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Three ways property mentoring can help you succeed in the industry

4-minute read

Westpac and the Property Council of Australia (PCA) share a vision to develop and expand talent within Australia’s biggest industry – the property industry.

Key take-outs
  • A mentor can help take your property portfolio/business to the next level
  • Successful property mentoring relationships can help a mentee develop skills, build confidence and make smarter decisions
  • A good mentoring program can be beneficial to a mentor also, reflecting on past experiences and learnings, but also factoring in the priorities and perspectives of the new generation within the industry
  • Westpac are a key partner in the PCA national mentoring program, helping our employees manage the challenges and opportunities within the property industry

Vivien Gu (mentee) and Brendan Root (mentor) are members of the PCA national mentoring program and both enjoy the benefits it brings. Here, they share their insights into what they’ve learnt on their mentoring journey.

1. Clear career pathway

Timing is everything and when Vivien and Brendan’s mentoring relationship first began, Vivien suddenly found herself with the opportunity to apply for a promotion. She admits initially she wasn’t sure she had all the skills it required. But by talking it through with Brendan, she was able to rationalise her thoughts. Brendan was a sounding board to bounce ideas off and as her mentor, he offered her strong guidance and support through the application process.


Vivien was successful and through the promotion she now has access to greater leadership opportunities, more collaboration with a broader stakeholder set and has been presented with opportunities to get involved in large projects to help build her property knowledge. Part of Vivien’s job that gives her the most satisfaction is working with customers to help them achieve their goals, whether that be through funding property developments or investments. She believes without the benefit of her property mentor, she wouldn’t have such a clear vision for her future and be equipped with the same level of knowledge and insight to help her customers.


Brendan explains how his career has been quite reactive. “Pathways are often hard to assess without good feedback from other people. So, as a mentor, I like to think I offer perspective, advice and the opportunity to explore thoughts that you might not otherwise be able to do within your workplace.” He adds “I encourage people to put their entire career in perspective when making decisions and not just focus on individual concerns or short-term hurdles”.

2. Problem solving

Every day, Vivien comes across new problems or different questions from stakeholders and customers. Although each customer has similar needs – funding to help them grow their property business – often their circumstances are unique. Vivien’s role as an Analyst is to understand their business or situation to assess their suitability for funding.


Vivien describes how her mentor Brendan often shares ‘nuggets of wisdom’ with her and one that resonated particularly well was an anecdote on the power of silence.


‘In the past I’ve been guilty of filling silences in difficult conversations with unnecessary chatter – to avoid what I perceived as uncomfortable silence. After discussing this with Brendan, he shared that many tend to do this, particularly in negotiations. I now understand sometimes silence can be positive and allows the other party to process information and gather their thoughts before responding. With this in mind, I’m now more wary of using it as a tool to drive the conversation forward.’


Vivien also believes property mentoring has given her the confidence to speak up and overcome the ‘I can’t’ mentality. Rather than being overwhelmed by problems, she embraces them as challenges and enjoys finding new ways to do things and achieve better results for customers.


Brendan too recognises that you should never stop learning. In his role as a mentor, he reflects on past experiences and share his learnings, but he also benefits from hearing the priorities and perspectives of a new generation within the property industry. It helps him become a more competent leader and communicator, using this more relevant, current perspective on issues to guide and help rising talent.

3. Networking

Due to COVID-19, Vivien and Brendan’s mentoring relationship has been entirely online so far. But in some ways, that’s made it more effective. It’s changed the meaning of interaction. Remote working has removed the reason to ‘run into people’ and has instead meant that meetings need to have a purpose.


With traditional networking events abandoned, being able to access a strong network through an experienced and well-connected property mentor has been invaluable for Vivien.


She explains “I usually talk to my peers or colleagues about difficult challenges or situations we’re facing at work. But with a mentor, I have access to someone who has already been through many of these dilemmas before. It’s so refreshing to talk to someone who sees the overall property market in a similar way to me but from a completely different perspective. It’s an impartiality that allows for freedom of conversation between us and is invaluable to me and my career in the property industry.”


“Brendan also helps me connect with other parts of the property industry through people, research and training opportunities. It’s a very different type of networking but is just as effective.” 

“Brendan also helps me connect with other parts of the property industry through people, research and training opportunities. It’s a very different type of networking but is just as effective.”

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Things you should know

This information does not take into account your personal circumstances and is general. It is an overview only and should not be considered a comprehensive statement on any matter or relied upon. Consider obtaining personalised advice from a professional financial adviser and your accountant before making any financial decisions in relation to the matters discussed in this article, including when considering tax and finance options for your business.