Behind the brand – Naomi Birch

In the first of a series of posts taking a closer look at the people behind the Xenon Group brand, we caught up with Naomi Birch. Naomi is our Training Manager, but also doubles up as a tutor, assessor and head of special projects. Before joining us she was a regional facilities manager for one of the ‘Big 4′ accountancy firms and studied with us for her BIFM Level 5 Diploma.

She’s also a huge, huge Bon Jovi fan – make of that what you will….

What made you choose FM as a career?

It was purely by accident, I took a temporary role as an FM Administrator when I returned from travelling with the intention of saving up and disappearing again. 13 years later…

What does it take to be successful in FM?

A positive solution based approach to challenges, the ability to communicate with people at all levels in an organisation and most importantly a thick skin! It also helps if you can be flexible and adaptable as no day will go to plan and will be full of surprises and new priorities.

What are the most enjoyable aspects of your job?

Now I’m in training I really enjoy opening up those students quite new to FM to the possibilities in the profession and to realise the value of what they do so they can be proud of the part they play in an organisation.

When working as an FM it was always seeing the results of a long term project being finalised

What aspects of your job didn’t you expect?

Expect anything and everything!

Personally when I started out in FM I never expected to be standing at the front of a classroom teaching others about it

What are your predictions for the FM industry beyond 2017?

More regulation, and going ever more virtual, technology drives so many of the changes

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

I’m not sure as being perfectly honest I had no idea what it was when I joined, maybe some insght before would have been helpful? Or maybe it would have scared me off?!

Describe yourself in three words




What was your first job?

Working in an ice cream parlour

Who has influenced your career most and why?

My first manager in my initial FM Administrator role, he gave me every opportunity possible for development, experience and training and trusted me to take on more and more leading to my qualifications and eventual Regional FM position

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

Ignore the opinion of others, though in the workplace perhaps not always applicable…

What is the skill you would most like to have?

The ability to influence anyone to get exactly what I want!

What is on your desk?

My laptop, notebook, pen, empty mugs, a photo of my wedding day and a signed photo of Jon Bon Jovi

What are you passionate about?

Being outdoors, spending time with my family

Who is your business hero?

A bit predictable but probably Richard Branson, does everything he wants, accepts failure and seems like a very nice chap

Describe your perfect day away from work.

A long lie in, followed by a sunny day out somewhere in the Yorkshire Dales, with afternoon tea and cake

What is your greatest work achievement?

Delivering projects with unrealistic timescales

What is your favourite quote/motto?

Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t, you’re right

What is the best/worst quality in a leader?

Worst – Dictatorship

Best – Vulnerability

What can’t you live without?

Oxygen and chocolate

What are your Career ambitions?

To always be doing something I enjoy, once you don’t enjoy it, it’s time for a change

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