Pennie is Stockland's Group Risk Officer who joined Stockland over a decade ago.
I started at Stockland 13 years ago as a senior analyst in funds management, then I progressed into Commercial Property working in the joint ventures transactions team. I moved into joint venture operations management role and then became a lead in asset management. From there I went on to manage our office and industrial portfolio (now Workplace and Logistics). I worked on reviewing our aged care strategy before becoming the head of operations and management for Retirement Living. Once I returned from maternity leave I became head of risk.
It’s been a very supportive environment throughout my 13 years at Stockland, with genuine opportunities to develop my career and skills as well as move into different parts of the business.
Throughout my journey at Stockland, I had various points where I worked with a really great manager. We had a very positive working relationship, which really helped with my thought process when moving to Office and Industrial, then coming from Commercial Property world and going into Retirement Living. If you asked ten people about this move they might hesitate to move into unfamiliar territory, but my manager at the time helped me to make decisions to take on my current role in group risk.
A personal highlight was Stockland's acquisition of Point Cook Town Centre (now Stockland Point Cook) in Melbourne, where I was the transaction manager as we acquired this large regional shopping centre. Another was working on the aged care disposal and forming a joint venture with a reputable aged care provider in Opal Aged Care, mainly because the arrangement was the right outcome for our residents. I also enjoy the projects where you collaborate across the business, such as our Brisbane office refurbishment which included people from various business units and locations coming together to work on the outcome. The opportunity to work on something outside of your job scope is actually an amazing experience.
Flexibility for me means knowing that I have the ability to take time out during standard business hours to attend to my personal life, whether it's coming in late or taking some time out during the day. I have two pre-school aged children and life gets busy sometimes in unexpected ways, so I work from home once every fortnight.
As a manager, at a minimum I try to ensure all my team members can work from home on a regular basis and we establish it as a norm for my team. I have a national team and we do lot of video conferencing to connect. All my team members have laptops and many of the senior managers in my team regularly work from home. It does send a strong message to other team members that it is OK to work from home. For example, we have a compliance manager based out of Melbourne where he has his family, he plans a family visit and requests a flexible work arrangement to fit his work around his trip, which is completely fine.
For me, our purpose is about working with our business to build a stronger brand that people trust and that is resilient from a risk and compliance perspective. When we design and build homes, we use our review process and the lessons we learn from customer feedback to make the process better each time. All across the business, people are working together to deliver our strategy and build a strong brand for our customers. It works because of our collaborative culture where people from different business units come together for solving problems and generating ideas.
I'm proud to sit on the flexibility and disability Employee Advocacy Group. As a parent with two young kids, working from home is very important to me. I am open about my flexibility arrangements and I encourage my team to be as well. It's something I am proud of – being a General Manager that works part-time – and it sends a strong message that you can do it all and it’s important to spread the word.
Inclusion to me is about those small things, such as greeting your neighbours in the office when you start your day and saying goodbye when you leave. In my team we have a monthly group risk meeting where everyone conferences in, and we have a quarterly group risk day with the chair and agenda is on a rotational basis, so everyone has a chance to host the meeting and coordinate our discussions and get everyone involved.
Inclusion means being open to different perspectives and views, as well as the more obvious differences between people. For example, we were reviewing a risk process that covers specific points in the development lifecycle. We identified opportunities to refine and enhance the process and its use, and it was interesting that our team members had different opinions and ideas to consider a wide range of indicators and metrics beyond the expected risk ones when we discussed the review. This diversity of opinion, and the opportunity to share different perspectives, is another valuable part of inclusion and it’s something that is certainly encouraged at Stockland.