Rachael never expected to end up in property, but found her feet after starting out as a receptionist in a facilities management company. Her flair for organisation and communication meant she quickly moved up the ranks and she is now responsible for five buildings. Jones Lang LaSalle operates in more than 450 cities in over 50 countries, and is an industry leader in property and corporate facilities management services with a portfolio of over one billion square feet worldwide.
What do you do in your position?
Jones Lang LaSalle is the outsourced representative to manage buildings on behalf of the Victorian Government. I look after five government-owned commercial buildings as well as various government-leased properties.
I work with many people: contractors, such as electricians, plumbers and builders who conduct the work; account managers who oversee the contractors; and tenant representatives who represent each government department. Liaising with clients is a little bit more high-level and strategic as I discuss long-term objectives like capital works.
I kind of fell into it like a lot of people in the industry. I come from a non-technical background and started out as a receptionist for a facilities company. The coordination, management and communication aspects appealed to me greatly and, after a few months of being a receptionist, the company put me in the role of facilities coordinator. From there, I slowly progressed up to the role of facilities manager.
No, but coming from a non-technical background can be more of a hindrance than an advantage. I completed a graduate certificate in project management with a major facilities component, which has helped considerably. I am now studying for a Master’s of Facilities Management.
The coordination – I’m a bit of a neat freak and I like a little bit of control. It’s rewarding to see the building running effectively. I also like the regular communication with tenants and contractors – the opportunity to make solid relationships.
The paperwork! One of the things that we are trying to drive at Jones Lang LaSalle is working smarter, not harder. Facilities management seems to be about the paperwork, dotting the i’s and crossing the t’s, but we are attempting to avoid burying ourselves in paper, focusing instead on the big picture.
The ability to stay calm is crucial. When you have a lot of people getting upset over various issues, you need to be able to stay calm, stay focused and just get the job done.
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