Introducing Lucinda Mander-Jones, Senior Development Manager
1. How long have you worked with Investa?
I joined Investa in December 2019 to implement the new Build to Rent Strategy for Oxford and Investa and deliver the Pitt Street South over station development, which once completed will be Sydney CBD’s first Build to Rent Development (Indi – Sydney City).
2. How does Investa support gender equality and challenge bias to create a more inclusive and equitable workplace?
Historically, our industry has been dominated by males however this is slowly changing. At Investa, change comes from the top, we have 40% female representation across our group executive team we’re a WGEA Employer of Choice for Gender Equality (2021-23) and our CEO is a proud member of the Property Champions of Change Coalition.
As a result, we’re seeing this replicated across other levels of the business, for example, at Pitt Street South there’s a good ratio of females in senior and leadership roles across development, project management and construction.
3. Three words that best describe you.
Positive, passionate, and resilient.
Positive – because I always try to see the best in people, passionate – because when I commit to something I put all my heart and soul into it and resilient - because I have great stamina to work though project and life challenges.
4. What were the key factors that influenced your career path?
I have always loved the built environment, design, and history, and in 2000 after a gap year in England and undertaking some initial study at University of Sydney, I undertook a course within the University of Sydney Architectural faculty and have never looked back.
Whether in architecture or development, I have always loved the process of creating something new. Both paths are project-based careers that sees every day with a new challenge.
I’ve been lucky to have come across some great mentors who have helped inspire, advise, and guide me. I feel like they’ve all made a positive impact on the kind of leader I am today.
5. Why did you choose to work in Developments how did you get into your current position?
I have had an interesting career journey leading up to my role at Investa now.
I started my career in architecture specialising in public buildings such as libraries and museums and commercial buildings for Foster + Partners in London (also working within the workplace consultancy team writing briefs and strategy).
In 2010 I returned from London and decided to undertake some additional study which changed my path to development. I was lucky enough to get an opportunity at Stockland, which set me on the path to specialising in medium to high-rise residential development.
Every time I was given an opportunity to try something new, I accepted the challenge, and this ultimately resulted in me returning to London to specialise in Build to Rent in 2015 for Lendlease.
In Late 2018 I returned from London a second time and have since applied my learnings and experience overseas to Australia’s evolving Build to Rent asset class. When an opportunity to deliver Sydney CBD’s first BTR Development for Investa/ Oxford came up, I jumped at the chance.
6. How was Investa helped you to progress your career goals?
They invest in their people; they have been extremely encouraging and supportive of my career aspirations. They’ve provided me with the unique opportunity to work with a leadership coach, which was amazing and has helped me not only to grow as a leader but has taught me skills and techniques that I not only use at work but well into other aspects of my life too.
Investa has also provided me with opportunities to be involved in industry body roundtables which has strengthened my relationships and network with the industry.
7. What are your long-term career aspirations?
Over the next five years I would like to keep evolving my skills to have an active and critical role in delivering our Build to Rent pipeline across Australia. As Investa grows its capacity and expertise in this asset class – my goal is to grow with it and become one of Investa’s Build to Rent executives.
8. Over the course of your career, describe the changes you have seen in gender equality, diversity, and inclusion.
The industry has come a long way with gender equality, diversity, and inclusion – since starting my career I’ve seen positive changes in things like, parental leave, recognition of equal pay and appreciation of work life balance.
There is still more to be done, so we should not lose momentum – breaking the bias is a big one. Whether its ensuring women’s voices are heard, whether they have families and need to work flexibly or when their actions are compared to men – women continue to face gender bias in the workplace.
10. Why do you like working in the property industry?
The Property industry offers me something different every day from considering design, posing strategies, to working through commercial matters. I like being part of an industry that is shaping our cities.
It’s an exciting time to be working on the Build to Rent asset class in Australia – we are at the very beginning of the journey.
Australian developers and policy makers are working through how this new type of class can help deliver the undersupply of housing Australia needs. Being able to play a role in influencing this change, even if it is only a small part, makes me feel proud.
11. What advice would you provide to young women considering a career in real estate?
- Find your work life balance, I wish someone told me this early on in my career. Showing dedication to your work is important but it shouldn’t be at the sacrifice of your family and personal life.
- Don’t be afraid to ask for what you want.
- Have confidence to know your strengths and weaknesses
- Remember when you don’t succeed it’s not a failure, learn from your mistakes.