Candy Hollingum

Aged 33, I am currently an Operations Director at CBRE, leading the delivery of workplace services to a key customer across 15 countries in EMEA.

What does this mean? Well to me, personally it means balancing a huge sense of responsibility with an undeniable sense of satisfaction, knowing that the work that our teams deliver means that the 10,000+ people who occupy the buildings we run can focus on their core business and go home safely each day because of the work we do.

I came in to the Workplace/FM sector after graduating from Kings College with a degree in Modern Foreign Languages in 2010.
Graduating just after a recession meant I struggled to find work. Something that had never been the case before. I had been working since I was 15 – when (at already 6 foot tall) I concealed my age to get a job as an English teacher while living in Rio.
So, in August 2010 I accepted a job offer in Access Control working for a large FM company and the rest really is history. I have now been in the sector for 9 years, having spent the first half of my career doing every job going in FM from building security & access control, then front of house, moving through helpdesk, procurement, finance, waste and environmental management &training before I became a Workplace Manager.

It is the variety that hooked me back then and why I still enjoy what I do so much now.

It fascinates me how much work goes on behind the scenes to ensure spaces function seamlessly in the way they’re designed to be. I can never again walk in to any environment – be it an airport, restaurant, shop or even a church without noticing a light out or involuntarily ‘auditing’ their cleaning standards but above all how an environment makes me feel.

Who knew that an industry that I’d never heard about could’ve gotten under my skin like this?

I am now an active advocate of our sector and am passionate about making FM a career of choice. I try to share what I’ve learnt so far by mentoring and sponsoring a number of people in my field, as well as working with internal and external groups to increase diversity and encourage social mobility in our industry. Both areas that I am hugely passionate about.

All this in a sector that nobody has ever heard about, although I’m not quite sure how when it’s worth c.£120billion a year!