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Meet Natalie – winner of the ‘Outstanding Leadership Award’

Meet our award-winning team

As part of the Emeria UK group, FirstPort colleagues were recognised in the very first Emeria UK Awards, which took place in October 2023. In this series of blogs, we’re chatting to the FirstPort winners about their career highlights and how they’ve made their mark in the world of property management.

Natalie, Regional Manager, Large & Complex Division – Winner of: ‘Outstanding Leadership Award’

Tell us a little bit about your role at FirstPort and your FirstPort career?

I’ve been with FirstPort for just over four years. I started September 2019 as a Development Manager for a large development. It was one of the first developments at FirstPort that was found to have combustible materials in the external walls. This meant that the development had a lot of pressures put on it straight away, which was a real challenge because I was new into property at the time. So, it was a steep learning curve.

In the August of the following year, I was seconded to a Regional Manager position for four months and then I went on maternity leave. After my maternity leave, I was asked if I could I come back as a Property Manager, which interested me because it would break up my role and I’d cover more than one development. The move to Property Manager meant I was able to discover more about all the different challenges that come with being a Property Manager across multiple sites. And then in 2022 I took on the role of Regional Manager in my old portfolio, so I’m now managing the site I was a Development Manager at. I’ve now been a Regional Manager for 18 months and love the position, I absolutely love the teams I work with, and I’m really fortunate that I’ve got a great line manager.

What do you think you’ve done to make such a mark?

I’m always there to try and support colleagues’ teams and I think they would describe me as someone you can always rely on and a good point of contact for colleagues to help with resolving problems or offering guidance. Good communication is such an important part of what I do – it’s about being honest and real with our customers and managing their expectations and keeping them updated as we put measures in place to make their developments the best they can be.

How does it feel to be recognised by your peers?

I think it’s really humbling, but I also know that any of my peers could have been in the exact same position and would have got the award as well. I’m so fortunate to have the colleagues I work with, my line manager, and my team is amazing. I do feel I’ve picked up the award on behalf of my whole division too. In all honesty, it was more of a team effort because I wouldn’t be in the position I’m in and I wouldn’t do my job as well as I did if I didn’t have my support network and the network I do to pick me up when I’m having a low day or to answer my silly questions.

What’s the most enjoyable thing about your role/working for FirstPort?

I think for me, no hour or no day is the same, as much as you can plan your day. Working in operations especially, there are so many curveballs that get thrown in there. But with that comes so many opportunities and you get to meet with such a large range of people. You work closely with contractors, customers, and with the internal departments. So, you get to meet so many different people and understand so many other parts of the business. You wear so many hats as the person that people come to that no day is the same and that keeps it fun. But there are also so many career development opportunities within the business that you can specialise in or become focused on which I really like.

What advice would you give to someone looking to pursue a career in property management?

I think you need some resilience in you and also a drive to help others. If it’s an operational role, you are the face of FirstPort. You are the first person that people come to with a question or issue and that can be challenging, so I think it’s important to remember that nothing is ever personal. I would recommend that you always try to do your best and continually learn about the industry such as the different types of legislation and best practice guidance, and that will put you in good stead for a career in property management.

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