Rishi joined Stockland in 2013 and is a Commercial Manager in our Finance team.
I started 5 years ago at Stockland as a Senior Analyst for Portfolio and Planning which was then a new team within finance. It encompassed Commercial Property and Communities, including decision-making for areas such as acquisitions and disposals, capital transactions, equity, share buyback, DRP distributions and the commercial assessment of key investments decisions.
I have grown a lot within my role from where I started as a senior analyst before becoming a finance manager, then a senior finance manager, and now promoted to a senior manager position within a different team. The journey from a career perspective has been quite rewarding. I have faced a number of challenges along the way which is important for your growth and career progression. I gained lots of new skills which I did not have, or ever thought I would have the chance to develop. I feel I have improved myself and have grown and developed into more of a leader.
For me personally, there have been lot of highlights with different mentors I’ve had from senior leaders to new graduates; I have learned from every one of them. This is a real highlight for me. Stockland as a company has been very supportive of me. One of the best things about Stockland is our focus on diversity and inclusion, which makes you feel a part of everything. My leaders and team have supported me and made me feel accepted for who I am.
Another highlight was when one of my managers arranged for me to attend a leadership course with INSEAD University in Singapore for a week. My manager saw the potential in me and had the trust in me that I would grasp the course and get some value from it. This was a ‘game-changer’ for me. I really learnt a lot and have applied that in my current role.
Stockland has lots of advantages for people in finance. From a technical aspect, we’re a diversified company so that’s quite interesting for a finance professional as you get to understand diversified investments. From the non- technical perspective, there is lots of scope for learning and using your skill set over the long term. We also emphasise 'people skills' in finance so it’s about more than numbers and commercial acumen.
Flexibility for me is quite flexible! As a company, Stockland role-models the flexible work culture where there is a true balance of work and life. We have our ‘One Simple Thing’ program, which allows each of us to manage our individual circumstances and life commitments alongside work commitments. Some employees have to leave at a certain time to get their kids from day care, some have to start late as they have to do school drop offs, some like to take their lunch break to go to the gym.
For me it really varies. I like to have a late start in the middle of the week so that I can finish off the admin and home tasks so that my weekends are free. Sometimes I take part in boot camps or go for a run during the workday and it really helps to come back recharged to finish the rest of the day’s work. Flexibility for me is different, just as it means different things to different people.
At Stockland we’re encouraged and given a platform for innovation and finding different ways of improving things, and that culture comes from the top. We have an ExCo member who covers innovation and information technology which really highlights the importance of innovation for us.
You cannot have innovation without encouraging diverse thoughts. The Green Bond is a good example of diverse thought driving innovation, where we raised capital to invest in sustainability initiatives across the portfolio, and we were one of the first Australian organisations to launch a Green Bond. Stockland encourages diversity of not just the people and their backgrounds but also diversity of thinking and ideas.
For me, the most recent contribution I'm proud of is raising funds for the Stockland CARE Foundation and the Foundation’s partner, Touched by Olivia, which creates places where all kids can play regardless of their ability. It feels good knowing that you work for an organisation that actively contribute to causes like this.
My personal contribution is to participate in all of the CARE Foundation events. Recently we raised $450 from me wearing a chicken costume! It was embarrassing but it was all for a good cause. While we’re a property company and have to deliver for our securityholders, we’re also a part of the broader community in Australia. We are here to make a difference in the community and this has been our purpose since the beginning.