Talking FM with Sue Gott

As a Senior Facilities Manager at Hallmark and the North Region Chair for BIFM Sue Gott has an extensive 20 years of experience within the FM industry. We speak to Sue Gott to find out more about her career and learn about the first  BIFM North Region Social Responsibility Project for The Retreat York.

Sue, you are the Senior Facilities Manager within the Group Property Services at Hallmark. Tell us a little bit about your role.

Like everyone who works in the FM industry the role is varied, can at times be challenging but really enjoyable. I currently have responsibilities for 3 main sites covering over 100 acres and 24 acres of protected woodland (HO, Manufacturing & Distribution) in the West Yorkshire area, 25 satellite sites, including retail, throughout UK and Ireland. My responsibilities extend to our fleet of 200 company cars for our field based personnel.  Outside of my Hallmark Role I am also the BIFM North Region chair with over 1800 members, a role which is fully supported by Hallmark.

With over 20 years within the industry your career experience in FM is extensive. Was FM always an industry you wanted to enter?

Actually no, I left college after training as a short hand typist but after having my children I was not sure what career path I wanted to take.  After a number of part time jobs I answered a very strange job advertisement which didn’t say what the job was or who you would be working for but all training would be given. I took a leap of faith applied for the job and on my first day  found I would be working for the world’s first 24/7 telephone bank which is now known as first direct.  I fell into the FM role after about 2 years when I moved to manage some of the back office functions.

How has your career developed over the 20 years you have worked within the industry? 

I have been very lucky with the companies I have worked as they have provided the necessary training and development to achieve your goals.  I first began to supervise in the post room, then took on dealing with the cleaning contracts and found that during a small desk configuration I had a flare for space planning as well as project management and became involved in the project team for the new builds in both Leeds and Scotland for first direct.  My role at Hallmark has also grown with the experience I have gained over the 20 years to become the Senior Facilities Manager managing the FM soft services contracts for each of the sites.  Having a great management structure behind you for you to learn, in particular Ian Broadbent and Catherine Tyrrell, has enable my role, skills and knowledge to grow.

What excites you most about your role as a Senior Facilities Manager at Hallmark?

The fact that my daily to do list normally goes in the bin at around 8:00 in the morning.  As all facilities managers know we constantly have to re-plan our day as we never know what will hit us.  Hence we will never get bored, that’s for sure.  I think as an FM I get to see some of the fruits of my labour and how that can have a positive impact in the daily lives of my colleagues.   I wholeheartedly feel the FM industry is here to enable the companies we work for succeed and not just to support them.

Tell us about your role as North Region Chair for BIFM and how that came about.

Steve Roots was a fantastic chair and ambassador for the Institute, but after undertaking the role as North Region Chair for four year felt it was time to hand over the seat.   Initially I did not feel I could fill Steve’s shoes and did not originally put my name in the frame to succeed him as I had only been a member of the main committee for the last two years.  After being approached by a number of committee members who asked me to consider standing I decided to put my name forward, one of the members proposed my selection which was seconded and in the final election at the AGM I was lucky enough to win the vote.

The BIFM North Region Social Responsibility Project was announced at this year’s BIFM North Summer Ball. Tell us more about the project and how people can get involved.

The Retreat York is a not-for-profit specialist mental health care provider, working with the NHS to provide care for people with complex and challenging needs.

Their Recovery College Wing, where we will be working, have plans to work with adolescent males who suffer from anorexia which is a growing concern but not spoken about as much as the same issues with adolescent females.  The work we will be undertaking for them will help to save their own resources to help and support their future goals.  Anyone who would like to get involved can email me at , twitter message @BIFM_North or  LinkedIn BIFM North

Tell us one interesting fact about yourself.  

Not that you can tell now but I did represent Yorkshire on the trampoline.

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