Stairs with arched roof
Career Stories: Annette Kuyumcian
CX Project Development Manager

CX Project Development Manager, Annette, grew up working in a small family business, and despite an expectation that she might one day take the reins, she felt drawn to be part of something bigger, and thought she would thrive in a corporate environment.  

Throughout her career, Annette has focused on her strengths and passions, navigating a career centred around solving problems, collaborating and developing strategies to deliver business value.   

Today Annette leads the charge in understanding consumer needs and behaviours to enhance the consumer experience at our assets.  Read on to find out what led Annette to Vicinity six years ago and what’s ahead for Vicinity's Customer Experience team.    

Annette Kuyumcian profile
Annette KuyumcianCredit: Vicinity Centres

VCX: Hi Annette, can you talk us through your career to date? 

AK: My first corporate role was in customer service in FMCG (fast moving consumer goods), which served as my introduction to suppliers, customers and dealing with day-to-day issues.

I’m always looking for my next challenge, and after being promoted into a team leadership role, I considered my skills and interests, and moved into a procurement analyst role. It was a great move for me and allowed me to apply what I learned through my Bachelor of Business degree to solve business problems, streamline processes and create efficiencies.

A manager saw my potential and prepared me for my next role as Procurement Category Manager where I was responsible for packaging procurement – think glass jars, chocolate wrappers, cardboard boxes, all the things you see on the shelf at the supermarket – a complex remit and fast-paced role!

VCX: What led you to Vicinity?

AK: The business I was in at the time was focused on developing the team into being category specialists and I didn’t want to be pigeonholed into packaging procurement forever.  

I’d been focusing on developing my transferable skills and, to open the door to industries other than FMCG, I knew I needed to gain experience in indirect procurement – labour services, waste, repairs and maintenance.  I managed to gain the experience I craved with another FMCG, before finally joining Vicinity as a Procurement Manager. 

VCX: What has career development looked like for you at Vicinity?

AK: When I first joined Vicinity, my leader was on extended leave and therefore I took on the responsibility to provide the team with guidance and direction.

That served as a good grounding for me and gave me the direction to have an open conversation with my manager about my development and how I could become a more effective leader.

I quickly worked out what I wanted to do and how I could best use my skillset at Vicinity, and when the opportunity came up for the ideal role, I took it.

That’s the thing I've learnt about career development - work out where you want to be and find out what you need to do to get there.

When the window of opportunity comes, you need to make sure you’re ready and those around you know that you’re ready and willing to make it happen. As they say, “Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity”!

VCX: How important are leaders in the development process?

AK: I’ve had great leaders who have been instrumental in my career progression. They have appreciated the need for diversity of experience in their teams and I've always been supported to challenge the status quo! 

As a people leader myself, I reflect on the experience I've had and strive to have the same positive impact on my team.  I love having grads come through and being able to support them through their first corporate job and also love seeing the flow on effect my career progression has had on some awesome team members.

VCX: What's the best thing about working at Vicinity?

AK: At Vicinity, there is a genuine care for people and our wellbeing – a point that really came to the fore in the pandemic when teams came together to make sure everybody was okay with regular check ins and activities to ensure mental health was front of mind.

We also get access to some great benefits including birthday leave, career development and flexible working!

VCX: What does flexible working look like to you?

AK: I enjoy coming into the office and rarely work from home, but I get out to our centres and work from there as often as I can.

A few weeks ago I was in Sydney for the weekend to see family and I was able to extend my trip and work remotely from Warriewood and Roselands. Working closely with our centre teams is the best part of the job – being on the ground with them really helps me understand the challenges and opportunities, and I love that I’m supported to do that in a way that works in with my personal commitments.

VCX: How do you achieve work/life balance?

I try not to separate work and personal, to me it’s all just “life”!

Work is an aspect of my life along with home, family, my physical and mental wellbeing. I like to think of it as life balance, and I know it’s all related. Right now, I am really enjoying my new role and find the new challenge energising but am also prioritising spending time with family by taking the opportunity of the four-day Easter break and heading to Blairgowrie on Victoria’s Mornington Peninsula for some quality time with them and a change of scenery.

What's your advice to people wanting to develop their career at Vicinity or anywhere else?

  • Find something that you enjoy - and naturally, you will want to grow and improve

  • Trust that your skills are transferable

  • Tell people your plans and where you want to get to

  • Get a mentor

Inspired by Annette?