Our Women of Defence: Kelly Poniris

Project Director for Defence

April 18, 2024

Our partnership with the Department of Defence enables our team to develop their careers in ways that are tailored to their ambitions. Kelly Poniris, Project Director at JLL, has been a proactive leader in all Defence projects she has been involved in, having spent the past six years delivering for her clients.

Kelly started working as an Assistant Project Manager on the Defence account in Darwin. Through consistency, agility, and flexibility she has risen the ranks to Project Director and has relocated to Sydney. What sets Kelly apart is her measured approach to project management, consistently thinking ahead and moving with flexibility. This has meant that the customer, JLL and the community are always front of mind for Kelly.

The other key factor to Kelly’s success is her active engagement in Defence activity beyond the parameters of her role. She’s involved in JLL’s Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) and Veteran Engagement Working Groups, and represents JLL at Defence events and conferences. In 2020, Kelly won the Australian Institute of Project Management’s (AIPM) National Future Project Leader Award. This nationally recognised award was a direct reflection of Kelly’s accountability, proactivity, and solutions-focused approach to the projects she manages.

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JLL’s Project and Development Services (PDS) team is renowned for its tight-knit and supportive culture. For Kelly, the support she receives from her colleagues on the Defence account within PDS has enabled her to consistently deliver to the best of her ability and encourage those around her to do the same. Her involvement in all available leadership, learning and development and mentorship programs with JLL has given Kelly broad exposure to the business, particularly to women in leadership positions. 

Where there have been many projects on the Defence Estate that have challenged Kelly, these have ultimately been opportunities to develop and grow. Her positive approach has meant that Kelly’s continually looking for what good has come of a situation, where the opportunities are and what she can control. 

Kelly is setting herself as a leader in the project management and Defence industries, and we look forward to seeing what she achieves in her new home in Sydney.

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