Chat with a Chair:
As part of the Chat
with a Chair series, this month
we spoke to the Chair of the NSW Hotel Property Committee, Drenka Andjelic who
is the Managing Director at Construction Assignments. See below for Drenka’s
thoughts on the property industry, her career and the hotel committee’s
What are the
committee’s priorities for the next 12 months?
Hotel Property Committee’s big priority is the impact of the growing share
economy on hotel investment stakeholders. We have this year worked hard with
lobbying for the regulation and levelling the playing field for accommodation
providers. Traditional and commercial accommodation providers have invested
heavily in real estate, compliance regulations and navigated planning red-tape
to operate in Australia.
are also committed to providing excellent industry events with our February
Hotel Outlook and solid networking opportunities with our smaller member
briefings and new Hotel Spotlight Series.
These events have a nice industry point of difference with hotel
investment stakeholder attendance.
What do you think
are the characteristics of a great committee member?
engaged and open-minded industry stakeholder that’s inclusive is a great start.
I’ve found it helps if they can also think beyond established industry norms. A
commitment to making it fun is a bonus for the enjoyment & effectiveness of
the committee. We need chiefs but it also helps to have motivated doers.
What is the biggest
issue facing the property industry in NSW currently?
I believe the biggest issues are planning certainty and
Planning certainty is a no brainer if we are to attract our fair share of
growth and investment in NSW. We score poorly compared with Australian capital
and global cities. Our planning red tape is significant opportunity lost for
employment, investment, housing affordability and growth.
I have an engineering degree and have worked across property
& construction industries for over 25 years. While we are finally making
some headway into the gender imbalance, I question the pace of change and
question the authenticity of the motivation. We seem to be hard selling
diversity as being good for business. I question why we need a business case
for women to be included and represented in management. Achieving
diversity beyond gender in property also has its challenges based on our low
starting point. I’m jumping off this soapbox without highlighting the
number of white men in top industry’s jobs...or did I just squeeze that
"success" mean to you in terms of your work as a Committee member?
I see success as aligned industry figureheads leveraging our
expertise, networks and reputations to make a positive difference. And, having
fun. Also, capturing opportunities to demonstrate authentic leadership and
serve as positive and accessible role models.
What was your first role within
the property industry and what roles have you had since?
I was a Building Engineer with AMP Property back in the
early 90’s. I job-shared with another engineering student for 6 years with
alternating semesters. I remain grateful for the life-long friends and network
I developed in this role. It’s a network of industry greats that I’m extremely
proud to know. They continue to feed me with inspiration, laughs & project
If you weren’t working in
property, where could you see yourself working?
I’m pretty sure it would be winemaking. Whilst this sounds
like a big departure from property, I’ve always seen it as suitable application
for my technical and creative pursuits and strengths. The marriage of art and
science is appealing along with the rewards that come with producing something
amazing that can be shared with good humans.
Using only one word,
how would you describe the Property Council of Australia?