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Development Manager

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What is your role with Renewal SA?

I am a Development Manager in the delivery area and at the moment am working on the last stage of the Woodville West project, commencing the Seaton project which is being managed on behalf of the SA Housing Authority as well as the new Prospect project which is coming online now. I’ve been with Renewal SA since its inception in 2012.

How did you get started in your field?

I have a background in economics and commerce, and I originally worked in the finance sector. But then I moved across into government through the graduate program and my first position was with the former housing trust department in the Capital Projects delivery area. I was always interested in property, but I hadn’t really fully formed the exact area I wanted to pursue.

Have you had many opportunities to develop your career since moving into property?

When I started as a Project Officer in Capital Projects I was fortunate to work for a Director who had set clear career paths for his team. He wanted a team with a broad range of skills including planners, architects and people with finance backgrounds. It was a very clear and defined career path and he was really focused on anyone who wanted to do additional educational, so he supported me through a Graduate Diploma in Project Management whilst I was working. We were also given a lot of opportunities to act up in other roles and were encouraged to move into other projects to broaden our experience so I feel very lucky to have been in an area with a Director so focused on developing staff. This made me feel valued and I learnt a lot from him over the ten years I worked in that division.

Have you found your industry to be very male dominated and have you experienced any bias because of this?

Yes, but I always felt supported in the internal workplace and have never dealt with discrimination internally. It’s really been more from an external perspective were assumptions have been made, particularly when I was younger, that I was there in a lesser capacity than I was or that if there was a male in the room, they were in charge. It’s something though I see has changed over time and these assumptions are disappearing.

What’s helped you to be successful in your industry?

I think a lot of it is the people side of things and the relationships, Adelaide is a small place so as you get to know people, particularly in the property industry, you’ll come across them in different roles and capacities. I think being professional, respectful, and fair in the way you conduct yourself also goes a long way. You get back what you put out there.

What have you learnt about yourself over the course of your career?

I think it’s my confidence and how this has grown over the years and the longer you’re exposed to different experiences the more confident you become.

What advice would you give to other women who work or would like to work in your industry?

Property is an exciting area and we’re very lucky to work in this field with such a range of experiences. Projects have a diverse lifecycle from the early conceptual stages to the delivery stages where you can see civil works and houses being constructed, right through to the marketing and community events. There’s not a lot of industries that have such a range of experiences as you can have in property. Some advice would be not to get too tied up in the small stuff though, but stick up for what is important and celebrate the wins, the milestones and the improvements.

Would you say covid-19 has had some positive changes on the workplace?

Reflecting on how our organisation handled covid-19 I think it was really positive and they came at it from a very caring perspective about staff wellbeing above anything else that could have been negative. There seemed to be a lot of trust given and you respond to that in a positive way.

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