‘Taking on the Property Industry’ panel discussion challenges perspectives
Included as part of the Property Council of New Zealand, Women in Property is a growing network of women employed by those companies who are members of the Property Council and offers career support and networking opportunities. Women in Property is a platform for information and inspiration to encourage the participation of women in the property industry and to reinforce their key role in the industry and related fields.
The Women in Property initiative provides site tours, motivational speakers and panel discussions throughout Auckland, Waikato, Wellington, Otago and the South Island, and it was at the latter location that the recent Women in Property event, ‘Taking on the Property Industry’ took place with Taylors Architectural Design Manager for the New Zealand office, Kristen Neri, attending and organising the event as a member of the WIP Committee.
“After several events where we had presenters who were outside the property industry and who had a strong message that could help inspire our members and attendees, for this event we decided to try and focus back in on the property industry and have a presentation that was truly property and truly Christchurch.” Ms. Neri said of the networking opportunity held at the Duncan Cotterill office. Described as ‘a very inspirational presentation and panel discussion’, the room was buzzing as members stayed behind to digest the content of the presentation and to grow their networks.
The event heard from three women of different ages and with differing backgrounds within the industry. They each presented their experiences and discussed what challenges the industry and Christchurch are facing nowadays; their key points are below:
• Liz Harris – Christchurch Apartments: Liz had purchased her first property 34 years ago and now has a portfolio of 170 properties which houses 700 people and employs a team of 27. She faced many challenges, especially around the earthquake and repairing and rebuilding her properties. Her message was to trust your instincts, be brave and put yourself out there, and worry about the details of making it happen after.
• Fiona Short – Warren and Mahoney: Fiona discussed the work she is doing with The Diversity Agenda. The Diversity Agenda’s goal is to achieve the goal of 20 percent more women in architecture and engineering by 2021.
• Rebecka Lundgren – Christchurch City Council: Rebecka discussed her journey coming from Sweden to New Zealand and the differences she noticed between the two. One such difference being that from childhood in Sweden there is diversity in school, in sports, and even on the rugby field where she excelled. In Christchurch there is a trend for separate boys’ schools and girls’ schools which extends into adult thinking.
“The overwhelming consensus of the panel of presenters was that they never ‘really faced much challenge being a woman in the property industry as they never felt like women in the property industry’.” Remarked Ms. Neri. “I really found that amazing as it’s something I always felt but it was good to know other successful women felt the same way.”
As the industry and the recognition of women within it continues to change, Taylors will always encourage the diversity of all who are keen to be involved in the property industry.