When reflecting on what’s driven my eleven years in the construction industry, including the past eighteen months as Founder of an industry tech company, three words come to mind: focussed; determined; optimistic. They describe not only the reasons I am where I am, but the choices I’ve made along the way.
A ten-year ‘gap year’ took me across a number of jobs and, more importantly, independent travel around the world. Travel frees the spirit, and mine enabled me to truly find out who I was. Professionally, I was always looking for more, never happy with the administrative roles to which I was accustomed. I realised I would need to study to create the opportunities I wanted for myself, and chose Interior Architecture.
This is where ‘focussed’ comes in. It was a tough gig, as a mature age student up against all those smart and savvy school leavers, to get through four years of full-time study. It’s sustained focus for six weeks at a time, working hard between many mid-semester breaks and then a long Summer! Focus enables you to pay attention in the midst of the myriad of distractions and setbacks that can occur whilst studying. It enables sustained effort and energy needed to reach a goal. This is relevant to so many aspects of our lives and when this is applied to study it is a constant reminder of why you’re doing it and where it will take you into the future. In my case I knew it would open so many more doors for me and I was willing to see where it would take me.
It was in my third year at uni that one of my lecturers, Andrew Wallace, changed my direction with just two words: Project Management. That, I thought, was right up my alley. A work experience stint with Savant Project Management ensued, followed by paid employment with the then Thinc Projects, post-graduation, in 2006. While I was with Thinc Projects, a director, Jack Apostolou, suggested I would be great at retail tenancy coordination. They had a significant retail pipeline at the time, and I thought ‘why not?’ It seemed something I could get my teeth into and really own it.
Many shopping centre developments followed before, in 2009, I realised I needed greater flexibility. Following the birth of my first daughter in 2008, as they do for many women, my priorities changed and I looked for support to set myself up for success in the juggle that follows having children. I never wanted to give one up over the other, but I learnt early on to surround myself with positive and supportive role models to make sure this happened.
And this is where ‘determined’ kicks in. Starting my own consultancy, Kidwell Coordination, in 2009, enabled me the flexibility to spend with my daughter, but it also challenged me to back myself, to find my own jobs through what was then a much smaller network. I had a strong belief in myself that I could make it work., but the road was tough, full of self-doubt and concerns. With a fabulous husband – who is always on my side and cheering for my success – I found my first client, and the second and the third. Going in and out of projects worked for my lifestyle. I delivered many tenancies at Adelaide Central Plaza before working on the Rundle Place development, which then lead to the Brickworks Marketplace and Munno Para Town Centre developments with Woolworths.
The resilience that is built with the many knock-backs and challenges of self-employment has always enabled me to bounce back and keep trying. Resilience is a learned skill, like a muscle – we can build it over time. It also enables us to take charge of our own future. My advice to my children will always be ‘determine your own future by the choices you make.’ Take full responsibility and own it.
I’ve included ‘optimistic’ as a key trait for many reasons: because being an entrepreneur is hard.; because being the mother of a chronically ill child is hard.; because solving problems no one else wants to tackle is hard. But it appears I wouldn’t have it any other way. Optimism in business means an ability to laugh when things get difficult, to zoom out and really nut out the best way forward, to be able to regroup when one path is closed and find another way. When I identified a real problem within the tenancy delivery industry, I decided to focus 100% on the development of TCPinpoint in an effort to solve that problem. I knew that while I would take that task very seriously, optimism and good humour would be needed, or I would be totally overwhelmed and never start.
The culmination of eleven years in the property industry has enabled TCPinpoint to reflect these three traits. We enable teams to focus on the task at hand whilst keeping an eye on what is required for the future success of their projects. We are determined to help solve problems the property industry is facing and propel our customers into the future with intuitive digital solutions to empower them to create amazing spaces. We are optimistic that we are creating the jobs of the future to go hand in hand with the age old skill of construction to impact our everyday lives.
Staying focussed, being determined to find help along the way, and feeling optimistic that my choices are for a reason – this is what will keep propelling us into the future, with healthy growth and an impact on an industry that affects so many peoples’ lives.