What does it take to become a winner at the most prestigious awards in the global FM calendar? The BIFM People Management Special Interest Group (SIG) event held at the architecturally magnificent Senate House in The University of London on 9 November set out to find the answer.
Hosting up to six events a year all focused on people in FM, this is the flagship event, celebrating winners of the ‘People’ categories in the BIFM Awards. This year’s focus was on the Newcomer and Leader of the Year. What did these people do to win, what were their secrets, and what could we learn from them?
In the setting of the grand Chancellor’s Hall at Senate House, a sell out crowd was about to find out. The hosts at The University of London welcomed everyone and gave a short and fascinating insight into the building’s history.
Putting the BIFM awards into a global context, Steve Gladwin, Chair of the BIFM judges, spelled out the importance of the awards; the criteria for entry, the selection process, and the due diligence of the judges, mean that those who are shortlisted are already at the top of their game. Gladwin also outlined what the positive impact of winning an award would mean for their career or business in the future.
Conrad Dinsmore, Newcomer of the Year, a 23 year old with a story to tell, then spoke passionately about his early family life in Ireland, and helping his father with the family building business. This was what he felt was ‘setting the foundations’ to his career, and as he grew older he developed a real interest in what happens to buildings after they are built.
Academic knowledge was high on his list and being accepted into the ISS graduate programme was a major turning point. This enabled him the opportunity to gain experience and learn from as many people as he could in the wider FM world. Network as much as you are able, was his advice. Attend as many events and ask as many questions as you can. Winning this award he said, was ‘The unthinkable’.
His mantra is: The future belongs to those who prepare for it today. And Dinsmore is a young man who is certainly doing that.
Leader of the Year, Andrew Smart, gave his vision of what a leader is. Not a person out on their own, but someone who is part of a team and who gives that team the opportunity to develop and work together to achieve the highest results. Giving personal, sporting and business analogies as examples of how training and teamwork pay the highest dividends, Smart’s presentation started with the question, ‘Is becoming Leader of the Year the end?’ and throughout his presentation it became evident that it most certainly is not, because as a leader you keep learning and developing. Smart finished with ‘This is just one stage in my life and the next stage is just beginning’.
A fascinating Q&A with the panel of speakers facilitated by Liz Kentish then led into an interactive workshop.
What we now wanted to find out was how to develop a plan for putting in an award submission, or encouraging others to do so. The audience was asked in their groups to come up with their top three tips for starting that journey. These included, networking; joining a professional body; raising your profile and learning from others.
During the workshop it was discovered that those in attendance had over 800 years of combined experience in FM. Now that’s a network for future award winners to tap into!