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Meet Petra – the ‘Living the Values’ award winner

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.

Petra, Estate Manager, Retirement  – Winner of: ‘Living the Values’

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

I’ve been with FirstPort for 10 years starting off as a Weekend Assistant and then progressing to become an Estate Manager in the Assisted Living part of the retirement division.  I am also a trainer, which means I support other Development and Estate Managers when they join the business, helping them to get up to speed and understand what’s required of them.

I am responsible for 13 people, from housekeepers, servers, and night staff – all who come together to make the development I manage in Kent a lovely place for our customers to live.

Interestingly, before FirstPort I was a publican. It may seem like a completely different career, but in many ways, there are similarities in terms of providing customers with a lovely experience and putting customer service at the heart of everything you do.

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

I’m told that multiple people nominated me across the business, which is so nice to hear.

I am a collaborative worker and in my training role I deal with many people across all parts of the business, so I am collaborating with lots of different people. In addition to my day job, I’ve taken a really active role in health and safety, being a representative in this area for the business and sharing good practice. I have also been a Mental Health First Aider, offering support to colleagues at times of need.

I am very open and honest – what you see is what you get, and I’ve had positive feedback about my approachable style. My door is always open and everyone who works with me knows that. We are one team across all business divisions, and we work together to achieve the best service we can for our customers.

How does it feel to be recognised by your peers?

I’m over the moon. Everyone does an amazing job and are so worthy but for me to be recognised for my contribution is really special. I’ve had lots of congratulations from colleagues, and also residents who were aware I was nominated. 

I’d like to say a huge ‘Thank You’ to everyone who voted for me across the business, it means so much.

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

Making a difference to people’s lives – colleagues, residents, Next of Kins. There’s no better feeling then knowing you’ve done a good job and going home feeling satisfied.

I also love the fact that I get to be part of something  bigger. Whilst I work in a specific development, within the retirement division, the work I do has a much bigger reach, particularly when it comes to my trainer role.  I love being part of the bigger picture and so being recognised by the Emeria UK group is really rewarding.  FirstPort has supported me to do more than just Estate Management. I’ve had loads of opportunities to develop, and I don’t want to stop now!

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

Go for it! But it’s not for the faint hearted, so embrace the challenges and always be willing to learn. This is particularly important when it comes to health and safety, which is so key for our business but also very changeable, in terms of the regulation around it.

As part of my training role, I do a lot of work with new starters, in fact, I’ve just been working on a brand-new training programme for them, making sure they are set up to succeed and, most importantly, enjoy their job.

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