Five minutes with Trudy-Ann King

18 Apr 2017

A lot has changed since the Green Building Council of Australia’s inception in 2002. From humble beginnings to the GFC, our Head of Market Engagement Trudy-Ann King has been a linchpin in the organisation’s evolution and success that we celebrate today.

She even spearheaded the design of GBCA’s beloved HQ, The GreenHouse.

As she embarks on a new journey as Director of Market Engagement at AECOM, King looks back on some of the triumphs and challenges of working at the GBCA – and how you can get on board with the organisation as her successor.

How long have you been working at the GBCA?

It’s been 8.5 years in a paid position but I have been around since the beginning.  When the GBCA was founded back in 2002, it relied almost entirely on volunteers.  With a background in sustainable workplace design, I helped develop the first Green Star Office Interiors rating tool, flew around the country pro-bono teaching the Office Interiors course and spoke at more conferences, board room lunches and functions than I can remember, to help the infant GBCA cover this big country and overseas.

Where was your career prior to the GBCA?

I left a role as Practice Director at BVN Architecture to join the GBCA.  I had spent 15 years creating workplaces for some of Australia’s top businesses.  They were mainly large scale, strategic workplace projects that developed my business insights, corporate engagement skills, design thinking capabilities and my ability to identify opportunities and bring them to reality.  Most people have no idea just how business savvy a good interior architect needs to be.

What was it about the GBCA that drew you to the role?

I was looking for a fresh challenge – do something often enough, no matter how large scale and high pressure – and you will start to feel like it is ground hog day.  I also wanted a role that was purpose driven and diverse and I love strategic thinking.  Wherever there are challenges, there is a requirement for strategic thought.

How has your role evolved over time?

My title has constantly changed at GBCA and I have taken on an ever changing range of opportunities as they have emerged.  I commenced with a role looking after VIC, SA and Tas.  Within a couple of months I was looking after the development of a range of GBCs throughout Asia – Rom let me step away from Tasmania at that point.  It was a pretty fair swap, Tasmania for Asia…..

For the last 12 months I looked after market engagement, marketing and comms, research, events and sponsorship.  I was pretty happy to see Michael Manikas come in to take on research, events and sponsorship I can tell you.  Once that happened I picked up the new residential strategy leadership as well as the Asia Pacific strategy to add to my portfolio so you could say that things never stand still in this role or at GBCA!

What have been the biggest industry changes you’ve seen during your time here?

A couple of months after I commenced, the GFC hit.  It was a time of great uncertainty for the property sector and both our members and the GBCA had to adjust to a non-boom market.  One of the critical things in this role has been to identify constantly where challenges and opportunities are emerging in industry.  We need to be well tuned to the market and our member’s [members’] needs if we are to structure our products and services in the right way.

What are some of the challenges you’ve faced in your role?

My role comes with the lion’s share of revenue generation responsibility.  If my team is not focused on the right strategic approach, working with the right companies or identifying the right opportunities, the whole organisation is impacted.  It is both a great opportunity and a great challenge.

What about the successes?

The great successes in my view are the adaptations we have made to how people can use Green Star.  Empowering the Commonwealth Bank to rate its branches on mass, enabling Frasers to rate its industrial facilities,  giving Stockland the tools to rate entire retirement living facilities and capturing entire portfolios like the 90+ retail centres that Vicinity has rated – all in a cost effective and user friendly way.  I am really excited to see what Green Star reimagined will lead to.  In this digital age we have the potential to provide very different entry points to Green Star for a much broader range of users.  Globally, no one has taken the time to completely reimagine the product required to take us to a thriving, positively geared industry and this is Australia’s opportunity to build on its leadership position.

What’s unique about working for the GBCA?

Probably the amount of distance that we can cover and impact that we can have with so few staff.  People are always surprised by our staff numbers and of course, the reason we can do so much is that we have such a connected and focused member base.  They are our implementation team – which actually makes us an enormous organisation.

What will you miss most about working here?

The open door to industry and knowing that I can pick up the phone and garner support at a moment’s notice.  Where else do you get that?  I also have a fantastic team. Enthusiastic, committed, professional, willing and able.  Hopefully I can replicate that elsewhere!