5 Mins with Q & A

14th June 2022

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In our series of ‘5 minutes with…’ interviews, we meet the people behind the projects:

What does project management mean to you? 

It is as much about managing people as it is about being organised, proactive, process driven and problem solving.  

Interaction with people is at the heart of all of it, and I really enjoy working within a team, because people see things in different ways. It’s good to see people using their strengths to work together, approaching challenges from completely different angles to find solutions and pathways that succeed.  

Which clients do you work with? 

Currently I predominantly work with Threadneedle Curtis on the World Freight Terminal, part of Manchester Airport Group.  

Why did you choose to work in the commercial property sector? 

I’m interested in building spaces where people can work together and interact together. The sort of spaces that people enjoy and use to its full potential. The intention with all my projects is that buildings are designed to be sustainable and also to encourage good healthy lifestyle habits, both physically, mentally and socially.  

What has been your standout moment at Workman so far? 

Meeting everybody in the office – especially after the pandemic. It’s vibrant and interesting and there’s different people to talk to. Everybody’s friendly, and it’s an inclusive environment where I’m part of a team of creative and lateral thinkers. 

Tell us how you have put your project experience and training to its best use on a Venture project? 

Having completed Prince2 Foundation and Practitioner levels, and with a degree in property development and interior design, there are definitely aspects of that training that I use all the time. It filters through everything I do. 

What’s been your biggest project management challenge so far? And how did you overcome it? 

In one particular project, a client had originally specified they wanted to achieve BREEAM’s ‘Very Good’ rating. Later, they decided they wanted to be more in line with industry standards and go for BREEAM Excellent.  

We were already further into the design stage than would usually be ideal to make that kind of decision. Therefore we were against the clock to achieve a better sustainability rating, but we knew this was important to the client and their future tenants. Although this was a warehousing and logistics project, the sustainability rating had become a large part of the project. So we worked with our BREEAM assessors and consultants to secure further credits to achieve the ‘Excellent’ rating.  

What are your spare time pursuits and how do they contribute to your role at Workman?  

I enjoy travel, yoga, and hiking. Both help centre the mind, and to challenge what you feel is achievable and encourage you to keep going when things get hard.  

I try to take this forward into all aspects of my life; especially work. 

It’s particularly relevant with hiking. Even if you feel like you can’t keep going, you have to. It feels good to have reached a set goal – whether it’s a distance or a peak that you want to climb – hiking means that you challenge yourself.  

And sometimes, just like with project management, you have to alter your approach according to the people or situations.  

What’s been your most significant achievement outside work, and what did it teach you? 

I went travelling for 11 months, and although I had not intended for it to be a solo travel trip, most of this time I was travelling alone. During my travels, I completed yoga teacher training, I worked in various hostels, I spent time in an ashram in Colombia, I painted murals in a Spanish school.  

Essentially, I packed in a lot of activities that helped me work out who I am and what I want from life.  

The experience taught me resilience, self-discipline and how to be comfortable with being uncomfortable. It taught me to trust myself and others, and to squeeze every last drop out of life that you can; to seize opportunities when they’re there, because there might not be another chance.  

What’s your favourite building worldwide and why? 

I lived and worked in a very old Lake District hotel; Lancrigg Hotel and Kitchen for six months. It was beautiful, at the bottom of a hill called Helm Crag in Grasmere. The building was higgledy-piggledy with odd sets of staircases going to individual rooms – it oozed charm and character. The poet William Wordsworth used to stay there with his sister, and I can see why. The setting was stunning, with wonderful gardens that wild deer would wander through in the early mornings. The dining room looked out over the over the valley, and no matter what the weather – if the sun was shining or there was an enormous rain cloud – the view was always beautiful. It holds a special place in my heart, because it was a stunningly beautiful place to live and work.