500 Women in Property Program: Connecting through COVID-19

The Property Council sat down with Lauren Franey, Practitioner Specialist at PEXA, to discuss her experience in Property Council’s 500 Women in Property Program over the COVID-19 pandemic period.  

Hi Lauren, you have been involved with the Property Council’s 500 Women in Property Program over the COVID-19 pandemic period. Could you please tell me about your experience over this time? 

Being the very social person that I am, I have found the experience to be really engaging and I have still had the opportunity to connect and share with some fantastic women.   

The Property Council has been excellent at transitioning the program to a virtual space to accommodate the ever-changing restrictions and environment that Covid-19 has demanded of 2020 to date. 

COVID-19 has resulted in Property Council shifting the 500 Women in Property program to be delivered fully online. Can you tell me how you found the digital program offerings, and how it helped you throughout this period?  

Despite being virtual, I have still found the programs on offer to be relevant and engaging.  My particular favourite was the Polish your Presentation Skills course with Noel Basile.   

Working for a digital company like PEXA and of course, as a result of Covid-19 and the halt in physical appointments, interactions with our members and industry partners also moved to a digital format, so it was fantastic to have a course that equipped me with new tools to ensure I was presenting myself and representing PEXA in the best possible way.  

Communication and connecting with colleagues, friends and family has never been more important. Can you tell me how you stayed connected to your sponsor? How have you connected with other participants? And were there any new and/or different ways you chose to communicate?  

Platforms such as Microsoft Teams has enabled me to stay connected virtually with my sponsor and the virtual Coffee Roulette initiative has been a fantastic way to still be able to interact with other participants in the Program and learn about their roles and contributions in the property industry and of course, just socialising with remarkable women.  

What would you say are your biggest lessons/take away from the program so far? Have you implemented any of the advice you received from your sponsor/coffee roulette match, or something you learnt from the property council academy courses? 

I think the biggest lesson the program has given me so far is that networking and building relationships with like-minded people in the industry really drives positive change and important conversations.  It can also really open the door to opportunities you might not have had without putting the time into understanding your own brand and message and then connecting yourself with passionate people with similar interests and motivations. 

For other women in the industry, is the program something you would recommend as part of their own development?  

Absolutely!  I would strongly encourage women in the industry who are given the opportunity to participate to do so.  It is a fantastic opportunity to get creative when it comes to networking, for building knowledge and skills in a safe environment and also for exposure to important issues within the industry that the Property Council is bringing to the forefront.  

500 Women in Property is an initiative of the Property Council’s Diversity Committees throughout Australia and is a sponsorship program. It involves a personal commitment from Property Council Members (women and men) to identify and champion women in their organisation or business sphere, who they believe would benefit from further networking and professional development opportunities. 

For more information on Property Council’s 500 Women in Property Program please visit our website or contact our National Diversity Programs Manager, Chloe Philp at 500womeninproperty@propertycouncil.com.au