It was a poignant piece of advice that led Lavinia Dack to apply for the Woman Leader in Property Scholarship from the Property Council of Australia and Chief Executive Women.
A friend told her that what got her to where she is now isn’t what will get her to the next step in her career.
Now, she will have the opportunity to do something exceptional as the inaugural recipient of the Woman Leader in Property Scholarship.
As the winner of the scholarship, Ms Dack will undertake an advanced professional development program at Oxford University, including a $25,000 grant covering both tuition expenses and a travel allowance.
Ms Dack is the Group General Manager Property at UnitingCare Queensland, overseeing the non-profit’s sizable property portfolio while managing a team of 125, including leasing agents, valuers, development managers and a large maintenance team.
UnitingCare owns a variety of properties, from hospitals to warehouses, but the organisation’s grounding force is its not-for-profit goals, including Lifeline Queensland. Ms Dack said her role of optimising the property portfolio means she gets to make a meaningful contribution to Lifeline, BlueCare and the group’s hospitals.
Ms Dack said she felt grateful and excited to be chosen for the scholarship.
“I’ve been looking at the course and what it involves, and it’s clear it is a great thing,” she said.
“But what appeals to me so much about going to Oxford is going to be engaging with people from quite diverse backgrounds and industries. If you want diversified thinking and to learn how to think differently, that’s what you need.”
Ms Dack mentioned that in her previous role as Executive Director, Regional Developments at Economic Development Queensland, she led a team, but her current position involves leading a team of leaders.
“So I am aware that I have made a leadership transition from leading a team to leading leaders, and this is an opportunity to formally invest in myself for that transition and develop new skills.
“I’m really excited to go to Oxford and invest that time in identifying my own leadership toolkit gaps and how I can add to my leadership toolkit through that process.”
Kylie O’Connor, CEO – Investment Management at Stockland, and one of the judges for the scholarship, said investing in and supporting women in the property sector is crucial to ensuring a diverse future pipeline of talent.
“This scholarship is a fantastic example of a tangible initiative that will provide a real benefit to the recipient and contribute to the important goal of equality and gender diversity across the property industry,” she said.
“As a judging panel, we were impressed with the high calibre of entries we received and particularly Lavinia’s commitment to supporting other women in the property industry. She has led by example with an impressive career to date and being proactive in mentoring young women who want to pursue senior roles in property.
“I’d also like to extend my sincere thanks to thank Chief Executive Women and the Property Council of Australia for their support of this important scholarship.”
One of the judges Susan Metcalf said the finalists, in a very competitive field of applicants for the CEW/PCA Scholarship, were inspiring.
“Such talented women, in a wide range of roles and organisations across Australia,” she said.
“I’d encourage all PCA members to continue investing in their emerging leaders – the scholarship has highlighted an unmet appetite and desire to build senior leadership skills.
“Lavinia’s vision of how she can contribute to her community, and awareness of what she needs to do to achieve organisational and personal goals, was very clear. I’m looking forward to seeing what she (and all finalists) achieves in years to come – it will be transformational!”
CEW Scholarships Committee Chair Deidre Willmott said the organisation was proud to partner with the Property Council in this scholarship.
“CEW’s mission is to empower women leaders and we are delighted to be working with Property Council to grow the number of women leaders in the historically male dominated property sector.
“Our two organisations are committed to helping women develop the skills they need to advance their careers in the industry. This scholarship is a key initiative for us both.
“Congratulations to our first scholar, Lavinia Dack. We wish Lavinia all the very best in her studies at Oxford Said Business School and look forward to seeing her take the next steps in her leadership journey.”
Property Council Chief Executive Mike Zorbas said for more than ten years, the Property Council and our industry leaders have committed to advancing gender equality.
“We must continue our efforts. Alongside our other gender equity initiatives, we hope this scholarship will encourage and support an increase in women’s representation in senior management roles.
“We are proud to have worked with Chief Executive Women to offer this great opportunity and keep growing the cohort of women leaders in property.
“My warm thanks to our applicants and a hearty Property Council congratulations to our first recipient, Lavinia Dack.”