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PFM Awards winner continues to fly the FM flag

05 May 2020

Throughout her long and distinguished FM career, Julie Kortens has promoted the value delivered by the sector in many areas.

Julie Kortens (left) with PFM Awards 2019 presenter Sally Phillips

Partnership working has been the main focus of the PFM Awards throughout its long history and although four categories provide opportunities for individuals to receive recognition, these can also be seen to promote the benefits of collaboration at all levels.

The best example of this is the Peter Middup Lifetime Achievement in FM Award, with all previous winners clearly seen to have served the industry through their exemplary efforts through the promotion of collaboration.

Julie Kortens was the popular and highly-respected winner of the 2019 trophy and explains her long and varied career that began more than 20 years ago.

“I remember starting my career in FM (then called office and building services). It was at the end of the nineties and still a relatively new profession,” she recalls.

“It was male-dominated and hard services was the key focus in most organisations.”

Having spent the previous 15 years working in human resources, Ms Kortens applied her skills to great effect within FM: “I immediately sensed that there was a really special and under-represented group of amazing people in the industry.

“Since then, I have spent my career speaking up for our people, creating well-respected teams and high performing functions and flying the flag for the profession.

"As I say on many occasions, FM is a really special industry, there is a place for everyone regardless of their background, experience or qualifications. It is all-inclusive and a great platform for people to develop.”

The following decades can be seen to have resulted in a long list of successes for Ms Kortens and the diversity of this provides further justification of her PFM Awards success.

In addition to the many examples of personal achievements, these have increasingly included wide-ranging benefits for the FM sector and others.

Her work at Channel 4 included the delivery of numerous beneficial projects, resulting in the following appreciative testimonial from former chief executive officer David Abraham: “I will always have great memories of the massive refurb project we did together. I’m so proud of the results which have really stood the test of time.”

The project in question was the multi-million pound refurbishment of the Channel 4 headquarters in central London.

Ms Kortens at a speaking engagement in 2005

This saw the facility transformed from being a transmission centre to a multi-functional, creative and collaborative hub.

This has been followed by numerous further achievements, including her many contributions to the IWFM (formerly BIFM) and other organisations, combined with the gaining of business-relevant qualifications.

In addition to her honorary fellow IWFM status, Ms Kortens is a CIPD chartered fellow. Her qualifications include an MA in employment strategy, an ILM level 7 diploma in leadership mentoring and executive coaching, a foreign languages for business degree and several others.

Further to her contributions to businesses, she has also used her expertise to develop academic activities through lecturing at universities while also speaking at numerous industry events to considerable acclaim.

Utilising her valuable experiences in FM and construction, Ms Kortens has launched her own business while continuing to serve in both non-executive director (NED) and executive director roles and providing valuable assistance to other companies and organisations, including serving as chair for both BIFM, between 2014 and 2016, and its Women in FM Special Interest Group.

Her extensive list of achievements further illustrate why the PFM Partnership Awards judges voted for Ms Kortens to win last year’s Peter Middup trophy, including leading roles in the outsourcing of critical services project management of business-wide procurement initiatives.

Involvement with staff engagement initiatives further demonstrates her extensive collaborative and leadership skills. Further to founding her own company, Konnected People, Ms Kortens lists her career highlights as serving as a NED for intu Retail Services and on the HMCTS FM Re-procurement Board.

She has additionally been an independent member of the Aster Group Remuneration and Nominations and Group Risk and Compliance committees and continues to be involved for various FM-related bodies at a senior level, providing unique insight into the industry.

“In recent years I have been so pleased to see that people now enter our profession through a variety of routes and, most importantly, many straight from school and from university,” she says.

“FM has become the career of choice for many people and it is a pleasure to see new entrants clamouring for knowledge and expertise.”

In addition to the long-running support from her husband Tony, son Charlie and her family and friends, Ms Kortens remains highly appreciative of the assistance she has received from others during her career.

Among these are long-serving PFM Awards judge and JLD Consultants founder Joanna Lloyd-Davies, former BIFM CEO and CIM commercial director James Sutton and Assurity Consulting consultancy services manager Mireille Stocker and others.

“Family, friends and colleagues are really important to me,” she says, showing additional proof of her people-oriented focus that has been an overriding presence throughout her professional life.

Regarding the current efforts of the FM sector and all areas of the UK in battling the Covid-19 virus, she says: “Over the years, my sympathy for people who work on the front line in times of crisis has increased. I am a supporter of the NHS and all of the great work of staff in the health sector.

“However, I am also intensely proud of the many thousands of other people who are currently working so hard to keep us safe and to support us - staff in and around the hospitals, not just the medical teams, but also the cleaners, caterers and maintenance teams, support staff in care homes, police stations and prisons and so many, many more,” she continues.

“There are many amazing people in the FM industry and they are pulling together now to support the national effort.

"Whatever the future holds, whether we continue to promote a better work/life balance, whether the workplace still plays a key role in the same way as before COVID19, I am sure that FM will continue to play a key and important part.

“We may work in slightly different ways but we are still key to workplace success and productivity.”

Ms Kortens additionally sends her “thoughts and thanks” to all those providing care and support to others at all levels and refers to the words of author and educator Hellen Keller: "Alone we can do so little, together we can do so much."

This simple quotation is highly relevant to the FM sector and, of course, to the PFM Partnership Awards and further proof of her deserving win last year.

Ms Kortens is obviously a tough act to follow for this year’s winner of the PFM Awards Peter Middup trophy, which is entirely correct to ensure that this continues to recognise those most deserving of their efforts in promoting the FM industry.

Nominations and entries are due by 21 August and will be passed on to the PFM Awards independent judges to vote on the most deserving winner.

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