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Springboard effect recognised on Young Leader winner’s career

17 July 2021

Mohammad Hassan won the Young Leader of the Year award within the PFM Partnership Awards 2020 event and is continuing to see the benefits of his impressive achievement.

Adding further depth to the many benefits deriving from the PFM Partnership Awards is the Young Leader of the Year (YLOTY) category, organised by the Emerging Workplace Leaders (EWL) voluntary organisation.

Previous YLOTY winners of this accolade have continued to advance their careers and confirm the early promise clearly displayed that earned them their trophies, with many of these also continuing their support for EWL and providing more encouragement for other young leaders throughout the FM sector.

Mohammad Hassan was announced as the YLOTY20 winner in a delayed online ceremony in March this year, after the PFM Partnership Awards 2020 event was delayed for the first time in its 28-year history, in an attempt to hold a live presentation event amid the restrictions of the pandemic.

Following the implementation of the government’s lockdown in January this year, however, the PFM Awards team organised the online event as the only available option.

Speaking to PFM via an online video call, Mr Hassan explains that his journey to apply for the YLOTY20 award resulted from a performance review with his line manager, Mitie technical services area director Tom Corner.

“We discussed my performance over the last year and future aspirations, it was during that conversation that he asked me if I had thought about applying for YLOTY,” he recalls.

This conversation led Mr Hassan to assess his career and achievements with his employer, which began in 2016 with the joining of its graduate scheme.

“I was the only member of my group to pass directly into an operational management role on completing the scheme as regional asset manager responsible for a team of mobile engineers. From this role I then progressed into my current position as an account manager of a multi-million pound account with six service lines,” he continues.

“Looking back over the last few years I thought I had a good story to tell and looking at applying for the award, I thought ‘why not?’.”

Having examined the criteria, Mr Hassan then continued to discuss his application with senior leaders within the business and received further valuable support from Business Services managing director Jason Towse, Technical Services managing director (dedicated accounts) Andrew Thompson and also chief executive officer Phil Bentley.

“Andy and all the senior managers were very supportive and contributed commendation pieces, which strengthened my belief in pursuing this award,” he says.

The need for detailed and honest introspection is emphasised as an essential part of the YLOTY application process, Mr Hassan explains, and although he states that this was initially difficult, it was an important aspect that supported all further actions.

“I’d graduated with a degree in engineering so my initial focus was very much hard services and it required more effort to adjust to the management of cleaning and reception teams, this was one of the benefits of coming through the graduate scheme as it exposed me to new areas of what FM is about” he continues.

“I’ve also learned that everyone is different and it’s really helpful to treat everyone as adults to find out how they think about work and whether they’re happy to stay in their role, or if they have aspirations to develop further.”

His empathetic approach can be seen to have served Mr Hassan well in his career to date and is another positive factor that supported his YLOTY20 achievement.

It should also be noted that last year saw record numbers of applications for the category, making his accomplishment all the more notable. In addition to his written application, a video was included featuring various members of his team and their thoughts on Mr Hassan’s successes and approach, which helped to provide further depth.

“The video allowed my team the opportunity speak about what day to day life working with me was like, it’s all well and good talking about myself but I thought involving my team in the award would be a differentiator.

“I’ve had a lot of help and support from a number of mentors and I think it’s important to acknowledge everyone who’s been involved, and also my parents and family members – all the people that have been there for you during the down moments, as well as the good times,” he states.

Having submitted his application in July 2020, he describes receiving the notification that he had made the YLOTY shortlist as a “bitter sweet moment”, as the announcement was made the same week that Mr Hassan’s aunt died from cancer.

He was then faced with the task of preparing his presentation amidst the issues arising from the global Coronavirus pandemic.

“I decided to include slides to support my presentation to the four judges, but just allow myself to talk about them and found I was able to relax. Looking back, I could feel myself growing and I’m happy to say that it was my most enjoyable speech,” he says.

Following his presentation to the EWL judges, Mr Hassan assigns a cricketing analogy to his feeling as he walked out of the room: “It was like facing a seam bowler, when the ball comes off the middle of the bat! I had no regrets, I tried not to make my involvement too formal as this entire process is underpinned by being your true self and felt as though I’d given it my best,” he says.

Following their presentations, the three YLOTY finalists were also the main panel members in webinar events organised by the EWL, with Mr Hassan appearing alongside Derwent Students scheme manager Kayleigh Stevenson and Atalian Servest head of client solutions and CSR James Mabbett.

“These events were also very enjoyable,” he says, “and it seemed as if they’d provided a rubber stamp of approval for my achievements and the journey up to that point.

“It was then a case of waiting for the 17 March ceremony this year and I couldn’t have been happier when my name was read out as the winner. I think all three YLOTY finalists have a lot to celebrate and the fact that we’re all employed in very different roles also helps to show the diversity of the FM industry,” he continues.

“Although the process was really valuable and enjoyable, I found it very helpful to challenge myself and go through some uncomfortable moments, but it’s essential to look back on your achievements and the overall journey. The number of people that have congratulated me in the industry has been fantastic and has definitely increased my professional network,” he says.

Mr Hassan further states his belief that the FM industry “should not be afraid to demonstrate and celebrate its achievements” to emphasise the considerable value it provides to clients and facilities users.

“I also want to use the award as a springboard for my career and to assist in the drive to meet bigger challenges and find better solutions for clients,” he states.

The deadline for entries to this year’s YLOTY category is 23 July, which is shared with the deadline for the PFM Partnership Awards Account Director of the Year.

Further details of the PFM Awards and the EWL YLOTY category can be found on www.pfmawards.co.uk and www.emergingworkplace.com


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