The UPco team is made up of all sorts of characters, and every one of them has a story. Here’s just one of them.

What’s your name, and your role at UPco?

My name is Anna Kennedy and I’m an Associate Planner. I’m originally from Ireland, but moved over to Melbourne in 2010, and joined UPco about five years later.

Where do you call home now?

That’s a hard one, and the answer probably depends on who I talk to! Melbourne is probably more home now, as I’ve been here for thirteen years and have a house here. I met my husband here, too – he’s an Irishman, and we probably would never have met back home. But somehow, we managed to cross paths one Christmas. Fast forward to today and we’re married with a two-year-old.

Is there anything you miss about life in Ireland?

Family is obviously a big one. Another thing I do miss sometimes is the chatty nature of people. I’m from country Ireland and, in our town, people are always very interested in what each other is up to. You could go into the bank and end up exchanging life stories! That said, it was nice to move to Melbourne and suddenly have the sense of anonymity that a big city brings. I love a chat, but sometimes it’s nice to just be able to get on with things, without everyone needing to know every detail!

If you weren’t a planner, what would you be?

Hmm, well I would love to be doing something design-related. I’m not sure exactly what, but I love the idea of working in a team on something creative; I get really inspired by seeing how other people think.

What’s been your most memorable UPco experience?

One thing I really enjoyed was the corporate triathlon, which we did a few times. At the last one, pre-Covid, we actually got quite a big UPco team together, including some people you might not expect. It was great to do something outside work; it gave us a chance to get to know different sides of each other. In a funny way, I also appreciated the Friday night virtual drinks sessions we’d have during lockdowns… that was a memorable period for some not-so-great reasons, but getting a closer personal connection to work people was an upside.

I hear you recently made it into the 500 Women in Property for 2023 – congrats! What inspired you to apply for the program?

Well, I’d recently returned to work after having my son, and was keen to get back amongst it. The program is a great way to network and grow professionally, and I wanted to catch up on what had happened since I went on maternity leave – even though it turned out nothing had changed dramatically in that time! Planning seems to be fairly well balanced in terms of gender, although I believe there’s still work to be done to get more women into leadership positions, which seems to be the case in most industries. The 500 Women in Property program is a step in the right direction to make that happen.

In honour of IWD, who is a woman you admire and why?

Having played sports, and being part of sports teams for many years, I’ve been lucky enough to have met women from various backgrounds who excelled on the court / pitch / oval (depending on the sport) and also brought that same determination, motivation and success from the pitch to their respective industries.

I couldn’t pick just one but will say that I’ve managed to surround myself with some really great female role models, in particular here in Melbourne, who I consider to be great friends.

What are you currently watching, reading and / or listening to?

I dip in and out of different genres and tend to read whatever’s lying around. But I did go to a Florence & the Machine concert recently and had forgotten how great they are. I’d also forgotten most of the songs, so I’ve had them on high rotation to reacquaint myself! I’m probably more of an indie rock girl than anything else.

What’s one surprising fact about you?

I like to think I’m quite adventurous but I have failed at my attempts to bungee jump. And yes, there has been more than one attempt. The last time was in Queenstown, where I spent the money and did NOT get the shirt. And I mean that quite literally – we were coming home afterwards, and every other person on the bus had been given a t-shirt for completing the jump, except me!

What’s high on your bucket list?

Continuing with the adventure theme, I would like to climb to Base Camp at Mount Everest. My husband and I climbed Mount Kilimanjaro for our honeymoon, which we really enjoyed. I’ll admit I didn’t really overthink it – I just headed off thinking “We’ll be fiiiiine!” ­– and it was only once we’d set off that I realised there was actually a degree of risk involved! But it gave me a real sense of achievement. Whatever I do, I need some kind of activity component – I am not very good at lazing around.

If you went on Hard Quiz, what subject would you choose for your Expert Round?

Hmmm, well I know what I WOULDN’T choose: Irish-related things. I haven’t actually lived full time in Ireland for nearly 20 years (can’t believe it’s actually been that long!) but the accent is still going strong.  People always assume I know things about Ireland and I really do not! If I had to take a citizenship test for Ireland like I did for Australia, I wouldn’t have a hope!