Meet your candidate Robert Smyth

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WESTON Advisory principal Rob Smyth is one of the candidates seeking to be elected to the board of the Australian Property Institute (API).

Australian Property Journal spoke to Smyth to find out why he is seeking to be elected to the API board.

Smyth said a lot of work was completed to transform the API into a national body, but it is only the beginning and there is a lot more work to be done.

He said so much of the focus over the last few years have been about the organisation change and now there needs to be more time invested in communicating with members.

Smyth continues to see challenges, particularly in diversity – in age as well as gender. He said the API needs to attract younger members as well as female property professionals.

He warned that if the API does not adapt to changes, it risks becoming irrelevant.

  1. What is your interest to come on board with the Australian Property Institute?

As a Director of the API since 2013 my key areas of interest are to promote the next stage of the API’s development; and to meet and develop the financial and strategic goals and priorities; including membership growth particularly to our younger members and future members. I have a passion for the API’s success and its long-term relevance and want to continue to bring to the board my experience within and outside the API.

  1. What financial experience or expertise do you bring to the API?

I consider that I bring deep financial and management experience to the API board and that my financial work experience to be strong. In my 13 years with Ernst & Young and Andersen I managed the financial performance of the Real Estate Advisory Services Group and the Corporate Finance group at a state level, and the Corporate Real Estate practice at a national level for 8 years. I own and manage a small business and have been Director on two other Not for Profit boards, one currently.

I am a long-term member of the API’s National Finance, Risk and Audit Committee, and was Chair until mid 2017. In this role I worked closely with external advisors and API’s management as part of a small team that oversaw the forward strategic planning undertaken through the Governance and Structural Review, setting the framework for the API’s financial management, reporting, and governance changes.

  1. What governance experience do you bring to the API?

As Chair of the API’s National Strategy and Governance Committee from 2014 until 2017, I oversaw the roll out of the forward strategic planning undertaken through the Governance and Structural Review, including new Constitutions and many new and updated Charters and Policies for API Limited, APIV and subsidiaries.

Outside the API I have been heavily involved in Constitutional and management change within two other boards, and I regularly advise clients on business governance roles through my current business, particularly related to corporate governance and structuring.

  1. What strategic planning experience do you bring to the API?

Strategic planning for the future of the API between 2014 and 2017 was managed by the National Strategy and Governance Committee, to which I was Chair. This Committee oversaw planning for the future API and associated change planning. I also oversaw the financial change management of the API as Chair of the National Finance, Risk and Audit Committee, where I worked closely with API’s management to procure a detailed Independent Accountant’s Report on the Institute and to manage its roll out.

As a National leader of EY’s Corporate Real Estate (CRE) practice from 1997 to 2005 I managed many complex strategic business and property reviews from global clients through to smaller scale businesses.

  1. To further pursue API’s strategic direction, it would be of great benefit if prospective Directors could contribute advocacy, policy and/or digital communications experience to the Board. What is your experience in one or more of these areas?

A major part of the work that I currently undertake outside the API relates to stakeholder and community consultation predominately in the property sector. In these roles I am regularly requested to manage complex advocacy and occasional lobbying to government for clients. I undertake complex stakeholder and community consultations on a wide range of government policy setting strategies including education and health policies within the ACT.

The consultation work that I undertake requires me to devise communication strategies with significant digital communications input including website and social media advice, procurement and ongoing management.

  1. In general, what can you bring to the API and why should members elect you?

The core strengths that I will continue to bring as an API Director will be to offer my skills and experience to further develop the Institute as the key property member organisation; to manage the next stage of API’s development; to meet the Institutes changing strategic goals and priorities. I am results driven and am genuinely eager to continue my work with the board and the API’s key staff to ensure the Institute is the leading and contemporary membership organisation for property professionals.

Online voting is now open until 23:59 AEST on Thursday 17 May 2018. Members are encouraged to register and vote at https://www.api.org.au/news/meet-candidates-2018-api-board-elections

Australian Property Journal