Home Property Australia ‘All about the residents’: Village Manger of the Year award winners crowned

‘All about the residents’: Village Manger of the Year award winners crowned

  • March 20, 2024
  • by Property Australia

Winners of the Village Manager of the Year award across the country

From North Queensland to the NSW Central Coast, esteemed professionals within the retirement living sector have been honoured with prestigious Village Manager of the Year awards.

The winners all now go into the running for the national Programmed Award for Village Manager of the Year, with the winner to be announced at the National Retirement Living Awards in June.

In NSW, RetireAustralia’s Jodie Shelley was crowned as the 2024 Programmed NSW/ACT Village Manager of the Year winner.

Ms Shelley, who manages Tarragal Glen Retirement Village in Erina on the NSW Central Coast, said she was over the moon to win the award, while also congratulating her fellow finalist, Bolton Clarke’s Belinda Mead.

“I’ve been involved as a village manager for 12 years and have attended a lot of events with village managers from across the state, and with the calibre of people we have running our villages, to win this award is an absolute honour,” Ms Shelley said.

“Three years ago I was given the opportunity to go and work for RetireAustralia and I have to say it is the best decision I have ever made.

“For a company to trust me, support me and encourage me the way they do is the reason I am standing here today.

“A big thank you to my wonderful staff and residents, it is an absolute pleasure to come to work every day. I love my village and I love my residents,” she said.

Keyton’s Leanne Zannoni was awarded the 2024 Programmed VIC/TAS Village Manager of the Year.

Ms Zannoni, who manages Forest Hills Retirement Village in Nunawading, said it was an honour to receive the award.

“Thank you to my team at Forest Hills. We have been through a journey the past 12 months and there is another big 12 months to come,” Ms Zannoni said.

“My journey in retirement living over the past three years has been a short one so far, but a lovely one and I couldn’t have done it without the support of so many people that I have met and who have supported me.

“Thank you to the Keyton team, we have had a big year, and our executive team has been amazing.

“They have led with heart, supported everyone along the way and we couldn’t have done it without them,” she said.

Bolton Clarke’s Stephen Pether took home the Queensland award.

Pether, who manages Rowes Bay Village in Northern Queensland, said he was speechless after the unexpected win.

“I’m honoured. Thank you to the Property Council, the Retirement Living Council and Programmed for the award,” Pether said.

“Congratulations to the other finalists, I wish they could have been up on stage with me because they deserved to be.

“This award to me is all about the residents, we have a great village and I have no doubt it will be party central when I get back,” he said.

Levande’s John Neill who manages villages in Somerton Park, Brighton and Fullarton took home the 2024 Programmed SA/NT Village Manager of the Year award as said it was an honour.

“This award recognises the hard work that all village managers and their teams do on the ground every day,” Mr Neill said.

“It is an interesting time for the industry.

“With a younger group of people looking at retirement living, it will be interesting to see how the industry evolves over the next five to 10 years,” he said.

Masonic Care WA’s Emma Benjamin took home the award in WA.

Ms Benjamin said she was honoured to win the award.

“I am deeply grateful for the guidance, inspiration and unwavering support of my colleagues at Masonic Care WA,” Ms Benjamin said.

“Working alongside such a dedicated group not only supports me, but it also inspires me to strive for excellence on a daily basis. 

“I would also like to thank the residents of my villages, whose presence and trust serve as the driving force behind my work, every day.  

“I’m deeply honoured to support them in their retirement journey and am continually inspired by their resilience, kindness, and sense of community,” she said.