The 2021 Emerging Leaders Programme launches next month, bringing together 15 mentoring pairs for 12 months of training and guidance. We took some time to catch up with a couple of last year’s participants, mentor Paul Winstanley of JLL and mentee Dao Nguyen of Kāinga Ora – Homes and Communities to get their take on the experience.
How did you wind up in property?
PAUL: I fell into property after completing my undergraduate degree in American Studies as a two-week temp helping prepare a large residential portfolio for market. Having risen to be a partner and residential valuation and consultancy specialist, twenty-one years later I left the same team I originally joined to join JLL in New Zealand. Heading up JLL’s Research and Consultancy Team in NZ since late 2018, I have since also taken on the role of Head of Build to Rent for Australia and New Zealand.
DAO: Before having a career in property, I was a Project Financial Advisor at WSP. Working alongside various Project Managers in property has gradually developed my interest in the field. Therefore, I applied for a role in Building Compliance within the company. Later on, I landed in another position in Property Consultancy (property acquisition and disposal under the Public Works Act 1981) also within WSP.
What study did you do?
PAUL: I have a Bachelor of Arts Degree (with honours) in American Studies from Lancaster University, a Masters Degree in Property Valuation and Management from Sheffield Hallam University, am a Fellow of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors and am an Associate and Certified Practising Valuer of the Australian Property Institute.
DAO: I have a Bachelor of Economics, which I completed back home in Vietnam. I came to New Zealand in 2008 to study for a Postgraduate Diploma degree in Financial Economics at Massey University in Albany, Auckland.
What made you apply for the Property Council Emerging Leaders Programme?
PAUL: Having had the substantial benefit of a number of key mentors personally throughout my career at both a firm and industry level, I see huge value in initiatives such as the Property Council Emerging Leaders Programme. I very much enjoy the opportunity to share my experiences and assist mentees where I can to hopefully assist them to fulfil their potential. With JLL sponsoring the programme this year, I was very keen to be our active representative in the Mentor Group.
DAO: First of all, I see this as an invaluable opportunity for me to learn from the mentor’s experience and skills they have built up in the property industry. Secondly, like the name of the programme, I would want to challenge myself in learning the other soft skills that I am not currently good at from the mentor – such as leading and influencing skills. Finally, attending the programme would give me a clear direction in my career development and give me a chance to offer other people the skills and knowledge that I would learn from this programme.
How was the training day and how have you found the ongoing support?
PAUL: Having undertaken mentor training before, I was intrigued to see what new information I could pick up during the day. I was very pleasantly surprised with the level of detail and expertise of the trainers on the day and it was a highly valuable experience for me. I am a better mentor now as a result of the training day.
The ongoing support from Property Council has been great on the programme. Harry and the team are genuinely interested and, crucially, invested in ensuring that the experience is as rewarding as possible for all involved.
DAO: The training day was fantastic. It helped me understand the nature of a mentoring relationship, find out about my learning style, learn a few tips from the previous mentee, and get the best outcome from the mentoring programme.
I receive continuing support from the regular catch-ups with my mentor as well as Property Council. My mentor responds to my follow-up emails after each mentoring session very promptly, and he always provides me with comprehensive feedback and support.
What have you gained by being part of the programme? What impact has it had?
PAUL: Seeing my mentee improve in confidence and self-awareness and also develop her skill set substantially over the last 10 months has been incredibly rewarding. Although this advancement has had very little to do with me on a practical and day by day basis (and my mentee deserves 100% of the credit for her own advancement), having being part of her career journey as a very interested observer has meant a lot.
DAO: What I have gained so far from the programme was priceless. It was not just about the industry knowledge (such as the Build-to-Rent model and valuation in residential properties), my other skills have been sharpened as well. I have applied the skills and tips (such as public speaking) I learned from my mentor to my daily jobs, and it achieved a great outcome.
The impact of the programme is real and significant. Being involved in the programme during Covid helped me learn about how to deal with stress, manage expectations at work and fulfil my true potential for my career.
What was the most surprising thing you’ve learned/discovered so far?
PAUL: How organised my mentee is! Dao is out of this world in terms of preparation and organisation and I have been inspired to try to replicate some of her organisational traits!
DAO: When I learnt about the fixed and growth mindset from my Mentor in one of the mentoring sessions, I found it even more interesting when reading further about it and other relevant real-life examples. Understanding these two mindsets helps me know more about people’s behaviours. It empowers me to successfully deal with problems at work, personal life and even help me gain a better work-life balance.
Would you recommend the Emerging Leaders Programme to others in the industry? Who to and why?
PAUL: I would recommend the Emerging Leaders Programme to prospective mentors and mentees alike. Working with a mentor gives mentees a chance to challenge their thinking, investigate a new perspective and look at different growth strategies for their careers. For mentors, the programme offers experienced professionals the chance to give something back and help inspire the next generation of sector leaders.
DAO: I have already recommended this programme to some of my current and ex-colleagues, especially those around my age or younger when I see the potential learnings they can get from the programme. They could learn from the mentor about the industry knowledge, soft skills (especially skills to deal with people) and networking. Most importantly, the mentor will help them unlock other skills that they might be strong at and further develop these skills.
Anything else you’d like to add?
PAUL: I have thoroughly enjoyed being part of this year’s programme as a Mentor and I would certainly be more than happy to sign up again if there was a candidate who it was felt could benefit from my background and insight.
I have been very lucky to have Dao as my mentee. Dao has been fully committed to the programme and has brought her true self to every session. Her willingness to be open, honest and personally self-reflective has made my job much easier. Because of Dao’s positive attitude and approach, in our sessions, we have been able to concentrate on strategies to really make a difference and work through different scenarios in detail.
DAO: The only thing I missed the most is the mentee’s catch-ups that I couldn’t make due to my circumstances. It’s a brilliant idea for mentees to share the experience and tips between each other, talk about what we all learn from the mentors and improve our networking. I am hoping to meet up with them one day before the 2020 programme ends.
I am also very thankful for having Paul as my mentor. He is very understandable; he shares the same family values and helps me get through the times I was having low moods and struggling with stress. Our mentoring sessions cover not only the property industry, people skills but also how I should look after myself to have a work-life balance.
Interested in giving back to the industry or building your career?
The 2021 Emerging Leaders Programme is due to kick off this month – watch this space for details!