In my time in the sector, I am so grateful to have had the opportunity to meet and cross paths with so many wonderful industry stalwarts, that continue to inspire my passion for the sector. Trevor Beattie, Senior Village Manager, Lendlease is just one of them who’s path I am grateful to have crossed.
This week I had the great opportunity to spend some time with Trevor as he celebrated the commencement of his 23rd year as a Village Manager.
Prior to becoming a Village Manager, Trevor was a Sargent in the Victorian Police Force for some 19 years, working in the Video Operations Unit where he was part of the Hoddle Street investigations and other Homicide Scenes. He finished his career in VicPol at the mounted police, so I asked him what made him think to be a Village Manager?
Trevor’s Journey with LendLease
He shared that he realised when his kids hit school age, he wanted to be present. By chance he had developed a great friendship with the Village Manager, Brian Robinson, at Pepper Tree Hill village where his mother-in-law lived.Brian suggested he give it a go.
So that he did. In 1998 Trevor started with Retirement by Design as Village Manager at Forrest Hill. He went onto manage Fiddlers Green Village and has now been the Village Manager at Waterford Park Village since 2012. Trevor said, since the early days of Retirement by Design, he has been part of Lendlease Retirement Living as they’ve grown to be one of the largest, and arguably one of the best, village operators in Australia.
The new landscape
I asked Trevor what he thought had changed for Village Managers since 1998 he shared “as technology has improved out of sight and safety & risk are understandably a much higher priority, we do spend more time at our desks these days. The media’s role has evolved too, it seems to have a larger influence on resident opinion and the communities view of villages”.
Trevor also shared that resident knowledge and expectations have changed with residents being made more aware of their rights and their entitlements. They ask a lot more in-depth questions, and don’t hesitate to seek further information or get advice to ensure they are well informed.
Trevor has seen the industry move from broad acre villages to high-rise, the introduction of important industry frameworks like Accreditation, and witness to the retirement of many industry characters and contributors that were key to his own learnings.
It is obvious his dedication to community and the residents is paramount when I asked him what keeps his enthusiasm for his role it was simply “to make a difference in others’ lives”.
He went onto share he thinks he is “addicted to the happiness that evolves from the resident community”. “It’s the fun times I look forward to – the functions with Elvis impersonators, singing, line dancing and the good old fashion fun we have as a community”. There is also the annual Commemorative Anzac Day Service which the residents cherish being a part of.
Trevor shared how his family have been on this journey with him from the age of 6 his children have joined in community events. For the past 3 years his son an ex-serviceman has participated in the Anzac service at the village.
Trevor’s Advice for the future Village Managers
He went on to share that he also believes it is important to be an active participant of the industry. Whether it is by:
- Attending industry events
- Maintaining a strong peer network to remind you of where you’ve come from, reminisce with and to be inspired by
- Becoming an accreditation surveyor
- Keeping abreast of industry activity or having the opportunity to mentor others
All of the above has been important to stay engaged with the wider industry.
I had to ask him if he had any advice for new village managers….
- Acknowledge the experience of residents – if I have 255 residents at an average age of 84yrs old that is 21,420 years of experience I can tap into!
- You can keep some of the people happy some of the time but not all of the people happy all of the time! And that is OK.
In our wrap up I jokingly asked Trevor, or Fossil as he is warmly known by his team, would you ever live in a village (I know I would)…
And with the biggest smile he said, “well, Jodie, I will be. Pam & I have just put a deposit on a beautiful new home to be built at St Johns Rise by Benetas, just 20 minutes from the village”.
And with that I knew instantly why Trevor & I had bonded so quickly!
Our true joint love & belief in the benefits of community and long-term passion for the industry!