Career Champion: Alison Quinn
Alison Quinn is one of Queensland’s most experienced senior property executives. She has achieved extraordinary success in a predominantly male-dominated industry and is highly regarded by her peers for her commitment, perseverance and determination to succeed.
Alison’s journey through the industry has led her to her current role as Executive General Manager for Sanctuary Cove, Australia’s leading masterplanned residential resort community where she has presided over millions of dollars in sales activity and the transformation of the community by owner Mulpha.
As an active member of a number of committees and boards, Ms Quinn currently holds the position of Chair, Urban Renewal for the Brisbane City Council and is on the board of Urban Futures. Most recently Alison also left her mark on the Brisbane Powerhouse Centre for Live Arts, where she has been a Director and Chair since its opening 11 years ago.
Alison secured her start in the property industry working for AVJennings at just 19 years of age. From there, she moved into the finance sector at Beneficial Finance and was fortunate to work for Chris Freeman, the former CEO of one of Australia’s leading publicly listed property companies Mirvac. She believes this experience gave her a base understanding of the financial drivers of projects.
“Working at Beneficial Finance gave me a core understanding of the financial drivers of the property industry,” she says. “These are skills that I continue to use on a daily basis at Sanctuary Cove as we continue to evolve as Australia’s pre-eminent masterplanned community, in what is a very a challenging climate.”
In 1994 Alison made the move to work in the family business, which at that stage was primarily involved in residential subdivisions. This provided Alison with an understanding of property development from acquisition through to delivery and settlement. It was during this period that Alison discovered she had a knack for understanding the property industry.
Alison played a significant role in steering the company into a broader development base. Miller Property Corporation became a pioneer of urban renewal within Brisbane city and participated in a range of joint venture developments in Noosa, where the company delivered over 600 apartments.
Another key development Alison was involved in during this time was The Habitat at Bridgeman Downs, which was an early pioneer for sustainable development, setting the bar sustainability in residential projects, which is now standard in the industry.
In 2002, Alison took a well-earned break and moved overseas with her husband, where they started a family.
By 2004 Alison Quinn joined Austcorp as a Development Manager and 12 months later she was promoted to the position of State Manager. Ms Quinn said that she brought a more holistic, strategic view and a strong sales and marketing strategy to the role. During her time at Austcorp, Alison was responsible for a team of development managers driving the joint venture with Property Solutions of SW1, a great example of urban renewal at South Brisbane. This project was deemed a great success in terms of both timeframe delivery and financial performance.
Alison also oversaw a development at Coomera Waters which encompassed a retail precinct, tavern, medical centre and child care centre, as well as a number of high-end waterfront villas.
Alison was appointed as the Executive General Manager for Sanctuary Cove in 2009 at a crucial time in the Cove’s history. Alison now oversees the entire development on behalf of Mulpha Sanctuary Cove (Developments) Pty Limited and manages a team which includes events, golfing assets and marinas. In her words, it is “something a bit more than a straight property role”.
In addition to being one of Australia’s largest masterplanned developments, Sanctuary Cove has an enormous events calendar, including the annual Sanctuary Cove International Boat Show which attracts more than 40,000 boating enthusiasts from around the globe.
So what advice would Ms Quinn give to someone starting their career? “Never underestimate the importance of a good mentor. Learn from those around you, ask questions, take criticism and learn from your mistakes,” she says. And perhaps most importantly, “stick with the industry in the down times, because that is when you learn most and innovation flourishes.”
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