Latest trustee appointment a testament to impact

July 25, 2023


 In a rather satisfying full-circle journey that’s taken her from student to industry leader, 2006 Keystone Trust Key Scholarship recipient Simone Sharp is the latest appointment to the charity’s Board of Trustees.

Ms Sharp is the third alumni network member to take a seat at the trustee table after fellow alumni members Corrina Gibbons-Hurinui (2000) and current trustee Tamati Parker (2004).


“The Trustees are delighted to have Simone join the Board.  She is a passionate and dedicated supporter of the Trust and her experience and career journey will be valuable as the Trust continues to evolve how we best support our students,” says Board of Trustees Chair George Crawford.

“These appointments reflect the maturity of the trust in that alumni are at a time in their careers and lives where enduring commitment inspires current and future students of the pathways open to them,” says Keystone Trust General Manager Amanda Stanes.  

Words don’t quite justify the pride radiating from Ms Sharp as she explains what Keystone – New Zealand’s preeminent property education charity – means and the excitement with which she approaches her new role.

“I am thrilled to join the Board of Trustees at what I know first-hand is a life-changing organisation which continues to lead positive change across New Zealand’s property and construction sectors,” she says.

A career change some 17 years ago saw her join the Keystone Trust whānau, whereby she became founding sponsor Bayleys Real Estate’s first Key Scholarship (KSP) recipient, earning financial and career support from the organisation as she completed a Bachelor of Property degree at the University of Auckland.

Since graduation, Ms Sharp has impressed industry leaders with her tenacity and passion for progress, which has seen her hold various positions at organisations associated with the trust.

She has earned further recognition as the 2021 RICS (Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors) New Zealand Woman of the Built Environment award winner.  

In an expansive career, she has gleaned experience from roles at Upper North Island project management firm Pragmatix, international engineering consultancy Coffey, Australian social infrastructure project management firm Aurora Projects, independent project management firm The Building Intelligence Group (TBIG), and her current professional home as NZ Practice Lead for Project and Construction Management at multinational engineering and infrastructure consultancy AECOM.

Ms Stanes says Simone is an incredible advocate for the charity and has been instrumental in lengthening its reach as Chair of the Alumni Association, mentor, student leader, and constant pillar of support.

“Simone personifies the trust’s values and innately responds to the concept of guardianship, always looking for a way to improve, develop and help others to thrive. She is the natural choice for the next seat on the Board of Trustees, and we are thrilled she will herald in the next chapter of progress for our organisation.”  

Ms Sharp echoes the sentiments of guardianship, noting the unique thrill she receives from seeing the trust take care of its people and be taken care of in return.

“The Alumni Association has grown so strong, thanks to the depth of value our former students see in the trust, which wouldn’t be possible without the genuine care the entire sponsor network provides when helping to break down barriers and unlock new career opportunities for our people.”

She says the trust has been instrumental in her career progression and has limitless gratitude for the industry leaders who have supported her professional aspirations.

“A memory which just personifies the trust for me dates back to the beginning of my career when former trustee and industry titan Paul Duffy extended an invitation for work experience at then-property investment firm Dominion Funds.

“The chance to gain industry exposure across disciplines including property management, finance and business operations was invaluable, and that opportunity at such a pivotal point in my professional education continues to inform my view of what it means to be a leader,” she says.

As far as the future goes, Simone is ecstatic to get stuck into her new role as trustee and looks forward to the ongoing personal development that will invariably come with it.

Driven by the opportunity to effect change while progressing the interests of the trust, Simone looks forward to helping students achieve more than they ever thought possible.

Now in its third decade of operation, Simone says it has been incredible to see the tireless mahi of early trust leaders like founders Binty Bringans and Paul Duffy come to fruition, demonstrated by the full-circle nature of her own appointment as trustee.


Amanda Stanes                                                                             
Keystone Trust – General Manager                                             
M: 021 689 380

Simone Sharp
AECOM – NZ Practice Lead, Project and Construction Management Technical Director
M: 022 230 79679

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