The Shopping Centre industry is driven by people. It’s the skills and expertise of the people that manage, develop and evolve shopping centres for their communities that creates this great industry. Shopping Centre News profiles a range of interesting people from the industry each week. This week we speak to Jacqueline McKenzie, Centre Manager of the newly developed Vicinity owned Mandurah Forum in Western Australia. Mandurah Forum is a single level regional shopping centre located approximately 65 kilometres south of Perth CBD and recently completed a $350m transformation.
Vicinity Centres are one of Australia’s leading retail property groups with a fully integrated asset management platform. They own $16.1 billion of retail assets and manage some $26.1 billion in assets across the full retail asset spectrum.
What is your current role and main responsibilities?
Centre Manager, Mandurah Forum. Leading the Centre Management Team, ensuring team engagement, setting and delivering on the total centre strategy and ensuring all agreed financial and strategic targets for the asset are met.
How did you get in to this industry?
Shopping Centres is a family business for my family, three out of four of my immediate family have worked in Shopping Centres. I started as a Receptionist in a Centre Management Office.
Tell us a little bit about your career
I joined Vicinity Centres as Retail Manager at Rockingham Shopping Centre as it was commencing development. I completed that two year development project, and a year of stabilisation then a new opportunity at Chadstone became available. I moved to Melbourne to work as Retail Manager at Chadstone. I moved back to Western Australia when the role of Centre Manager at Midland Gate became available. Most recently I took on the Centre Manager role at Mandurah Forum to lead the team through the extensive development we have just completed at that centre.
What has been your hardest career decision?
The hardest, but the best, decision was to move at short notice to relocate to Mandurah Forum to contribute to the $350m development.
What do you love most about your job?
The variety of the work and the opportunity to work with highly engaged teams, on an asset that you are all passionate about. The ability to see the positive changes, wraught by the team’s actions, both in the physical assets and our retail partners’ results. You just don’t get that opportunity in most roles.
What do you least like about your job?
When a retail partner is not successful, even when I know the centre team has done more than can be reasonably expected to contribute toward their success, it is always really difficult, but I believe it should feel that way.
What motivates you?
I am highly competitive and set ambitious goals, for my team and for myself. I find by having high standards, but reasonable expectations, there is a good balance that leads to motivation and engagement.
What makes a great Centre Manager?
Someone who realises they serve and are accountable to their team as well as the retail partners and centre owners or business shareholders. Accountability is paramount.
What is your most memorable moment of your career?
The launch of Mandurah Forum, although it was recent I know I will remember it as a true career highlight. It takes a great amount of people, who are all highly engaged in the project, to deliver what we did at Mandurah, I am proud to have been a part of it.
What do you think makes a successful shopping centre?
A centre that the community can relate to, that reflects and belongs in the region it serves. Responsible leasing, product mix and precincting, and an eye for presentation and customer experience.
Which in your opinion is the best example of a good shopping centre, retail precinct or place?
I think in Australia you cannot go past Chadstone, it is constantly reinvented and refined to stay best in class and relevant to the customer.
Did you think you would end up in the role you are in now?
Definitely, it was a goal I set myself early in my career and I worked hard to make sure I got myself qualified and prepared for it as soon as possible.
What advice would you give to someone starting in the industry?
Learn as much as you can as you go, take every opportunity to learn and grow, and enjoy the journey, the teams I have been a part of have been the best part of my journey.
What do you do in your leisure time to de-stress?
Read, follow F1 and spend a lot of time with family and friends.
What is the single most important quality you need to possess to be in this industry?
The ability to actively collaborate with multiple stakeholders for the aim of benefiting all involved.