Joanne Johnson

Joanne Johnson

Project Director, Northcote and Oranga, Large Scale Projects, Kāinga Ora – Homes and Communities
Bachelor of Business in Commercial Law

Participating in the Shadow a Leader programme was one of the highlights of her time at AUT, says Joanne Johnson who completed her studies in 2015 and now works as a project director for Kāinga Ora – Homes and Communities.

“As a business student, I shadowed John Dakin, the CEO of Goodman Property as well as his chief finance officer and chief operating officer. They shared insights as to the company’s metrics when assessing property, analysing assets and their tenant pool, and we visited commercial property that Goodman built and leased.

“It was interesting to learn how Goodman constantly reviews its portfolio to divest of poor performing assets, and acquires and maintains assets that perform within its company metrics.”

Now working in a high-level role at Kāinga Ora, she hopes to inspire other students as a Shadow a Leader mentor herself.

“I got so much value out of the Shadow a Leader programme when I was a student, and now I want to offer the same invaluable insights to another student. I’m a project director for Kāinga Ora’s large-scale projects in Northcote and Oranga, and I want to show the student the magnitude of housing works Kāinga Ora is undertaking, and the vast range of skills and job opportunities there are in the housing sector. They will also be able to gain an insight into how the Government operates.”

Remembering her studies
Coming to AUT as an adult student with a successful career in property law and property finance, Joanne still has fond memories of her time at university.

“I chose AUT because the Bachelor of Business in Commercial Law, with a minor in Management, was highly relevant to my career. No other university offered a diverse commercial legal qualification other than a Bachelor of Laws at that time.

“I appreciated that the degree built on the Legal Executive Certificate and the legal property skills I already had, providing me with a broad base in many legal disciplines. That has greatly enhanced my career. My time at AUT was also a great opportunity to meet new people and discover my strengths and weaknesses.”

Because she was studying part-time on top of her busy career, graduation day felt like a milestone.

“Graduation Day after 13 years of study was one of my proudest achievements, and it was great to be invited to join the Beta Gamma Sigma honours society as a reflection of all my hard work throughout my studies.”

Advice for other students
Joanne has some great advice for other students who are just at the start of their university journey.

“My advice for other students is to surround yourself with people who pull you up.”

She also emphasizes the importance of networking.

“Networks are vital, so build and nurture them. You should also make sure to ask for advice; not a job.”

*Commercial Law is no longer offered as a major in the Bachelor of Business, but many students combine their business studies with a Bachelor of Laws instead.