The face of the New Zealand property industry is changing as more women are drawn to the industry and taking on key leadership roles. I sat down with TwentyTwo’s Steffi McKeown to learn about her journey into property and why she loves it, TwentyTwo Director - David Lambie who has been working in the industry for over 25 years and Property Council Auckland Branch Manager - Tasch Dodson to learn more about their growing Women in Property network.
Steffi stumbled into the property industry almost five years ago. She had just finished a very interesting degree in Human Geography and Anthropology and was looking to move to Auckland and start an exciting career – but in what?
Steffi was snapped up by a large scale international property agency in Auckland in a Business Support role - drawing up agreements to lease, property marketing, events etc. She loved the sound of this ‘Property’ world, but to be honest knew very little about it.
A year later a role came up in their Tenant Representation Team and she got her Real Estate Authority (REA) License.
Today you’ll find Steffi as a key part of TwentyTwo’s Auckland team.
“In all honesty, I had never heard of commercial property advisory until I worked in the industry, says Steffi.
“What I love about it is - it's relevant. Every organisation has some sort of interest in property and it's fascinating to work alongside such a variety of clients - from large scale 1000+ staff, to smaller start-ups, education providers, science research centres, the list is endless.
“The impact property can have on an organisation’s wider business strategy and future planning is really fascinating and exciting to be part of.
“It's also a great time to be working in Auckland. There are so many changes happening, with the urban renewal of Britomart, Wynyard Quarter and Commercial Bay coming online in a years' time.
“In the short time I’ve been in the industry it feels like the role of a commercial property professional has become more sophisticated and business leaders are seeking the advice of a property partner to not only inform their immediate property needs, but their wider business objectives and how property can help support them.
“The team at TwentyTwo have shown me how to think ‘bigger’ about the impact of property. The breadth of the teams knowledge, insights and business thinking makes my brain ‘sing’.”
While the commercial property sector might traditionally have been a male-dominated industry, today there is a lot of females doing some fantastic work in the space. The Property Council has recently appointed its first female CEO - Leonie Freeman and Industry groups like Property Council - Women in Property are a sign of changing times.
Property Council, Women in Property event series hosted over 700 attendees in Auckland alone throughout 2018, with this number expected to grow as they expand their diversity and inclusion initiatives in the coming 12 months.
In August 2018, Property Council established an inaugural Diversity Committee, a group of 16 property leaders who are committed to creating change and making the property industry a more inclusive place to work. “Improving diversity across our industry will have many long-term benefits and many individual members are making significant progress in this area. Members can expect several initiatives to launch in 2019, from increased diversity at events, to research projects on the topic and a push for greater workplace inclusion and equality by some of our industry’s leaders,” says Property Council, Auckland Branch Manager, Tasch Dodson.
TwentyTwo Director, David Lambie is excited about the shift he is seeing in the property sector, “having a diverse workforce creates diversity of thought, which in turn leads to better innovation, a better service, greater connectivity with our clients and increased professionalism of the industry.”
As for the future, Steffi is not only looking forward to building her own career in property, but also advocating for the industry and getting more people excited about joining it. “I feel pretty fortunate to have discovered such a diverse and interesting industry so early in my career. It seems to me that there are a host of opportunities in the sector, so my recommendation to anyone is, take a good look at property – there's more to it than you may think!"