Emerging Leader Awardee Gracen Luka passionate to make changes

The 2023 NZIOB Charitable Education Trust – Emerging Leader Award winner Gracen Luka is passionate about the property, construction and infrastructure sectors, with a focus on sustainability. “Winning this award was extremely significant on both a personal and professional level,” says Gracen who also received a Special Commendation from the Supreme Award Judges at the awards.

“On a personal level, it serves as validation for the hard work, dedication and passion I’ve invested into my endeavours. Professionally, this award signifies acknowledgment from peers and the judges, reinforcing the value of my contributions. It provides a platform to showcase not only my individual achievements but also the collaborative efforts of the team around me. This recognition fuels my motivation to strive for even greater heights, knowing that my work has made a positive impact and is appreciated by those within the industry.”

At the time of winning the award, Gracen was an associate development manager and the head of the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion working group at Fletcher Living and prioritised promoting diversity and inclusion at all levels of the organisation. “By creating a diverse and inclusive environment, we attract and retain top talent, making our industry stronger and more resilient,” she says.

She also sees collaboration as essential in ensuring project success. Through encouraging transparent communication, embracing diverse viewpoints and championing teamwork, Gracen has spearheaded successful collaborations that yielded inventive and sustainable solutions.

Gracen’s extensive involvement in the infrastructure sector includes previously chairing The Infrastructure Collective and serving on the Auckland Women’s Infrastructure Network committee. She played a key role in establishing the Infrastructure New Zealand Diversity Advisory Boards, aiming to deliver stronger diversity initiatives and hold the INZ Board accountable for creating an inclusive and welcoming sector.

Gracen Luka’s involvement in the infrastructure sector included chairing The Infrastructure Collective and serving on the Auckland Women’s Infrastructure Network committee.

Gracen says she prioritises kaitiakitanga (guardianship) within the projects she works on and supports her team’s well-being. “My constant objective is to establish a secure and supportive work environment conducive to individuals flourishing. Prioritising safety is paramount, and I actively identify and address potential hazards, ensuring the well-being of my colleagues.”

Mentorship has also always been important to Gracen, and she is passionate about guiding others in their professional journeys. Through her involvement with Inspiring the Future Aotearoa, she aims to help broaden the horizons of young individuals and demonstrate that a career in development is a viable option, especially for girls and Māori students from low socio-economic backgrounds.

“Contributing to the development of spaces that have a positive impact on people’s lives is both fulfilling and motivating.”

Projects that Gracen was previously overseeing included the development of a new residential community called The Three Kings Development in Auckland. Challenges included completing a highest and best-use analysis to confirm how the project should progress.

“New Zealand is currently experiencing a housing shortage of approximately 23,000 homes, along with a $104 billion deficit in infrastructure. As we make decisions today, we must consider the impact on future generations,” she says.

Gracen is now working as a development manager for Stockland in New South Wales in the realm of masterplanned communities. She aims to continue to help improve the built environment. “Being an integral part of the built environment and witnessing tangible results is a deeply gratifying aspect of my job.”

“I take great joy in seeing the realisation of projects I’ve contributed to as they come to life and become sources of enjoyment for families and the community. Contributing to the development of spaces that have a positive impact on people’s lives is both fulfilling and motivating.”

© Waterford Press Ltd 2024 – Independent Print Media New Zealand

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