Michelle Roch Midland Gate
Career Stories: Michelle Roch
Development Manager

Development Manager Michelle shares how a passion for property, supportive mentors and a plan to leverage her talents and develop her skills, took her from an admin role through to managing development projects across the country.

Currently working on the transformation of the lower ground at Chatswood Chase in NSW, Michelle shares her career highlights and advice for people looking to grow their career at Vicinity.

Michelle Roch Box Hill South
Michelle Roch and the team at Box Hill CentralCredit: Vicinity Centres

VCX: Hi Michelle. So, tell us about your career story – what led you to be a Development Manager at Vicinity?

MR: I joined Vicinity in 2008 so will be celebrating 15 years with the business this year!

I started as a Personal Assistant in the Development team and had never worked in corporate or property before – I had no idea about shopping centres but just loved it from day one.

There were two development projects underway at Chadstone (the first luxury precinct and Woolworths) and I asked my manager what the path would look like for me to become a Development Manager.

VCX: What did that path look like for you?

MR: I started picking up extra work to help me get my head around aspects of the development lifecycle and the broader business, which my manager and team were so supportive of. I picked up tenancy interface management work and went along to meetings which gave me exposure to critical sides of the business. I also put a personal development plan in place which focused on upskilling in certain areas including some additional study to learn about planning, development management and investment management.

Following the merger in 2015 (and formation of Vicinity Centres), there was an opportunity to become an Assistant Development Manager in Perth, and after seven years with the business, it felt like the perfect opportunity to recreate myself in a new state and really launch into my new career.

Since then, I’ve been fortunate to work on developments in SA, WA, VIC, NSW, which means I’ve seen and worked on many of our assets across the country and learnt so much, as the processes in each state are so different and each centre has unique challenges and opportunities.

A snippet of Michelle's work on a major development at The GlenCredit: Vicinity Centres

VCX: Do you have a favourite state?

MR: I can’t pick a favourite but my time in WA from 2015-2018 was really special. I was part of an awesome team, had great managers and worked on some fantastic assets. It was pre-covid so everyone in the office was really close. There’s something amazing about the WA team, maybe because it’s far from the other states but it’s a tight knit bunch and we delivered some awesome developments there!

VCX: What is the best thing about working in Development at Vicinity?

MR: In development we collaborate with almost every function across the business, whether it’s IT, Accounts Payable, Legal, Marketing – we’re really well connected and I love that.

I am passionate about helping people and helping a situation and always want to do what’s best for a project. So working in development is really satisfying for me, looking at the biggest picture, taking a whole of asset approach and finding solutions.

My role has taken me to almost all our assets and I love the range of centres we have in the Vicinity portfolio – from Chadstone through to Karratha and Rockingham, each of them so important to our customers and community.

All our centres have nuances and are full of amazing people and stories, so that’s one part of my job I love.

Michelle Roch Chadstone West Mall
Michelle and the team at Chadstone - The Fashion CapitalCredit: Vicinity Centres

VCX: What has been key to your career progression journey at Vicinity?

MR: Having supporters and champions along the way!

I’ve been fortunate to have amazing people around me, supporting me as I take on new opportunities.

My current boss is one of those people – we worked on DFO Homebush together and every couple of weeks we would fly up and I would shadow him for the day.

I've also been fortunate to work with other managers to gain as much responsibility as I wanted and support.

I'm thankful to my managers and the extended team for the support I’ve received from them all the way through my journey.

VCX: What are you most proud of?

MR: There’s something memorable about every project (I famously say on every project that it’s a “once in a lifetime opportunity!”) and there’s a funny story behind each of our centres.

One project that I’m particularly proud of, was at Warwick, WA where we changed over a Best & Less to an Aldi. What seems like a relatively small project at a tiny centre had a significant impact on the centre’s retail mix and its performance.

So helping improve a centre and creating developments that meet the community’s needs is an awesome feeling.

VCX: How do you achieve work-life balance?

MR: Life is short and gaining that perspective helps me find balance and appreciate the little things - oh and I always have a holiday booked!

Ever since living in Perth I love being near the water and will often be out paddleboarding to help me switch off. I’m also part of an Astro photography group so am often tripping around with them chasing the Aurora lights.

Michelle Roch Midland Gate
Michelle at the team at Midland GateCredit: Vicinity Centres

VCX: What’s your advice to team members wanted to develop their career at Vicinity?

MR: The key for people who want to progress in their career is to find someone who will be that advocate and mentor. It doesn’t have to be a formal arrangement but find people that you connect with, not necessarily in your team or department, to help you understand all the moving parts of the business and get you where you want to be.

Vicinity is great at supporting people who want to take the next step – it’s what I love about working here.

Inspired by Michelle?