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Ashleigh Ryan

Chat with a Chair - Future Directions Committee

What are the committee’s priorities for the next 12 months?

Over the next 12 months our focus will be on securing more great speakers, reinvigorating our mentoring program, and reformatting our more intimate scale events.

We have had great success in the past securing high profile and experienced speakers including Clover Moore Lord Mayor of Sydney and Harry Triguboff AO, not to mention our latest event which featured the inspiring Carmel Hourigan, Darren Steinberg, and Alison Mirams all leaders of their respective firms. In 2018, we aim to maintain that high bar and introduce more of our committee members to our audience. Our mentoring program will be in its tenth year in 2018 and we are looking to expand the program so that more of our network in the early and mid-stages of their career can benefit. Finally, over the past few years we have held a series of breakfasts in boardrooms across Sydney connecting our under 35yo members with their role models in the C-suite. In 2018 we will promote and connect our members through different formats including exploring more site visits, workshops, and a new Meet the Leaders style event.


What do you think are the characteristics of a great committee member?

Enthusiasm, commitment, and sincerity. Not exactly ground-breaking, I know. The Future Directions Committee comprises representatives from all across our industry, from fund to construction managers, engineers, architects, planners, development managers, asset managers, the list goes on. So we are not necessarily looking for professional expertise, but a commitment to contributing to our industry and a willingness to promote and create opportunities for young people in property.

What is the biggest issue facing the property industry in NSW currently?

In my view, we need strong political leadership in the space of promoting good planning outcomes and, importantly for our cities, communicating the importance and benefits of density done well. Growth in our state is inevitable and whilst we all learn to manage and plan for this growth better, we need those with the means and position to bring our communities along with a shared vision for the future of our cities.  


What does "success" mean to you in terms of your work as a Committee member?

I feel encouraged when I see or hear of individuals getting opportunities to progress their career or change roles within our industry as a result of the Future Directions network. It is exciting when our members move into fields or roles that they previously were not familiar with or where they are now pushing their own boundaries and doing something new.


What was your first role within the property industry and what roles have you had since?

My first role was an Assistant Planner at Urbis, and I have somewhat grown up through our organisation. In my experience, it is a generalisation that all Gen-Y are job-hoppers, but I do still subscribe to the stereotype that career progression is a top priority for our generation. For me it has always been about having a vision and a pathway for growth that is inspiring, and if that is within the one organisation then I consider myself very fortunate.


If you weren’t working in property, where could you see yourself working? 

For a long time I have been interested in the work of individuals such as Marcus Westbury, who in 2008 used experience as a festival director to launch Renew Newcastle. So working in the event and festival management space where I could contribute to the liveliness of cities in a more transient or temporary way would be the next best thing for me.


Using only one word, how would you describe the Property Council of Australia?