Women are building a better real estate finance industry

When Alison Mirams started construction in 1998, she was often the only woman on the site and had to walk down the road to find a toilet.

Today, she’s CEO of construction company Roberts Co, tackling some of the toughest issues in the industry, from gender equity to high divorce rates linked to work-week stress. well anchored six and seven days.

“We’re only offering clients a five-day option now because it’s so important for increasing women’s participation but also for mental health,” she told a room of 80 medical professionals. industry at NAB’s Women in Property Finance event in Sydney.

Mirams pioneered the flexible five-day Monday to Friday approach in a successful tender to Health Infrastructure NSW for the $341 million Concord Hospital redevelopment.

She says that while advocating against the industry standard has had its challenges, joint research1 published in May by the University of NSW revealed an improvement in the health and well-being of construction workers and their families engaged over the two-year project.

Mirams said the research results, obtained with the support of Health Infrastructure, had been a “complete vindication” and showed how the long-standing practice of working weekends was a problem for men and women. of the industry, especially for those juggling family. care.

The success of the project means the five-day week is being rolled out to some of the major healthcare infrastructure projects, including the $619 million redevelopment at Westmead Children’s Hospital2.

lead the change

Mirams was joined on the panel of experts at the networking lunch, by GPT Group Chief Financial Officer Anastasia Clarke and Brookfield’s Managing Partner, Real Estate, Sophie Fallman.

The three women all shared their stories and big breaks in the industry, with tips for building careers and the ways they are working to transform the industry for the better.

Key issues in the discussion, moderated by NAB Real Estate Manager Bill Halmarick, remained the availability of higher paying child care and workplace flexibility, as well as closing the gap. of confidence.

The panel followed a keynote address by Ming Long, Chairman, AMP Capital Funds Management Limited and Chairman, Diversity Council Australia, who focused on the theme of courage in careers.

Introducing the event, NAB Organizer and Associate Director, Institutional Property, Ann Nguyen said she was proud to work with so many inspiring and supportive women leaders at NAB.

“For me, having role models to follow and aspire to had a major impact,” Nguyen said. “It’s something I didn’t realize I was missing until I experienced it. This is one of the reasons I wanted to organize a networking event for women in real estate finance to share these experiences – and here we are today.

In her keynote, AMP’s Long urged women to take the risks and opportunities necessary for successful careers, while always encouraging diversity and challenging bias.

“Understand the strength you bring,” she said. “You bring something really unique and the status quo doesn’t.”

All speakers at the event agreed on the importance of shared parenting, including encouraging men to take parental leave and helping them with key family tasks like going back to school.

Better ways to work

Clarke, from the GPT group, said working from home during the pandemic offered a “changing” opportunity, as long as care tasks and career trajectories remained gender equitable.

“Whatever those obligations you have on the home front…I think it can really normalize society for both of you to have those fluid roles,” she said.

Clarke added that while she wasn’t exactly lacking in courage, finding a sponsor or advocate at work had also “made a huge difference” in her career. She encouraged others to do the same as they sought and seized every opportunity.

Brookfield’s Fallman agreed that building networks and connections to call on when you need help is “tremendously powerful” and has value that shouldn’t be underestimated.

“Equipping people with the skills and confidence to solve problems,” she said. “It’s really going to break down some of those biases and norms.”

Mirams added that removing gender stereotypes needs to start early in society and the education system. She also highlighted the importance of “tapping into the female gene pool” and looking at training to address current skills shortages in the industry.

She said that for her, the ultimate success would come when it was no longer necessary to talk about gender and diversity issues and the industry could just support professionals no matter who they were.

“If you believe in something in your heart, you have to push it and no matter how hard it is,” she said. “It’s for the generations that follow us…so you have to be brave and follow your heart.”

Best career advice

Anastasia Clarke, Group CFO of GPT

“Really raise your consciousness and ask, where do you want your career to go? When you step into a role, work hard, master it, and look for the next thing. Show your hunger because you can’t take it for granted that it shows. Sadly, too many of us are way under the radar…so you really need to spread it and raise your awareness about it.

Sophie Fallman, Brookfield Managing Partner, Real Estate

“Be very ambitious and own it. It’s a highly competitive world, so work hard. Expect nothing but the best from yourself and at the end of the day, support yourself. Go ahead, find the things you want to do and do them. Show that ambition, enthusiasm and confidence.

Minglong, Chairman, AMP Capital Funds Management Limited and Chairman, Diversity Council Australia

“My advice to you is that you will have opportunities that you think are so risky. Be really brave and take on this role anyway and see what you can achieve.

Alison Mirams, co-CEO of Roberts

“What has worked for me is choosing your attitude…if given the chance, say yes and don’t question it.”

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1 PROJECT 5: Release of UNSW Research Report – Roberts Co | Project5_Executive-Summary_v12_WEB-1.pdf (roberts.co)
2 Same

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