and special projects.
Can you describe a typical work day? What was the last thing you worked on?
This is a very dynamic role, so there haven’t been many typical workdays. The last thing I worked on is a paper reporting on a risk to our business. Before that is was building a report to link sales and marketing data to drive better performance in underperforming assets. I usually work from the office, depending on the project, you might be working from site 2 days a week. My current rotation is largely independent work, while my project-based work was more collaborative.
What are the career prospects with your job?
The linear path for a Development Graduate is Development Professional, then Development Manager, Senior Development Manager, Project Director and Regional/General Manager. But property doesn’t lock you into a linear path and Stockland encourages its people to branch out from their standard career path if they have the capability and desire.
Could someone with a different background do your job?
Yes, it would be a difficult learning curb, but I know marketing managers that became development managers.
What would your career be if you weren’t doing what you’re doing now?
If I hadn’t found my passion in property, I would have sought a career in industrial design.
What do you love the most about your job? Which kind of task do you enjoy the most?
I haven’t found a task I didn’t enjoy yet. What I love about this work is that it is dynamic, and every day is what you make of it. You can go from detailed financial forecasting to talking with residents/customers in the same afternoon. I really love driving through a project you helped develop and seeing people live their lives in a place that didn’t exist before.
What’s the biggest limitation of your job? Do you bear a lot of responsibility?
I haven’t found the work to me limiting. You do have a lot of responsibility, but it is manageable. It does mean you have to work on weekends from time to time but the benefits far outweigh the negatives. Stockland cares for its people, they have great benefits like flexible working that help manage stress.