On 15 November the LIP attended a site visit at IRT’s Henry Brooks Estate and Jasmine Grove in Kanahooka. The visit was hosted by Ross Gallagher, Executive General Manager – Home Care and Retirement Living, Liam Allen, Development Manager, Kathy Loesar and Jess Hotchkis, from Sales and Marketing and LIP participants Rob Bruce and Amanda Nedeski.
The group went on a guided tour in small groups and learned more about the aging in place principles of design used throughout the site and within each villa. Features include colour coded wayfinding signage, communal spaces to encourage socialising and building designs featuring emergency systems, wide entrances, enhanced lighting and no steps. Back at the residents' Club House, Rob Bruce explained these principles in more detail and highlighted the award winning Jasmine Grove, a pioneering housing typology for women aged 55+ that is designed to address the housing affordability, social isolation and economic disadvantage faced by women in this age group.
Amanda Nedeski then led a leadership chat with Ross Gallagher where he shared some leadership insights from his career in retail and corporate banking, venture capital and entrepreneurial businesses, CEO and Board Member roles and his current role with IRT. Ross completed an MBA and Master of Commerce/Applied Finance in his 30s, he had not previously studied an undergraduate degree and found this was the step needed to take his career to the next level.
Leadership during the pandemic was the most challenging leadership piece he has faced, following on from bushfires, then floods, then covid it was extremely difficult to keep up with the public health orders, frequent outbreaks and keeping staff connected and motivated. Weekly and quarterly catch ups with staff were maintained to stay up to date and keep the team together.
Ross maintains work-life balance with good routines and regular exercise. He also takes advantage of the flexible working arrangements introduced during the pandemic to maintain balance. To his younger self, Ross would give the advice – don’t get caught by ‘imposter syndrome’, learn from your mistakes and don’t be afraid to make them, don’t be afraid to fail, and to be brave and make the hard decisions with staff sooner - not later.
In terms of setting direction Ross always comes back to the organisation’s Mission, Vision and Values. Set these and make them work for you, always come back to them to guide your decisions. Finally, Ross encouraged the group to keep curious, trust their gut and have an open mind, you don’t know where you will end up…
Lisa Malone delivered a vote of thanks on behalf of the LIP, thanking Rob, Amanda and the IRT team for hosting our visit, expanding our knowledge of IRT’s important role and impact in the Illawarra and thanked Ross for sharing with the group his ever-evolving career journey, advice and leadership insights.
Blog posts written by the Leadership Illawarra Program.