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Facilities Management Journal July 2014

FIRST PERSON JULY 2014 55 FMJ.CO.UK CAREER LADDER Facilities management is known to be a career that people fall into from other sectors. In this regular column, FMJ chats to a facilities professional about how they got into the sector and takes a look at their career path. This month we talk to Elena Moriatou, head of facilities at Aylward Academy Name: Elena Moriatou Current role: Head of Facilities Born: Ithaca, Greece Lives: North London Education: Westminster College HND Hotel and Catering Management/MBIFM RIPHH Diploma/Nebosh ? \ $ % Shop assistant in a Greek bakery. ? \ $ ‘facilities management’? And what did you think it meant then? *%#' to support the property department by working on the project to relocate Pizza Express to a new HQ. When it was over the property director sat me down and said "right, you are now managing %¡/* * would be unblocking loos and cutting the grass all day! ? What made you choose FM as a career? It chose me! When the Pizza Express relocation was over I got stuck into the role, researched courses and continuing professional development, spoke with all facilities professionals/contractors I came into contact with and was hooked on the career. My then boss, was the CEO and an inspirational mentor who pushed me to develop my skills. ? \ $ % FM sector? Facilities manager at the newly-built HQ of Pizza Express. ? How did you progress through the profession to your current role? When I started the FM journey I did '% grommet and Wallace and Gromit! Pizza Express supported my learning and development by putting me through the Understanding FM course. The successful relocation project was a key achievement for me and I went on a steep learning curve watching the project unfold. I moved on to become the FM at the newly-opened Fashion Retail Academy in London’s West End. I completed the Professional FM Modules One and Two to further my learning. One of my successes, and thanks to my catering management background, was starting a successful events/room hire and hospitality function that grew from nothing to almost £90k in a year. Currently as head of facilities at the Aylward Academy, the last 18 ## $$% and students through a £10.5 million site redevelopment. The project (over 10 phases) once completed will have been my biggest challenge of my whole career and one that I will look back on with immense pride in the accomplishments of my teams keeping the academy functioning, safe and compliant. I have also managed to raise $ department in a school environment to the point where our contribution and input is both recognised and valued. ? ^ ($ or training in FM? And how have you $ I was fortunate to already be an experienced manager when I went into FM. I just needed practical facilities management skills and knowledge. The BIFM courses I attended were brilliant and there really is no better experience than living and breathing a major FM project. I also learnt a great deal from picking the brains of competent engineers and technicians %*#/*&# ' on and let them know they could not pull the wool over my eyes. Naturally health and safety training has featured prominently throughout my career and **U and the RIPHH Diploma. ? What was your worst ever interview? I sat in front of a semi-circle of eight interviewers who began by asking one question each in order of how they were ‡$D #S#$ succession. I was almost sea sick when it was over. I got the job though! ? Have you held any voluntary roles within the FM sector, and how have they helped your career? No – but if I had a pound every time I have been asked ‘do you know a good builder/plumber/electrician’ I may be able to retire! ? What’s changed most since you started in FM? The amount of women in senior and strategic FM roles and also the way $ recognition it deserves. ? If you could do one thing 9: what would it be? Embrace technology – I am an utter dinosaur when it comes to it! ? What would make the biggest 9: 6 how can that be achieved? Facilities is such a rewarding and exciting profession – young people should know about it. We should go into schools, work with careers advisors and sell ourselves to the kids of today to capture the next generation of FMs. ? What advice would you give to young people coming into the profession now? Always have a 'Plan B' and remember that a good team and competent contractors are the cornerstone of a successful facilities department, so treat them both with respect and strive to nurture and develop honest working relationships with both. ? How would you describe what you do to a stranger at a dinner party? I would say that I work in facilities adding that facilities comes from facilitate which means ‘to make it happen’ – which is exactly what I do! ? What qualities should a good FM possess? Incredibly organised, a meticulous $%&## diplomat when needed and must &$& customer service. Our end users are our customers and we should always treat them as such. ? What are your long-term goals for the next seven to 10 years? Firstly, to get back to the normality of proactively managing the facilities at my redeveloped academy, and long term to move into a more strategic director position. ? What matters more: challenging/ interesting work, the opportunity to | job security? Challenging and interesting work – always. Would you, or someone you know, like to be featured in our career ladder column? If you’re an operational FM with more than 10 years’ experience in the sector, then email charlie.kortens@kpmmedia.co.uk


Facilities Management Journal July 2014
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