To mark World FM Day 2021 - Celebrating FM: Standing tall beyond the pandemic, Facilitate is featuring the stellar operational workplace and facilities managers who continue to support their colleagues, organisation and broader economy.
What do you do?
I am a facilities manager based at the Bellerbys College Brighton. My key responsibility is meeting industrial standards across all four sites and to deliver customer-focused services.
What attracted you to FM, and how did you get into the industry?
Joining FM was an exciting opportunity offering a challenging, varied role. The role is constantly evolving and proposing development opportunity for improvement. For me, it was a natural progression from a hospitality environment to specialised technical cleaning services that lead to full FM responsibilities. I was attracted to the idea of creating a perfect environment.
How long have you been in your current role?
Two years of keeping the show on the road.
Do you see yourself predominantly as a task or a people manager?
It’s the balance between both. I look for a collaborative, successful environment. Collaboration, values, understanding working together are key focus for me. My goal is finding a right way to get the job done – it takes an engaged team and being proactive to obtain feedback from frontline staff.
Would you describe your role as predominantly operational or strategic?
Predominately operational, but I am fortunate to get development opportunities to look at some strategic planning.
How many people are there in your FM/Workplace team, and to whom does the FM team ultimately report?
My team consists of about 25 members. We also have close working relationship with the external security team and other contractors. I report to the head of property services.
My top perk at work is…
I love to learn and this role provided an opportunity to obtain varied sought-after qualifications to continue my professional development. I also get benefit from a car parking space in the city centre.
What has been your biggest career challenge to date?
Replacing several kilometres of hot water pipework in our residential block with 376 students on site. This was only one of six major projects being undertaken at that point. All achieved with minimal disruption
If you could change one thing about the industry, what would it be?
FM becoming a key stakeholder. FM contribution to profitability of business, productivity and wellbeing ask for the need to be engaged with relevant decisions. More holistic approach to be taken on board.
Any interesting tales to tell?
In my previous life, I was filming underwater videos and came across some rear species. I loved the Dugong much more than the sharks.
If I wasn’t in facilities management, I’d probably be…
As a teen, I wanted to be a FBI agent but I was born on the wrong continent. I have got passion for making novelty cakes, so possibly a pâtissier.
Which “FM myth” would you most like to put an end to?
It’s a male-dominated industry in which women cannot succeed. I’ve worked for numerous clients and I can honestly say my gender has never adversely affected my ability or position.
What single piece of advice would you give to a young facilities/workplace manager starting out?
Learn from your mistakes and grow from your experiences. Before you achieve success you nearly always face temporary defeat – sometimes total failure – and the easiest thing in the world is to just walk away. And that is what most people do. Success is about having the backbone to work a way through.
What was the weirdest day you’ve had in the office?
When I met Karren Brady, who is an idol of mine. While escorting her to deliver one of her motivational speeches, I was completely star-struck and unable to speak. Very unlike me.
Early bird or night owl?
I can be both but mostly an early bird. I like to do my mindfulness and yoga in the morning.
What FM job in the world would you love more than anything?
I adore speed so working for F1 Group would be a dream job. I love their culture, team spirit and innovation.
And where would FM be an absolute nightmare?
In an environment where excellence and fairness don’t go hand in hand.
Your life outside FM mostly involves…
Keeping fit and exercise that involves being outside. Pre-Covid, I loved to travel and experience new countries and cultures. I try to support my local charities. I also enjoy theatre, cinema, eating out, socialising and salsa dancing.
Marketa Urubova is the facilities manager at Bellerbys College Brighton