Committees / Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Committee

Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Committee

Linda Walsh, AVID Property Group

As the General Manager Marketing and Customer, I drive the strategic marketing and customer direction for AVID Property Group nationally.

What’s Your One Thing?

I am passionate about advocating for women in the workplace – no matter their age or specialisation. By providing opportunities and freedom of expression in every day work practices and special projects, we are able to showcase their skills and create a positive change to the business by acknowledging these valuable contributions.

Stan Fitzroy-Mendis, City of Sydney

As the Area Planning Manager, Development Assessments, last year my team determined a quarter of a billion dollars of development supporting the sustainable growth of Sydney.

What’s Your One Thing?

The City of Sydney reports a positive 6.8% pay gap in favour of women compared to the national gender pay gap of 13.9% favouring  men. The City supports the Diversity Council Australia’s Counting Culture project. This guides organisations in measuring and improving workforce cultural diversity.

Belinda Bentley, 9Springs

Founding Director of an independent group specialising in Australian real estate investment, property development and strategic advisory.

What’s Your One Thing?

To change the misconception that diversity only relates to gender and promote and respect all forms of diversity (e.g. sexual orientation, culture, disability, mental health, age). To lead by example and call out disrespectful unconscious/conscious behaviour and eliminate the ‘clique’.

Darren Gorrel, Gough Recruitment

As the Principal Consultant, I am responsible for the management of our developer client base with the main goal being to identify and deliver the best talent available within the residential, commercial, industrial, retail and retirement sectors.

What’s Your One Thing?

My one thing is to promote diversity & inclusion in the recruitment space with the aim to provide EQUAL opportunities for everyone.

Holly Brennan, AVID Property Group

As the National Sales Manager, my role is to spearhead the direction of the sales function, and to develop a cohesive and market-leading sales force capable of driving revenue outcomes from AVID’s state-based development projects.

What’s Your One Thing?

My “One Thing” is bringing the awareness of Unconscious Bias to the forefront of discussions around Diversity and Inclusion. Unconscious Bias spans all aspects of diversity, including gender, age, race, and sexual orientation, and by putting this on the radar we can increase a sense of inclusiveness within property industry.

Amy-Grace Douglas, Ethos Urban

I am responsible for the preparation of a range of reports to support development applications including SSDAs, planning proposals and other projects (such as strategies) with a social lens, including Social Impact Assessments, Community Infrastructure Needs Assessments, Social Strategic Advice and Social Benefits Statements. I also undertake community and stakeholder engagement to inform these reports and their findings.

What’s Your One Thing?

I am passionate about the role of planning as it relates to social justice, and truly strive to make it my mission to create great places to improve the health and wellbeing for all individuals in an equitable way.

Holly Reynolds, Left Field Communications

As the Founder and Managing Director of Left Field Communications, I lead an energised team to support changemakers for good in our industry by helping to create relevant and impactful communications and engagement opportunities at every stage of the planning and development lifecycle.

What’s Your One Thing?

I believe it takes a village to create a village, and I’m passionate about learning from and helping to lead our next generation of changemakers. My #onething is to continue to challenge myself and my team to keep learning and keep disrupting the notion of ‘the norm’. For me, diversity is the richness of life, and we can’t achieve inclusion without understanding and valuing our differences in all their forms.

Kiri Tihirahi, Landcom

Senior Partner, P&C. Strategic partner and advisory to C-Suite and Leaders to enable enterprise outcomes underpinned by an aligned, empowered workforce. Leading and delivering specific people initiatives, and coaching to drive growth.

What’s Your One Thing?

As part of our Reflect RAP our Connecting to Country framework reflects our commitment through our projects to try to support the health and sustainability of Country by valuing, respecting, and being guided by Aboriginal people, who know that if we care for Country – it will care for us.

Gemma Bassett, Mecone

As an Associate Planning consultant I work closely with Developers and LGA’s to deliver a variety of redevelopment projects. I’m currently working on a number of shop-top housing developments which will transform and extend the Chatswood CBD.

What’s Your One Thing?

I’m passionate about illuminating the various lenses through which we each ‘see’ the urban environment. When we take the time to acknowledge and celebrate those differences we collectively come up with much better, more inclusive built-environment outcomes.

Rebecca McKee, Mirvac

Rebecca joined Mirvac in 2021 and as Project Director has ultimate responsibility for the performance and delivery of the 55 Pitt Street development located in the Circular Quay precinct.

What’s Your One Thing?

Advocating for more representation by women within the development and construction industry. Invest in pipelines and create opportunities that lead to making the construction industry a gender-diverse sector.

Kathy Chehade, Xavier Knight Pty Ltd

Responsible for the People and Operations arm of our business. I work in close collaboration with the Leadership Team to deliver XK’s strategic vision, which includes People & Culture, Customer Experience, IT, WHS and Business Risk Management to drive growth, positive change, and high performance.

What’s Your One Thing?

Increasing D&I awareness though coaching conversations and education of our leadership team. Empowering them to lead and manage diverse teams through a lens of inclusivity.

Madhulika Joshi, Northrop Consulting Engineers

I lead the multi-disciplinary project delivery team within Integrated Buildings division at Northrop. My team consists of talented project and BIM coordinators who enjoy bringing the project teams together to collaborate and deliver exciting projects for our clients.

What’s Your One Thing?

Awareness and acceptance play a key role in promoting D&I. I focus my efforts on being aware myself and spreading awareness by pointing out unconscious bias when I see it. One thing I would like learn more about is how can we provide/ shape more equitable opportunities within our industry.

Joel Di Fonzo, Nothrop Consulting Engineers

Civil Engineer responsible for delivering stormwater management
designs and site grading for commercial, industrial and residential
developments, as well as schools and hospitals.

What’s Your One Thing?

I endeavour to be defined by my values and performance alone. I
do this by approaching others in the same way; by being
considerate, continually learning, and recognising that everyone
brings their own unique capabilities and experiences to their work.

Melina Da Prato, Landcom

Development Manager – responsible for delivering residential communities around NSW.

What’s Your One Thing?

I’m an advocate for change, acceptance and progression within our industry. I want to join the conversation and spread awareness of some of the unconscious/conscious biases within in property. I’m also particularly passionate about increasing representation of women and multicultural voices within the development industry. A majority of greenfield developments are situated in Western Sydney and as a proud resident of one of these communities I want to encourage developers to be able to represent the diverse voices of their customers.

Susan Hancock, Strata+

As the Business Development Manager, I am responsible for the growth of our company portfolio and maintaining the strong reputation of Strata+.  A big part of my role is working with Developers and their teams to oversee all strata requirements in the setup of their projects and ensure a smooth transition at completion.

What’s Your One Thing?

When considering diversity and inclusion, it is important to recognise that the respect of others regardless of any differences has a huge part to play in ensuring equality for all.  The use of respectful and inclusive language is the first step to encouraging others to contribute and feel valued, and it is the simplest way to reinforce the practice of inclusion across all areas of life.

Lorena Gaxiola, Lorena Gaxiola + Gallies

I lead a female-majority creative agency and we are passionate about helping global businesses meet their potential through architecture design, digital strategy and branding.

What’s Your One Thing?

As a global citizen, business owner, working mother, cancer survivor and middle-aged individual, I strive to create an inclusive environment to my creative ecosystem. I provide flexible work opportunities that nurture creative growth within a secure atmosphere where vulnerability is celebrated. I am passionate about mentoring creatives about the business of design to ignite curiosity for entrepreneurship and business ownership.

Mona Chao, Coronation Property

A highly experienced Design lead with a career spanning over 16
years in property development, design management and
construction / product delivery.

What’s Your One Thing?

Cadetship programme established for Development and Construction arm of the business (construction, project and Development Management students). Establishing mentoring intiatives for high school, Tafe, University and students with disabilities. Mentoring of females in Property (PCA) and Construction (NAWIC).

Heidi Crawford, AT&L Engineering and Project Management

As Director of People & Culture, I’m responsible for creating and delivering a HR Strategy that promotes a diverse and inclusive workplace.

What’s Your One Thing?

As a trained mental health first aider, I am passionate about reducing the stigma attached to mental health.

Carolyn Hill, NBN Co Limited

As the Manager, Business Enablement Sales & Marketing, I am responsible for sponsorship & events management as well as internal communications for the nbn New Developments team.

What’s Your One Thing?

nbn is committed to promoting a truly inclusive workplace in which everyone can feel encouraged to contribute and reach their full potential.

Daniel Atkins, Lendlease

Property Marketing Manager responsible for marketing Lendlease’s residential developments. Currently my role is across the One Sydney Harbour Barangaroo and the One Circular Quay Residential and Hotel developments.

What’s Your One Thing?

We must never underestimate the power of representation. Acts as simple as this can create lasting impacts on our people and the places we as an industry create. We can all learn more, inspire more and achieve more by creating environments that enable free and open sharing of different perspectives.

Thomas Wright, Chalk & Behrendt

Senior Associate responsible for assisting the firm’s Indigenous clients to build businesses and to use and activate their extensive landholdings.

What’s Your One Thing?

Shifting the dialogue from Aboriginal community consultation to community partnerships. Nearly 60% of Australia’s landmass has some form of Indigenous right recognised in it. It’s time the property industry engaged with those communities as partners, and not just stakeholders invited to comment.

Gracen Luka, Stockland

As a Development Manager I’m responsilbe for managing the full life cycle of a residential development to create a new community for customers.

What’s Your One Thing?

I want to drive industry to consider how we can achieve social, environmental, and cultural broader outcomes within development, simultaneous with economic returns, to deliver long-term value across the NSW development sector.

Virginia Phillips, HillPDA

My role at HillPDA is to provide market research on various land uses and financial feasibility advice on a range of developments for private and public sector clients.

What’s Your One Thing?

From a young age, my mother instilled two valuable lessons in me: never be judgmental and treat others how you would like to be treated. These lessons extended beyond age and/or gender, teaching me to evaluate people by their contributions rather than appearance. I dream of living in a society where diversity and inclusion are not just quotas but a natural outcome for a better result.