Hansen Investment Group Australia’s (HIGA) is one of Sydney’s fastest-growing development and construction companies. Founded twenty years ago by Winkie Zhang, the company is making its mark in a traditionally male dominated industry.
The Asian Executive interviewed her about her leadership philosophy and her passion for property.
Winkie’s early career began in journalism before venturing into property development. Her early years as a reporter enabled to meet with and interview Australia’s key leaders. However, her true passions lay elsewhere. “I have a family background in property development and construction in China and have always been inspired by my parents’ example. I always knew that one day I would be running my own business.”
What about property development and construction did Winkie find so enthralling? “The whole process of property development and construction is so fascinating. There is so much complexity which I find mentally stimulating. You never stop learning.” One surmises that the challenge for Winkie is also to overcome the gender imbalance in the industry. “I stand proudly as one of only a handful of female executives making her mark in a male-dominated industry.”
Operating a flat management structure involving over forty full-time staff, Winkie is deeply engrossed in all facets of property development from site selection, feasibility analysis and project sales and marketing. “I spend a huge amount of my time engaging with staff and client. I stay fresh by always listening and trying to understand the heart of issues and how best to deal with different situations.”
Fairness and trust is a big part of Winkie’s management philosophy. “I think of my team as an extended family with lots of personalities and lots of energy. I seek to find the best way to harness that energy into getting results.”
The leader, by his or her example, sets the tone for the company. Winkie’s frenetic energy, sense of fun and fashion elevates the mood and a sense of purpose for her staff. “I respect the individual and see it my duty to ensure that everybody gets the chance to show their true potential through their dedication to the task.”
At the time of this interview (COVID-19 pandemic), staff meetings were conducted through web-cam with staff pinned down in their homes. Winkie admits it been a challenging period for her company but maintains the importance of regular communications. “I actively foster the notion that we must think like a team and act as a team.” She never stops listening and never stops asking questions. “I think it is important for the personal development of the individual never to stop questioning the ‘why’ of any situation.”
Winkie’s pursuit of excellent sites is never-ending. She has an impressive network of people who help identify opportunities for her consideration. That is not to say she rests on her laurels. “I am a very hands-on person, and I quite often travel around different locations around
Sydney to directly approach property owners of good locations.” Would Winkie consider other Australian states for expansion? “I think Sydney has so many advantages over other states in terms of its huge multicultural population base and ongoing growth rate. However, I can keep an open mind for the right kind of opportunities.”
More about HIGA.
At Hansen Investment Group Australia (HIGA), we have more than 20 years’ experience working alongside some of Australia’s leading designers, architects, and interiors specialists to deliver quality residential construction development and building services to Australian investors.
To find out more about HIGA, visit https://www.higa.com.au/about/