The Shopping Centre industry is driven by people. It’s the skills and expertise of the people that manage, develop and evolve shopping centres for their communities that creates this great industry. Shopping Centre News profiles a range of interesting people from the industry each week. This week we talk to Ben Matthews Divisional Development Manager at AMP Capital, who is responsible for a range of retail developments on the east coast of Australia. AMP Capital own and manage 33 shopping centres across Australia and New Zealand and take a place-led approach when developing their centres.
Tell us a little bit about your career
I started work after University with Lendlease working on a variety of projects within their construction and project management group. It included projects across all sectors but with a focus on retail projects. After leaving Lendlease and completing a full time MBA I moved to Macquarie Bank where I spent time in both their property group and investment banking groups focused on development funding and finance. This included a few years in the Middle East. 7 years ago I started with AMP Capital within their retail development team.
What has been your hardest career decision?
Each time I have made the decision to leave a company it has been a hard. I have only done it twice but both times it was something I wrestled with. In hindsight I made the right decision each time and there are no regrets but at the time it wasn’t easy.
What do you love most about your job?
Seeing people who work with me achieve their own personal development goals. When I first started working I was focused on achieving my own personal development goals but these days the rewards of training and developing people within my team are a big focus and it’s huge when you see them realise their own potential.
What motivates you?
Creating buildings that inspire people and remain relevant years after they are completed. The opportunity to create a great permanent space which thousands of people use everyday is a huge motivating factor for me. Real Estate developments take many years to complete. The period from the initial idea until completion can be more then 10 years. These are long term investments, and the results of a project are very tangible (both bad or good), so it’s not easy and there are always risks but to me the challenge of managing those risks to a successful outcome is a big reward.
What is your most memorable moment of your career?
There are lots of memorable moments but getting my first job as a graduate with Lendlease is right up there.
Did you think you would end up in the role you are in now?
No my approach has always been to keep an open mind and work as hard as I can along the way. When I have done that the jobs have tended to choose me.
What do you do in your leisure time to de-stress?
With a young family it can be hard to get some free time, but when I do surfing is a great de-stress.
What’s your favourite retailer and why?
Apple. I love their products but their growth and trend setting in the last 10 years has been extraordinary. They are recognised leaders in the technology space but they are also leaders in the physical retail space and their stores set benchmarks in many ways. It will be fascinating to see what they can do in the next 10 years.
Do you like shopping?
Yes (but not with my kids). I particularly like buying gifts for friends and family so for many reasons Christmas is always a great time of year for me.