Jessica Thomas says if the Gold Coast is to prosper, locals need to accept that the city will be changing as it provides for population growth.
The YP Gold Coast board member, who is passionate about fostering the city’s young talent, believes the city is on the verge of greatness; however it needs to embrace change and transformation.
Jessica, who was admitted as a solicitor at 22 before being promoted to an associate of law firm Short Punch & Greatorix at 24, highlights the importance of a collective voice in evolving the city as a worldly destination.
“The Gold Coast is a vibrant city that is constantly evolving and with continued proactive leadership the city will thrive,” she says.
“As young professionals, we have the opportunity to assist in the development and growth of our city so long as we are united.”
Read more in this Q&A with Jessica:
What makes the Gold Coast a great place to live and work?
Having grown up on the Gold Coast, studied on the Gold Coast and established my career on the Gold Coast makes me really appreciate the value of a true work life balance. I love the fact I can go for a run on the beach before work and then play netball and touch footy after.
Although I appreciate the time I spent working in Brisbane, having the opportunity to further my career at such an upstanding law firm on the Gold Coast makes me appreciate the opportunities available so close to home.
I wholeheartedly believe that if you have a strong work ethic, you can find that the professional opportunities and benefits that you receive working in the capital cities are also available on the Gold Coast.
Also, the fact that we are in such close proximity to other big cities - we are only an hour drive from Brisbane and an hour flight to Sydney – makes the city even more appealing.
Why are you so passionate about educating future city leaders about the Gold Coast's potential?
When I was asked to join the YP committee, I immediately grasped the opportunity as I saw this as a platform to assist with the motivation of our future city leaders by connecting professionals through various networks. It is always a good feeling to be able to call a peer that I have met through networking at a YP event, to rely on their expertise regardless of their profession.
Networking has also allowed me to grow my contact list which has been invaluable to draw on that experience when my clients are in need of advice in a different specialty.
The Gold Coast is a vibrant city that is constantly evolving and with continued proactive leadership the city will thrive. It is through organisations like YP that the city will continue on a path towards success.
In addition, the key note speakers that present at our YP events offer a diverse range of knowledge and assist with the implementation of ideas that educate those who attend. It is exciting to be part of the team that helps to inspire and motivate young professionals on the Gold Coast. It is through YP, as a collective, that we can develop this place into a world class destination where major international companies invest.
Why is it so important that the city evolves and diversifies?
The young professionals of our city have the opportunity to assist in the development and growth of our city so long as we are united.
Professionals with diverse backgrounds, interests and knowledge, as a collective are able to think laterally and provide innovative solutions for the continued growth of the Gold Coast.
Having knowledge passed down through mentors that have been in business for longer than some of us have been alive is also a great asset. As long as the young and old work together and integrate their knowledge we will do great things for the city.
What do you believe are some of the challenges the city is facing, and what can the Gold Coast do to overcome them?
There are individuals on the Gold Coast that are narrow minded when it comes to development and progression of the city. People need to accept that the Gold Coast is a young city and will be changing as it provides for population growth.
Bernard Salt says that it is more than likely that three mega regions in the next 90 years will develop around Sydney, Melbourne and south-east Queensland (Gold Coast) and that these cities will require careful urban planning. This urban planning needs to begin now.
The city’s infrastructure and transport facilities will also have to be one step ahead of the population growth to maintain the Coast’s liveability.
Lastly, let’s get cracking and develop that vacant land known as the Spit to bring in more jobs, more tourists and give the Gold Coast economy the boost and security it one day may need. People travel the world to visit the built environment and as the Spit and Broadwater south of Wave Break Island is all man made, this area could be developed to be the jewel in Gold Coast’s crown. The area north of Wave Break Island should be maintained as a natural habitat.
What needs to be done to create more jobs on the Gold Coast, and grow the city's corporate culture?
Firstly, we need sustainable development that balances the interests of all stakeholders.
Secondly, we need to attract big investors to the city. If national and international investors view the Gold Coast as a dynamic and emerging city thriving with opportunities, they will have no choice but to invest here to assist with the growth of the corporate culture.
Thirdly, we need to keep graduates on the Coast. We have top ranking secondary schools and some of the best universities in the country, if not the world, that attract local, interstate and international students to complete their tertiary studies.
Lastly, we need to lobby for the decentralisation of government departments and other major corporations from capital cities, for their head offices to relocate to “regional areas” such as the Gold Coast. Imagine if the ATO were to relocate its offices to the Gold Coast. What a boost to the local economy this would be with a boost in the number of public servants and their families living and working on the Gold Coast.
What is the city missing?
The city is missing a united voice when it comes to bettering the city as a whole. Let’s for now focus on the positives and what the city has to offer and how to grow and improve our infrastructure and current assets and opportunities rather than focus on what we are lacking.