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City women vote for Barclays' FM

11 November 2010

(l-r) Wendy Cuthbert, GRB Global Head of FM and Head of CRES-UK at Barclays with

Barclays Bank’s head of, GRB Global Head of FM and Head of CRES-UK has been named the winner of this year’s FM category at the Women in the City awards.

Responsible for the facilities and property management of Barclays 1700 branches and its corporate sites, as well as the FM of its properties in 21 countries around the world,  Wendy Cuthbert joined Barclays in January 2008.  She leads a team of 21 people, and manages the outsourced FM contractor, Johnson Controls.
She joined from Credit Suisse where she was Head of General Services for EMEA, and was previously, at Sainsburys she lead the outsourcing of  its FM delivery in its retail stores.
The Women in the City Award seeks to enhance the profile of women working at a senior level in the professions in London’s accountancy, built environment, facilities management, financial services, insurance and law sectors.  The judges found that Cuthbert’s philosophy is to champion passion which inspires her team. She  impressed the judges with her ability to inspire young females into a relatively lesser known profession in the business world. They said, “Cuthbert also makes time to mentor members of her team even after they departed her employment, and regularly visits schools to raise awareness of the Facilities Management sector. She also speaks at seminars to other FM clients and supply chain providers. “
She will now go forward with the other category winners to be considered for the ultimate Woman of Achievement accolade, announced at the Women in the City Annual Celebration Lunch on 26 November.
Speaking to PFM editor, Jane Fenwick, explained that her key concerns are two fold.  She said, “One is to ensure that I get  value for money and have the right services in place at Barclays. The other is the industry-wide lack of high caliber of talent coming through the profession.We need to attract people into the industry, retain and train them.  They are not attracted to come into FM so the biggest challenge is to find people, particularly those that are capable of preparing and presenting reports and communicating with senior stakeholders.”
She continued, “The people I need have to be both operationally and strategically capable. We have to keep the good ones. Currently have one team member who joined the bank at 18 and is now being supported through an MBA at Sheffield Hallam.”
A mother of two teenage daughters, Cuthbert considers that a career in FM is an attractive option because of its diverse subject matter, and it offers opportunities to succeed in both  operational and strategic roles,  enabling individuals to develop and grow in the industry.  She observed, “Women are good at it – they have an eye for detail,  and are more capable of multi tasking across a number of different areas. People coming from a hard service background sometimes diminish the soft services side of FM but these are the services that impact most on the client. It is what they notice first.  In addition, working in FM can be flexible and the hours can fit in with family commitments. “
Asked if a degree was necessary for a career in FM, she said, “You need a good solid educational background and you need to learn the businesss language to hold your own with senior people. Further education can be a shortcut to qualifications. Within Barclays, Cuthbert said increasing occupancy levels across the Barclays estates will be important, together with taking the opportunity of ends of leases to achieve a smaller property portfolio.
She added, “Sustainability still a relentless driver.  Despite the revenue neutral aspects of the CRC being removed, the benefits of better energy management are still very worthwhile.”

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