Building a brilliant career: inside one woman's dream to create a new city

Building a brilliant career: inside one woman's dream to create a new city

'What is your dream?'

A question often asked and answered in similar ways; I want to buy a house, travel overseas or find the perfect job.

Ask Raynuha Sinnathamby the same question, the answer goes a little bit further.

"We have aspirations to build a new city," she says.

As managing director of the Springfield City Group, the company responsible for the master development of the greater Springfield area, Sinnathamby (pictured) and her team are certainly in a position to make that dream happen.

The Springfield City Group was originally founded by Sinnathamby's father Maha, and she joined its ranks after completing her Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree at The University of Queensland (UQ) Business School.

What was meant to be a short one-year appointment turned into two decades of stellar career progression, and now Sinnathamby proudly leads her company into its next phase of growth.

Springfield Tower

Greater Springfield is currently home to 40,000 residents and Sinnathamby says the company is chasing the ambitious target of creating 50,000 jobs for the area.

"It's an incredibly rewarding job, because every day I can look out the window and see the fruits of our labour. It's something the staff and I really enjoy," says Sinnathamby.

"You can walk or drive around and it's extremely satisfying to see, notwithstanding the fact that we believe we are only 20 per cent of the way into the project."

Sinnathamby began her career as a property lawyer after receiving a combined Law and Arts Bachelor's degree, also at UQ.

However, it wasn't until she completed her MBA that Sinnathamby discovered her leadership potential.

"We had this massive ambition to build a city, and while my legal skills were helpful there were so many other things that needed to be done," she says.

"The MBA became useful as the training gave me a very effective way of approaching problems.

"It took the blinkers off and helped me look at all the issues that the organisation came across, whether it was a cultural issue, a HR issue or a finance issue these were all confronting our company even though it was small at the time."

It wasn't long before Sinnathamby sat on the board beside her father, making decisions which would shape the future of an entire suburb.

Although her progression through the Springfield City Group has been extraordinary, Sinnathamby admits it wasn't success which tempered her career, but rather learning from failure.

Aerial view of the Springfield development

"The path is not rosy," she says.

"Certainly, we've had so many challenges and obstacles with our own project, we became so used to people in our project saying 'no you can't do this' it was almost a standard line that everyone used.

"But it became our standard line to say back, 'it's only a no until it becomes a yes'. I think failure makes us more resilient as people and gives us the ability to support others as well as cope within ourselves."

Sinnathamby's advice to other aspiring leaders is simple. Believe in yourself and seek support where it's needed.

"A lot of people often question whether they'll be able to take a step up to a top job and be able to cope with what that job demands," she says.

"You just need the confidence to take the reins and seek the support of others in becoming that leader."

Interested in finding out what it takes to become a great leader like Raynuha Sinnathamby? Register for the upcoming UQ MBA info breakfast or live webinar on Thursday, 3 May.

This article was written in partnership with The University of Queensland.

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