In this series for the LEO blog, we go behind the scenes to feature a different member of the LEO team each month to find out more about the details of their role, what they contribute to the LEO brand, and, more generally, what makes them tick.
This month we talk to Suzanne McCarthy, and we cover her career journey with LEO, her favourite property and 5* service.
Firstly, do introduce yourself! What is your background, and how did you come to your role at LEO?
I have worked in seven roles in four buildings during my nine years here at LEO. I began in a junior role on Fenchurch Street in the City and progressed to Deputy Manager and then General Manager before joining the head office team in 2013 as Services Manager. I then moved into my current role of Director of Property Operations.
What does the day-to-day of your job involve?
My role as Director of Property Operations involves managing the Property Operations team of three as well as the maintenance team of 15. Together, the Property Operations team and I are responsible for the fit out of new buildings within the portfolio as well as maintaining and uplifting the current portfolio of 31 buildings. In addition, the in-house maintenance team ensure that an exceptional level of office accommodation is maintained throughout the portfolio. No two days are the same, the portfolio spans listed and more contemporary buildings and so as a team our approach to delivering a new building or maintaining or uplifting an existing property is adapted to suit the building’s unique style. I can find myself in design meetings with fit out suppliers or looking at capital expenditure to make changes to improve and add value to an existing building.
85 Gresham Street was the first building within my role that I took from acquisition, through the entire fit out process to delivery. The building officially launched in February of this year and since then the team and I are now onto our 7th new acquisition! The overall business strategy is to rapidly expand the portfolio in prime London locations and so this makes for an extremely busy time within the department!
What, for you, is the most exciting element of developing a property as a LEO location? Have you had any moments you are really proud of?
The whole process of developing a new property is a great experience, the building may be a shell that requires, walls, flooring and electrical work and often on a tight schedule. Being involved in a building from the absolute basics to delivery can also be a challenging process, the quality of the portfolio means that a building may be listed, which will impact what works can take place and the finished style. The one common factor is that every building is finished to an impeccable standard.
A personal highlight is the Michelin House project. The building was a shell – it had sloped floors from its former use by the Michelin House tyre company – so a major works project preceded the fit out. We were keen to sympathetically restore this iconic building and capitalise on the building’s heritage and beautiful art deco features, whilst creating unique, luxury spaces for our customers to work and meet in. The finished building absolutely fills the brief!
Does the uniqueness of every LEO location mean your job description is different for every property? Which LEO office has been your favourite to work on?
Aside from Michelin House, 85 Gresham Street was a project I thoroughly enjoyed and learned a lot. The building is contemporary and so allowed the business to try slightly different finishing touches to complement the fantastic address. These included adding a barista style coffee bar area to the customer lounge, and creating meeting spaces with bi-folding walls which when opened offer huge interlinking event spaces.
How do you feel LEO’s unique luxury offering in the field of London serviced offices is reflected in the satisfaction of your clients?
As a business, everything we do has our customer base firmly in mind. In addition to customer service, a strength which I feel sets the portfolio apart is the variety. We have 31 buildings all at prestigious locations, but we also offer stylistic choice. For example, on Curzon Street we have two outstanding buildings; 14 is a modern building with a contemporary fit out, which is in total contrast to number 32, a grade II listed building with period features and wood panelling. Both are five star and offer the same peerless service, so each building will appeal to different tastes. The diversity of the portfolio also means that within Property Operations our projects are varied and unique to the building.
Which LEO office is your personal favourite, and why?
My personal favourite is Central Court, I spent five years based there in the earlier part of my career at LEO. The building is the former patent office and retains much of the character with features such as the original bookcases and galleried reading room.
Finally, what is your cocktail of choice?
A mojito! Particularly after a hectic working week!