Behind the Brand – Helen Lund

It’s the 4th edition of ‘Behind the Brand’ and this week we’re catching up with Helen Lund, our Director of Training. Helen joined us in January 2017 having spent 10 years in operational FM and achieving her BIFM Level 5 Diploma (here’s an account of her experience studying for the qualification). As well as overseeing the training division, Helen also undertakes assignments for our FM Consultancy business. Outside of work, Helen is an accomplished runner and a Fitbit fanatic!

What made you choose FM as a career?

I don’t think I did – FM chose me! I wanted an easy life from being a Mortgage Manager after my little boy was born and convinced myself I’d be happy with a little office admin role that had been mis-posted within the banking sector adverts online. I applied, got it and within 3 months I was managing a portfolio of properties throughout the North. The rest is history as they say!

What does it take to be successful in FM?

Aside from the knowledge, all the usual attributes – communication, passion, enthusiasm, patience, sense of humour!! Then FM is a team role and therefore we all have something to bring. Think Belbin – I’m a plant, shaper and completer-finisher! I definitely have the attention to detail and I like things to be thought through and finished properly! I am a bit OCD like that

What are the most enjoyable aspects of your job?

I love it all! I get the best of both worlds as I have now moved into teaching, mentoring and supporting students through their FM qualification, yet I am still involved in the Operational side of FM through our consultancy division so I can stay totally up to date and also experience FM in new contexts

What aspects of your job didn’t you expect?

I don’t think there is anything so far that I didn’t expect – but it is still early days! I think a blue tu-tu may be coming my way….!!

What are your predictions for the FM industry beyond 2017?

Ooooh – I think Brexit is going to give it a good shake over the next couple of years. Technology will also play a big part and I also hope that more employers will give consideration to the working environment and look at innovative ways of working that get the most out of employees and supports the environment – working from home is the way to go!

What do you wish you had known about the industry before you joined?

What it actually was! Like I said before – I stumbled into FM by accident. I don’t even think I knew I was in FM until I did my Level 5 BIFM and the penny started to drop!

Describe yourself in three words

Enthusiastic.

Caring.

Misunderstood!

Although a Xenon student recently described me as “Zebedee on Acid” – that’s 3 words?

What was your first job?

A cashier in Natwest Bank. I loved playing with money as a kid. It was either that, or teaching…..!

Who has influenced your career most and why?

A building surveyor I worked with in a previous life. He took me under his wing and really helped to define the path that I was to follow. Without him I wouldn’t be sitting here writing this today. Oh, and of course Sue and David at Xenon!!

What is the best piece of advice you’ve been given?

Don’t listen to advice! Follow your heart (and sometimes your head!)

What is the skill you would most like to have?

Running a sub 3:30 marathon – I can dream!

What is on your desk?

Is there a desk under that paper…???

What are you passionate about?

It has to be my family and black cat Tommy! Aside from that, fitness, Formula 1, shopping – the usual?

Who is your business hero?

I would have to say Richard Branson. He breaks the rules and it works! (Anyone detecting a bit of a theme here – see Sue Morris and Naomi Birch – ed)

Describe your perfect day away from work.

Relaxing, sitting in my garden in the sun, glass of wine would also help. Just generally chilling and being happy with my family

What is your greatest work achievement?

Regional Mortgage Manager of the Year whilst I worked at the Halifax. A huge hotel ceremony and a big presentation. I was pretty chuffed with that – I even received an Oscar for it!

What is your favourite quote/motto?

Live, love, laugh

What is the best/worst quality in a leader?

Being unable to lead! Just forcing your way through everything with ignorance and disregard.

The best leaders push their team forward

What can’t you live without?

My bike – Betsy.

What are your Career ambitions?

At the moment I feel like I have achieved them but I am pretty sure, once I have settled down into the role, I will start to get curious about my next career step at Xenon! Level 6 beckons first……

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