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 with Jemma Innes, General Manager of Tenancy Design and Delivery for Lendlease Asset Management. Jemma has enjoyed working on some iconic projects including Barangaroo and Darling Square.
What is your current role and main responsibilities?
I’m the General Manager of Tenancy Design and Delivery for Lendlease Asset Management. My team sits across the retail, commercial and industrial sectors, providing tenancy design and delivery services as well as base building design management for our shopping centres and urban regeneration projects.
With Lendlease, I have enjoyed working on multiple projects across our retail and urban regeneration business, including iconic precincts such as Barangaroo and Darling Square.
What do you love most about your job?
Definitely the variety of assets and projects we work across. One minute I could be talking about detailed design finishes for a tenancy in one of our shopping centres, the next, I’m debating master-plan principles and broader place-making drivers for a mixed-use urban regeneration project. While it can be exhausting at times, I definitely love the variety across any given day.
What motivates you?
My team and our projects. At Lendlease, we understand the decisions we make today will have a lasting impact – whether environmental or from a built form perspective.
As a designer, this is an ethos that I personally live by in the day-to-day decisions I make. Creating great places that bring communities together, whether in a retail environment or a bustling CBD, can have a really positive impact on a person’s everyday life. Whether we are making big design decisions, or smaller fine grain moments, my team and I always keep the customer in mind and how we can make the experience as frictionless and enjoyable as possible. On a personal level, my family motivates me to want to do better. With two young boys, I am really conscious we need to do our best to care for our land and ensure its future health.
I’m proud that Lendlease is taking a leadership position in environmental sustainability, and I know the role I have in a design and delivery capacity can really positively contribute to this goal.
What is the most memorable moment of your career so far?
It’s difficult to define my most memorable moment; however, I enjoyed the challenge and opportunity of working on the Barangaroo project. Barangaroo was the biggest regeneration project since the 2000 Sydney Olympics; we had a great opportunity to create something unique for Sydney, while also stitching the precinct into the Sydney cityscape. From a design point of view, I had the pleasure of working with innovative retailers and restaurateurs and some of the country’s best design firms. There’s a certain buzz and energy you get from working on a large-scale project like Barangaroo, and I enjoyed being part of a project team that was so passionate about delivering a world-class precinct.
What do you think makes a successful shopping centre?
Creating a place where people want to be. Customers have more choice than ever about where and how they want to spend their time. We know that successful shopping centres of the future need to continually evolve to meet the needs and drivers of our customers. I think a successful shopping centre creates a sense of belonging and delivers an experiential environment for shoppers. With a layering of experiences and usages, it means our customers want to visit our centres whether their driver is purely shopping or dining out in an entertainment and leisure precinct, or even visiting the community library and just connecting with other people. Designing shopping centres with inclusion and experience top of mind is key to a successful shopping centre environment.
Which in your opinion is the best example of a good shopping centre, retail precinct or place?
Our lives are becoming more and more complex, a mixed bag of work/live/play on a 24-hour cycle! As a result, our retail precincts need to factor in these complexities. No longer can a shopping centre just be a shopping centre – a singular use. A world-class example of this mixed-use precinct is Barangaroo, Sydney – a makeup of premium offices and residential towers, grounded by a strong retail podium. To see the mix of office workers, visitors and locals all coming together to enjoy the Sydney foreshore – whether it be getting something to eat or catching up with friends for a coffee, creates an amazing inclusive place that Lendlease is really proud of.
How do you manage stakeholders?
For me, open and transparent communication is fundamental. While this may sometimes mean having some detailed conversations that not all stakeholders want to hear at the time, I find being open and transparent does allow us to keep it simple and focused on joint positive outcomes for all stakeholders.
I really try to understand all parties’ standpoints prior to landing on a solution; in my experience, this approach provides the strongest outcomes.
What do you do to keep learning and growing in your career?
I try to stay curious. This often involves me putting my hand up to get involved in special projects and working groups. While this means adding to my workload, it also presents unique opportunities for personal development and building cross-business relationships. We have some remarkable and talented people at Lendlease with differing experience and backgrounds – I find collaborating and sharing of information is fantastic for personal growth, and is a good approach outside of any formal mentoring programs. Learning different approaches and perspectives drives a really great result for any project, and everyone walks away with newly acquired knowledge and insights. I think it’s also really important to stay connected with wider networks, which for me is the architectural and design community.