Ben Watson, Vicinity Centres

Ben Watson, Vicinity Centres

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 Ben Watson, Centre Manager at Box Hill Central Shopping Centre, a bustling centre on top of a major transport hub in Melbourne’s suburbs. 

What is your current role and main responsibilities?
As the Centre Manager of Box Hill Central, I’m responsible for the overall operations of the shopping centre, overseeing marketing, facilities, administration, retail and customer service.

How did you get in to this industry?
I started out in retail as a Christmas casual working in a record store in 1995. I worked my way up through various retail chains before transitioning to the property side of the industry with shopping centre management.

What do you love most about your job?
Every single day is different, you simply never know what will come next. One day you could be suited up negotiating an important lease or contract, the next day you could be assisting with an emergency or operational task, or even getting your hands dirty down in the car park!

Box Hill Central

What motivates you?
The opportunity to work with others in engaged and connected teams has always been a strong motivator for me.

What makes a great Centre Manager?
Great Centre Managers invest time and trust in their team, endowing responsibility and having the courage to be accountable

What is your most memorable moment of your career?
I was involved in managing a serious emergency where many lives were at risk. It was by no means a pleasant experience, but certainly one I will never forget.

What do you least like about your job?
There are less barriers to entry than ever before for owing a retail business. With this has come a steady increase of short sighted operators with big dreams but no plans. This can be difficult to manage at times.

What advice would you give to someone starting in the industry?
The industry is extremely small, so always try to build bridges.

Box Hill Central – the heart of the community

What do you do in your leisure time to de-stress?
I love to run. For me running is a form of mindfulness, almost like meditation.

What is the single most important quality you need to possess to be in this industry?
Empathy, the willingness to understand how others are feeling.

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About the author

Shopping Centre News

Shopping Centre News (SCN) is in the ‘information business’, and is perceived as such by its readers. Daily industry news makes a must-visit as part of the morning routine for those who want to keep right across the latest retail developments and events, while SCN's premium magazine is the leading publication for the shopping centre industry in Australia and New Zealand.

Known as the ‘industry bible’ SCN is printed five times a year with fascinating, in-depth features and important critical analysis written by known industry insiders as well as the popular ‘Guns’ reports, which ranks Australian shopping centre performances. Shopping Centre News is the only publication in the world that features centre statistics on Turnover, Turnover per square metre and Specialty Shop turnover per square metre for every major centre in Australia.

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