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From Vacancies to Village Manager of the Year

In the serene setting of Levande’s Pine Lake retirement community on the Gold Coast, Jo Goldsborough is reflecting on how the village – and the lives of her residents – have changed for the better. 

But Jo herself has undergone something of a transformation too. With a passion for making a positive difference in the lives of residents, Jo’s journey from a marketing background to village management is a testament to her dedication and commitment.

It culminated at Levande’s gala awards ceremony in Sydney last week, where Jo was named the company’s 2023 Village Manager of the Year.

“I love being able to contribute to making a positive difference in our residents’ lives,” Jo says.

She recalls her start at Pine Lake Village nine years ago, when the community faced 33 vacancies and a somewhat subdued atmosphere. Undeterred, Jo rolled up her sleeves and got to work, focusing on improving the aesthetics of the village and community centre. As the changes unfolded, residents began to notice the positive shift in village culture, word spread, and the units started to sell.

Within just two years, Levande Pine Lake had achieved an impressive 98% occupancy rate, a success story Jo is immensely proud of.

“It’s all about creating a vibrant and welcoming community where residents can thrive,” she adds.

While Jo is passionate about her role, it’s not without its challenges. “Mediating resident-to-resident issues can be tough,” she admits.

Jo, a natural problem solver, sometimes finds it challenging when these issues cannot reach a positive outcome for all parties. But her dedication to improving the lives of her residents keeps her motivated to find solutions.

Jo’s journey to becoming a Village Manager is a fascinating one. Her career has always centred around helping people, from her role as an Advertising Manager at APN newspapers to Marketing Manager at a shopping centre in Central Queensland. It was during a training course in Sydney that she met a retirement living sales professional who recognised her potential.

After exploring the retirement village sector with fresh eyes, Jo took the leap. Three months later, she moved to Brisbane, starting as an Assistant Village Manager at Salford Waters Retirement Estate by the city’s bayside. Within 18 months, she was promoted to Village Manager at Pine Lake Village.

Since Levande’s purchase last year of 58 retirement communities across the country, including Pine Lake, Jo’s life has become even busier than usual. She actively contributed to the successful transition, helping to bed in the changes among colleagues as a member of the Village Change Agents’ Network (VCAN) and offering insights into how existing systems could be improved. While managing a major expansion of the facilities at Pine Lake, Jo also took on a secondment as Acting Area Manager for Queensland, reflecting her commitment to the organization’s growth. She exceeded her annual targets for resident settlements and for good measure, represented Levande as a panellist at a Property Council forum on retirement living.

Winning the Village Manager of the Year Award was a humbling experience for Jo.

“I was truly humbled to be nominated, let alone a finalist, so winning the Village Manager of the Year Award was amazing,” she says. She appreciates Levande’s emphasis on recognizing the efforts of its staff.

In Jo Goldsborough, Pine Lake Village and Levande have unearthed a true gem. Her journey from marketing to village management is not just a tribute to her versatility but also an inspiring story of transformation and growth. Through her tireless efforts, Jo continues to make Levande Pine Lake a place where residents truly feel at home.

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