Scentre Group

18 December 2019

Diversity in leadership: new thinking to shape our retail partner experience

At its heart, Scentre Group is about partnerships – between our teams and with our retailers and customers. When we bring together people with different backgrounds and experiences, it leads to fresh ideas and more opportunities to learn – often outside ‘traditional’ pathways.

Recent internal appointments to the Leasing and Retail Solutions team, Alison Flemming and Katie Paull, couldn’t agree more. They share how their own diverse backgrounds have helped them grow, and their plans for their new roles.

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A new perspective in Leasing and Retail Solutions

Scentre Group’s Leasing and Retail Solutions (LARS) team plays a vital part in realising the company’s purpose: creating extraordinary places connecting and enriching communities.

Managing over 11,700 retail partners and delivering more than 3,000 leasing transactions each year, the Retail Administration team is instrumental in creating positive partnerships with retailers throughout the negotiation and transaction process.

The recently united Retail Design and Retail Delivery team provides retail partners with expertise in store design and a positive store opening process – enabling retailers to open their doors faster.

When choosing the people to lead these central teams, director of Leasing and Retail Solutions John Papagiannis decided to take a different approach.

“Rather than only focusing on technical skills or expertise, we need people who bring a different perspective to lead our specialist teams. Fresh ideas and diverse leadership thinking will help us be more efficient and further improve commercial outcomes for our retailers and our business,” he said.

Previously Senior Legal Counsel in Scentre Group’s legal team, Katie Paull now leads the Retail Administration team. While she hadn’t envisaged such a career change, Katie is very excited about joining the team.

“A legal framework is really embedded in Retail Administration, so my background as a lawyer is a good fit for the role. I’m excited to learn from my team and to help identify opportunities to make the lease admin process as straightforward as possible,” she says.

With diverse experience across finance, customer experience and centre management, Alison Flemming will lead the Design and Delivery team.

“I’m looking forward to working with my team so we can be known for providing great experiences - because opening a store should be exciting,” Alison says.

Empowering teams

Alison and Katie’s roles mean they’ll be working together to provide seamless store opening experiences for our retail partners.

Alison brings together Design and Delivery, two teams that worked more independently in the past. She says that dividing retail administration, design and delivery between two leaders enables a stronger focus on the specific needs of each team, while also aligning all three teams to improve the retailer experience through the entire process.

“I’m naturally curious. As a leader, I love working with people who know more about things than I do. My role is to help them perform to the best of their abilities,” she says.

Katie will focus on supporting the Retail Administration team to make decisions quickly and effectively.
“I have a team that is really committed and highly skilled. My focus is on further empowering them and helping to remove any barriers they might face along the way.”

They both recognise that part of their journey is thanks to the wealth of knowledge they’re exposed to at Scentre Group on a daily basis.

“Our people are often recognised as leaders in the industry. Here you’re always surrounded by the best people and assets, which give you great exposure to new perspectives,” Alison says.

Katie agrees. “You sit down at a meeting and you're privy to some amazing strategic thinking and opinions that sets our organisation apart from other businesses. With that comes tremendous opportunity to learn and grow.”

Inclusive, supportive culture is the foundation for growth

Diverse thinking and close partnerships like this aren’t possible without a supportive and nurturing culture that offers plenty of opportunity for growth.

“Our culture gives you the freedom to be who you are and bring your whole self to work – to feel safe to voice your opinion and know it will be received with openness,” Katie says. “I was really fortunate to have the benefit of working with some amazing leaders and mentors from day one. I have always been encouraged to step up, get in front of senior leaders and take on large projects. I was given opportunities to expand my exposure to the business and, as a result, the business’ exposure to me.”

Alison says her growth at the company has been partly thanks to Scentre Group’s focus on the value people bring to the business.

“I’ve been offered new opportunities based on my personality traits and trust, rather than just my technical ability or my experience,” she says. “At Scentre Group, you feel you have the space and freedom to realise your full potential. That comes from accepting that everybody's different and has something unique to bring.”

That’s a cause close to Alison’s heart. She has pursued her passion to empower women in the workplace through her work with Connect, the company’s network that encourages female employees to share their experiences and realise their potential both personally and professionally.

“It’s been the most rewarding thing that I’ve done at Scentre Group,” Alison says. “I’m proud that we’ve made Connect accessible to all our females and we’re now accepting males into our network to include them in solutions around gender issues.”

With years of diverse experience and passion between them, Alison and Katie are excited about diversifying their careers and experiences even further – and creating new opportunities for themselves and their teams.

We acknowledge the Traditional Owners and communities of the lands on which our business operates.
We pay our respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and to their Elders past and present.
We recognise the unique role of Māori as Tangata Whenua of Aotearoa/New Zealand.
Scentre Group

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