Pink Beluga – changing it up for school leavers

May 17, 2022

Without realising it, Keystone Trust and Pink Beluga have been linked on many different levels.

Pink Beluga is Keystone Trust’s newest sponsor and when the Keystone management team met at their offices, we instantly knew there were connections. The Pink Beluga team are based in what were the offices of founding trustee and real estate leader, Deborah Kelland, and the office fit-out is being led by outstanding architect and artist, Raukura Turei, who was a Study Award recipient in 2006.

“We just love working with Rau,” says Russell Thompson, company co-founder.

“She is such an empathetic designer, and her use of colour and light is not just reflected in her artworks, but also her interior design skills. We had no idea she was associated with Keystone but now that we do, it just adds to why we decided to support the Trust.

“For the Pink Beluga team, supporting Keystone is about more than doing the right thing, it’s about being the very best company we can be, to our clients, our staff and our community. The pandemic has exacerbated tough times for Kiwi families, and we realised we needed to use our position to enable others.

“It is an absolute privilege to support such incredible young people on their journey. I just wish I’d had someone do this for me when I was trying to find my path after I left school,” Thompson adds.  

Pink Beluga has established a Key School Leaver Scholarship in partnership with Keystone Trust and the Department of Property, The University of Auckland Business School.

This scholarship will support a school leaver for three years with an annual scholarship of $5,000 plus mentoring, work placement, experience and an introduction to the industry.

“Knowing we can support a young person in living their dream is what really inspired us to join Keystone Trust and when they introduced us to two of their current students who spoke their stories and shared with us how the Trust has changed their lives, we really felt we are in the best hands to make this change happen.”

Pink Beluga was founded seven years ago by Russell Thompson and his business partner Mark Finlay.

Both are experienced property developers and business owners who also own LEP Construction, which is a commercial and residential construction company, and also a childcare Tiny Voices.

Having such a diverse company portfolio brings many different skill-sets and the scholarship recipient will be exposed to the various companies. 

The firm has an impressive number of projects underway, with hands in the residential, commercial, and industrial development sectors as well as property management, funding, and investments.

“From acting as an underwriter on a $45 million deep-water logging port project on the East Cape, to award-winning residential developments across Auckland, we can offer invaluable exposure to industry intricacies with on-the-job learning that can fit around a student’s academic commitments,” Thompson says.

Billed as an ‘all round’ property services company, Pink Beluga notes more than $200 million in completed developments and a diverse investment portfolio that sees them constantly seeking new opportunities.

For Keystone Trust’s General Manager, Amanda Stanes, working alongside such a tight entrepreneurial and dedicated team who have a real passion for the industry and have already had experience helping other young people reach their full potential, is very exciting.

“Offering a school leaver such an incredible opportunity to gain such insights into the sector across such a breadth of typologies will give this young person a huge leg up into their future,” says Stanes.

“The ultimate goal is to create pathways with a view to employment beyond tertiary study and we know that the team of Rory, Debby, Scott, Helen, Mark and Russell will make this happen.”

And why the name “Pink Beluga”?

Thompson let slip it is the combination of nicknames for he and his co-founder Mark Finlay.

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