CEDA member profile: Slattery




    Sarah Slattery, Managing Director, Slattery

Please tell us about Slattery. 

Slattery is a property and construction advisory firm specialising in early phase advisory, quantity surveying and cost management. We pride ourselves on meeting the needs of complex projects.  Slattery’s reputation has been built on our commitment to excellence and innovation.

Founded in 1976 and fully Australian owned, our dedicated and experienced team is focused on delivering the most efficient solutions for our clients. Our capabilities are supported by tailored technological solutions to always provide the best care and outcomes for a specific project.

With offices in Melbourne, Sydney, Perth and Brisbane we service clients nationally and also locally via strategic alliances in Hobart, Launceston and Adelaide. We recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding with London based Quantity Surveying firm alinea who add value to our service provision of global clients and international architecture firms. 

While we service most sectors, our core focus areas are education, commercial office & workplace, health, transport, arts & culture and justice.   With a focus on early phase advisory, Slattery is currently engaged in a number of nationally significant projects and major precincts including:

  • Melbourne Arts Precinct Transformation, VIC
  • Sydney Metro Crows Nest Station, NSW
  • The University of Melbourne Student Precinct, VIC
  • Edith Cowan University PC2 Lab Building, WA
  • Zurich Tower, NSW
  • Harbord Diggers Redevelopment, NSW

What is your vision or ambition for Slattery five years from now?  

Slattery has ambitious growth plans. By focussing on our core sectors, we are on track to double if not triple the size of the company in the next five years. In addition to our focused sector growth, a recruitment strategy that focuses on personal attributes over skills sets and maintaining a culturally diverse workplace will ensure Slattery’s successful growth trajectory.

What do you think is unique about Slattery as a company?

Slattery is passionate about knowledge leadership and empowerment for both our people and our clients through a commitment to the following initiatives:

For our people:
National Learning and Development Plan – Slattery’s National Learning & Development Plan is part of our commitment to deliver high-quality services to our clients and drive innovation.  The training we offer is not just technical. We recognise that learning doesn’t stop the day you get a degree so our structured program covers all aspects including technical proficiency, on-the-job skills, communication skills, management and business development training.

Student and Graduate Program – Slattery’s bi-annual Student Vacation Program is open to any student in Australia who is undertaking a construction related degree.  This four week paid structured learning program gives students exposure to Slattery’s business model – through site visits, technical training, design and client meetings, business development activities and staff interaction.  The Graduate program is an extension of this program, offering Graduates an opportunity to take part in a formal program that involves learning about all facets of quantity surveying services as well as business operations.  Successful applicants are provided with a mentor to oversee their development.

Diversity – Slattery takes pride in its workplace diversity and creating an inclusive environment that values all individuals.  We believe diversity powers creativity and sparks innovation.  Our recruitment strategy focuses on personal attributes over skill sets.  This way of recruiting has become a key driver in our growth strategy and is complemented by adopting flexible working arrangements for our staff members.  Our emphasis is on developing models that suit each employee’s needs – no matter their gender, race or lifestyle.  Slattery was recently acknowledged as the winner of the Property Council of Australia Award for Diversity < 250 employees. 

For our clients:
Leading the conversation: knowledge and learning series of events – Slattery works closely with our clients, peers and industry to develop a series of tailored forums and learning series that ensure Slattery is at the forefront of new trends and evolving markets affecting our industry. These events provide our clients with access to networking and most importantly, an ability to gain insight and contribute to the future of our built environment. 

Benchmark data and white papers:  Slattery continues to lead the way in presenting insightful material to our clients through our series of Kaizen Papers; highlighting risks and cost drivers and complemented by benchmark data.  Our knowledge leadership is aimed at helping our clients make informed decisions.

What is your role at Slattery?

I am the Managing Director of Slattery, responsible for people, revenue and delivery across our four states Melbourne, Sydney, Perth and Brisbane.   

What might a typical day look like for you?   

In my role, no day is ever the same.  With 100 staff nationally (including 17 Directors) and a business that is leading between 200-300 projects at any time, my time is divided between developing our people, client relationships and business operations. We spend time across our four offices in Australia, however a big focus is currently on our Sydney office where we moved to Martin Place last year. I still get involved in some key projects and it’s a real joy to support our teams on education and arts/civic projects nationally which have always been my passion.   

I am involved in a number of industry committees and forums, and I’m often invited to speak so preparing is part of my day! Recently I have spoken at The Property Summit, WIDAC, the PCA Diversity Event and was honoured to share the stage with McKinsey’s previous Global Managing Partner, Dominic Barton for CEDA’s Reimagining Organisations for the Future of Work. 

In addition to focusing on Slattery and the growth of the business nationally, I am a passionate mentor of a number of young leaders and a Director of influential women’s group TEN Women.  TEN Women was founded four years ago with nine other senior women in the property & construction industry. We recently raised $250k for Housing All Australian’s to build more pop-up women’s shelters. At Slattery, our “why” is to contribute to a better community through the built environment and I feel lucky to say I get to do this every day.

What have been some of the highlights for you since becoming MD?  

When we won the cost advisory role for Development Victoria’s Melbourne Arts Precinct Transformation, it not only confirmed our place in Australia as a leading Quantity Surveyor,  the project meant our team would continue to be involved in one of Australia’s major arts precincts.  My personal involvement in ACCA, the Recital Centre, MTC and more recently the ACMI redevelopment and the University of Melbourne’s Ian Potter Southbank Centre means I have invested considerable time in this precinct and I’m excited to see our team evolve as the project develops.

Is there a recent project or other achievement that you’re particularly proud of or puts a spring in your step? Why?

Last year Slattery won the Property Council of Australia’s Award for Diversity <250 Employees. As the first ever female Managing Director of a Quantity Surveying firm, it was great to see the firm formally recognised for its contribution to diversity. My Dad, our founder Peter Slattery, created an inclusive culture from the outset by embracing individual drivers and focusing on people’s strengths.

How long has Slattery been a member of CEDA? Why is Slattery a member of CEDA?  

Slattery has been a member of CEDA for 2.5 years. With a commitment to learning and development, Slattery embraces the opportunity to network with peers, clients and industry at both public and private trustee events. CEDA provides an important platform for our people to gain access to knowledge and insights from government and industry leaders.   

How does Slattery engage with CEDA?  

Our national Directors regularly attend and host Trustee events. More broadly, Slattery regularly attend public CEDA events related to our core sectors - health, education, workplace, transport, arts & culture and justice – as well as our special interest areas of business leadership and diversity.