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 Carl Migliorini who was appointed General Manager – Leasing in January 2019, responsible for the Victorian portfolio of Westfield living centres.
Carl joined Westfield in 2010 as a Leasing Executive where he worked across a number of our operational centres in NSW and the ACT. In 2014, Carl was part of the Project Team that delivered the Westfield Miranda redevelopment where he was responsible for the delivery of the ‘Food and Dining Strategy’. In late 2015 Carl worked on the development of Westfield Hurstville. In 2016, Carl was promoted to Regional Manager and has successfully led, with the support of his team, the transformation and evolution of several centres in ACT and NSW during the past three years.
Carl is also a member of Scentre Group’s People Champion Committee, a group of key leaders across the business who play a vital role in translating critical messages to our teams and championing new initiatives. During his time in this role, he helped drive key diversity and inclusion initiatives and contributed to positive changes to the Scentre Group culture.
How did you get in to this industry?
I started my career early at a private property development company in Melbourne. I was a young professional just out of school, and definitely thought I knew a lot more than I actually did – but, I was very determined and good with people. I also wanted to absorb everything I could about the property market and how to sell and manage commercial developments. I ended up spending seven years at this firm learning some invaluable (and hard) insights into the business world that started to shape the ‘professional’ me.
I always wanted to work for a market leader in a larger corporate environment and had a lot of interest in the retail industry. Scentre Group was the market leader and had an opportunity in leasing and retail solutions which really appealed to me. My wife and I didn’t think twice about it when I was offered the job – we knew this would be a fantastic move so we packed our lives and moved to Sydney.
What do you love most about your job?
Working for a world-class organisation and with a team of people who are consistently looking to innovate and create extraordinary places for our customers. The people at Scentre Group are what motivate me to continue growing, learning, and also making time to teach and pass on my knowledge to help others develop. We have high employee engagement levels at 88% and I see my role as supporting an extraordinary employee experience, so being generous with my time to help grow others is important to me.
Building long-lasting and productive relationships with retail partners is also an incredibly fulfilling part of my job and leads to a superior retail product mix for our centres – delivering our customers an extraordinary retail experience and putting them at the heart of all that we do.
What motivates you?
What I love about the job and what motives me to show up every day are one in the same. Learning from and growing people – whether that’s colleagues, retail partners, joint venture partners or our customers. I am passionate about building meaningful relationships – I am always open to learning from others and keen to ensure that I help people achieve in their careers and businesses. In my role partnership and collaboration are essential in delivering consistently at a high standard. Attracting the right talent and nurturing them to be future leaders is exciting and creates a positive legacy.
What is your most memorable moment of your career?
I measure my success by the impact that I have on others. When I was appointed as General Manager, this signalled to me that I was not only the right person for the role but that I was being entrusted with having a positive impact on our culture and people. I take this responsibility seriously and I try to create a culture of excellence and inclusion.
From a delivery point of view, being involved with the Westfield Miranda redevelopment, and in particular, the authentic market style fresh food precinct which provided our customers with a unique experience. I believe that it reshaped what is possible for fresh food precincts within shopping centres. Our customers were central our decision making and this was reflected in the living centre that was delivered.
What do you think makes a successful shopping centre?
Some may think that we just create spaces, but I like to think of the people living in those areas and look at it as a real and genuine opportunity to positively impact the local community. Our purpose is ‘creating extraordinary places, connecting and enriching communities’ and each of our living centres plays a key role in its local community. Curating an exceptional product mix that caters to the unique needs and wants of the local community, as well as providing easy access are important.
What are some of the trends you are seeing in the industry?
Experiences that can be consumed onsite is becoming more and more important – I will explain what I mean by that. We’re seeing that increasingly, our customers come to our living centres for much more than just shopping – they want to be entertained, to dine, socialise as well as shop. The focus is now becoming more about the overall experience for a customer. Dining and entertainment, as well as health and wellness precincts for example, are becoming a critical part of our offering. It is important for our customers that we provide a balanced fusion of retail concepts that provide both product and experiential elements. Today more than 35 per cent of stores in our centres are experienced-based and can be consumed on site.
Did you think you would end up in the role you are in now?
I’ve always had aspirations to lead people and have actively driven my career by continually being willing to learn from those around me and look to improve my skills at every opportunity. Scentre Group is incredibly focused on creating a high-performing and inclusive culture, where talent can thrive which has provided me with the opportunity to have the role I’m in now.
What advice would you give to someone starting in the industry?
Always stay true to who you are, but be open to learning. You will need to embrace the fast-moving pace at which the industry is moving, and be resilient and prepared to constantly adapt to stay relevant and create new and exciting opportunities for our customers. At Scentre Group, we have an engrained mentality of ‘everyday innovation’, which is demonstrated in a number of ways across the business, for example: uncovering exciting new retail concepts; creating and designing the best fit retail environments; and embracing innovative technology and incorporating these into our businesses.
Bottom line – enjoy what you do and be excited about your impact on the businesses and the communities you operate within.
What do you do in your leisure time to de-stress?
I wish I could say that I run marathons or something exciting like that, but I am a family man and I have two young daughters (1 and 4) so all of my out of work time is spent with them and my wife at the park, beach, play centres or caffeinating so I can do it all again the next day. My family heritage is Italian so I also try to do a bit of cooking on the weekends – I am teaching my 4 year old how to make my Nonna’s famous gnocchi.
What is the single most important quality you need to possess to be in this industry?
You need to be passionate about what you do – no matter the obstacles that you may face. As a leader at Scentre Group, I want my team to be passionate about their connection with the communities in which we operate and place the customer at the centre of the decisions we make.
What makes a great Leasing manager/executive?
You don’t need to know it all, but you must be passionate and driven. You must also be good with people to successfully build meaningful relationships with retail partners – understanding their business is key to ensuring their sustained long-term success in our living centre portfolio. At Scentre Group we are focused on not just what we do, but the way we do it. Our relationships and behaviours are underpinned by what we call our DNA, which outlines the importance of creating a positive legacy as a result of what we do.
For someone who wants to start a career in leasing, what’s your best piece of advice?
Don’t wait until you have finished school or university – start now, even if it is simply having a discussion with someone in the industry or doing some work experience. I value initiative and I strongly believe that there is great value in a mentor at any age.
If you are already working or looking for a change in career, do your research and always have a willingness to learn.
Ensure you are constantly curious and strive for excellence.
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