Laura Jasiulec, Commercial Manager on the NSW Land and Housing AMS Contract (LAHC)

Laura Jasiulec has worked across a number of sectors in both Queensland and New South Wales and says that it was on one of her first projects that she knew she wanted to work in a role where she could have a say and make a difference. 

"On my first construction project I was one of two women on site, and it was definitely a work hard-play hard kind of site," she says. "It showed me though that my heart is in operations," Laura admits. "I love being able to say I was part of a team that fixed or improved an asset for our client."

Her current role as Commercial Manager on the NSW Land and Housing AMS Contract (LAHC) sees her and her team manage 125 subcontractor companies with around 4,000 individual subcontractors.

Mentoring women through HousingConnect

Whilst the broader LAHC team has great female representation, Laura says that in an industry that is still male dominated, it's important to seek out ways to raise the profile of women and given them a chance to shine. 

This desire led to Laura creating 'HousingConnect' a mentoring program for the women on the contract, matching them with a pool of female leaders from across Ventia. She says she wanted to create the mentor program to give others the opportunities she had earlier in her career. 

"Having someone outside your immediate team or business unit to talk to can be invaluable," Laura says. "It's about those things that are outside the normal 'this is how you do your job' conversations."

"I have been inspired by my mentee Brittany, who prior to working with Ventia was a hairdresser and is now administrating a major works program on the contract. It shows what people can do when they're given a challenge and supported by the business".

Recognising success

Laura's passion and achievements led to her taking home the Diversity and Inclusion award for NSW in the Australasian Housing Institute Brighter Future Awards

Individuals, teams and projects who have made a significant and lasting difference to tenants, services users, the community and their colleagues were recognised for the jurisdictional awards, and will be considered in the national awards in Melbourne in March 2022. 

Over the years, Laura has participated in leadership training programs from which she has taken ideas to build HousingConnect. There were also a core group of four mentors who put their hand up early on when Laura raised the idea, who have contributed to the current program. 

Laura says feedback from one leader who has participated as a mentor highlighted for her one of the key benefits of the program.

"Caroline Rowland has been a passionate supporter, and she says that it's a great way to identify talent in the business," Laura explains. "She also noted that the fact that our contract is willing to showcase our talent and potentially have them poached by other parts of the business shows the importance we put on giving our people opportunities, even if it means they move onto other parts of the business. And she's right, that is a value we hold dear." 

For mentees, Laura says aside from the advice they are getting from a diverse array of mentors, HousingConnect is also giving them the opportunity to see what's possible. 

One of the success stories of the program is Isabelle Roussety, who through her connections on the program has been able to move from an administrative role on the contract to a team leader within the National Contact Centre.

When you're in your day-to-day role, and you're often too busy to pop your head up and see what else is out there, a program like this helps show you where your career with Ventia could lead. And that's a powerful thing.

Ventia General Manager Community and Housing Angela Williams is an active supporter of the program. "The program has been wonderful to help the women of our business create connections," Angela said. "It's fantastic to see the real opportunities and learnings come from the program and to see our female colleagues having more courage and support in taking those opportunities."