An interesting woman

By Rhonda Dredge

When Lynne Wenig moved into one of the earliest office building conversions in 1995 she found the CBD quite bland but she soon discovered she had the skills to make a home here.

Her father had been a graphic designer in New York and she had lived in Manhattan during her formative years. 

She was also a high-flyer herself and the city was the place to be for someone with corporate connections.

Now Lynne is 82 and has had 25 years of experience in dealing with both the annoyances and pleasures of a postcode 3000 address.

Most of the annoyances relate to garbage trucks but she thinks she’s got them under control. 

“We put in a request [to council] to restrict hours but every eight or nine months there’s a new collector and we have to do it again.”

The pleasures involve meeting friends and mentoring business people in management skills, particularly time.

Lynne likes to be punctual and time management is at the heart of her professional work. She has written two books on the topic, one for business and the other for the general public, a pretty, little how-to called Saving Time.

“I worked as an academic for a while,” she said. “I sat down with my professor. Do I go and do a PhD or do I write a book about time management?”

“He asked how long would it take me to type 100,000 words and do 50 interviews? I decided it would be easier to do the book. I had a lot of ideas about time management.” 

Her witty suggestions include making a daily appointment with yourself to make sure you’re doing okay and using primary colours for your diaries so they’re easily visible around the house.

Lynne’s own decorating style is elegant, light and spacious. Her father’s lovely little line painting of the famous New York skyline hangs in her study which in turn looks out through the upper branches towards a series of recently-built, modernist skyscrapers. 

Directly ahead is the blue building, a perfectly rectangular structure with large tiles of different shades, and to the left are other residential buildings, which Lynne has watched grow.

“They came in the night and the floors slotted in. It took several nights,” she said.

She’s hoping she won’t be closed in totally by buildings and she has to keep the windows shut to cut out the noise of construction across the street at the Paragon above the Celtic Club.

Lynne was a commissioner during the Kennett years when the councils of many municipalities were sacked to make way for amalgamation and she knows that managers have to make hard decisions. 

Saying “no” is on her list of time-management strategies. Despite that, she sits on the boards of charities and is actually quite lenient when someone is late.

‘The first time I accept it, and the second but the third? I’ve told people I can’t cope with waiting more than 15 minutes,” she said. 

She was also trained in how to handle the press during her commissioner days.

“If a journalist asks you a question you make your answer boring, so uninteresting the journalist gives up and doesn’t want to pursue it.” 

Thankfully Lynne has given up that practice and is better known in the city as an interesting woman, having organised lunches at Florentino’s for up to 120 interesting women at a time.

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