Georgia is a Development Professional working in our Retirement Living team in Melbourne. She joined Stockland in 2014 as an undergraduate Ervin Graf Scholar.
I joined as a scholar during my last year of Property Economics at UTS (University of Technology Sydney). My program involved six rotations across the business including Sustainability, Residential Development, Commercial Property, Retirement Living, Capital Transactions and Research.
I then spent two and a half years working on Cardinal Freeman, a large retirement living brownfield development in Ashfield, Sydney. I then asked if I could relocate to Melbourne and have spent the last year working on four developments across Victoria.
It’s been an amazing opportunity for me. You change so much as a person in your early 20’s, especially working in a corporate environment. I have had some amazing managers who have invested a lot in my development, both personally and professionally.
I heard about the Ervin Graf Scholarship in my first year of uni. It sounded perfect and I knew I wanted to apply straight away. I also knew it was really competitive so I got as much work experience as I possibly could but still had to wait three years until my final year to apply. Stockland has a really good reputation and so does the program. The fact that you get to experience a variety of assets and high quality developments means that the program is an incredibly valuable experience.
My experience on Cardinal Freeman was a definite highlight. As with any development, the first stage of work caused some noise and dust for residents. We consulted with them about the situation. For me that was very personal and I really threw myself into it. I spent time hosting events, sitting in people’s homes with their family and really listening to their experiences. On the development side of the project, we put a lot of planning and effort into managing the schedule of works to minimise the impact on residents. On the social impact side, we gave a lot of thought to activities for incoming residents to highlight to benefits of having new faces and more people for existing residents. Seeing the new residents move in made it all worth it. When we finished the clubhouse, both new and existing residents were thrilled and genuinely surprised with the high quality of the new facilities.
Another highlight has been my managers – they have been amazing. They’ve given me so much more than work guidance and have really invested in me both personally and professionally. Everything from moving out of home, buying my own home, relationships – they’ve really helped me grow. Our Managing Director and CEO Mark Steinert interviews all of the scholars, so it’s very personal from the top down.
I’ve had so many opportunities and so much support at Stockland. Being accepted into the scholarship in the first place and then all of the rotations were a fantastic experience for me. It really has been the dream job. The cherry on top was working on Cardinal Freeman, one of the best projects in the Retirement Living portfolio. Now Stockland have supported me in relocating to Melbourne and starting my MBA at Melbourne Business School.
Flexibility is a key reason that I work for Stockland. With my current MBA studies, flexible work means I can complete my work and have time to study and go to class. Because I have this additional commitment, I find that I work more efficiently and that I can get more done in my core hours. The technology that's available allows me to work anywhere and be contactable whenever needed.
Early on I identified that I needed to improve my confidence in public speaking so I became one of the founding Toastmasters members in the Sydney office. This combined with another communication course to drastically improve my communication skills. I also did the internal Springboard course which was a great program to help me think about my networks and put a career plan in place.
Doing my MBA has been directly applicable and every day I feel I can make a larger contribution at Stockland as a result. I’m currently studying Marketing and Data Analysis and that led me to review the marketing strategies for my projects, giving me further insight into our pricing and positioning in market and where we might improve our product offering. It’s very satisfying to be developing skills and then immediately applying them at work in a valuable way.
I see the importance of our purpose very clearly when I think about our retirement living residents, especially when I hear about older people living alone and being lonely or having no one notice if something happens to them. When I think about the residents in our Retirement Living villages, there are always people around and residents look out for each other, they care about their community. I think what we create is really important for our society as a whole.
I’m really excited about the projects we have in the pipeline and taking the lessons we learned at Cardinal Freeman and using them to make our villages even better. Retirement Living is moving more towards inner city, apartment living and more single people living in the city. That’s how people want to live and that’s what we’re doing, creating spaces that are close to amenity for older people to enjoy.
I'm proud of the relationships I formed with the residents at Cardinal Freeman. I knew them all by name, spent time with their families, and took them out on activities. I personally sent letters, wrote newsletters and gave regular presentations to keep the residents informed. I think we really showed how much we care and how much I personally care about the customer experience.
In 2017 I was nominated by Stockland for the ‘Future Retirement Living Leader Award’ from the Property Council of Australia and was delighted to be the runner up. To be nominated by Stockland I felt incredibly proud and grateful for all the team’s hard work to be recognised.