We welcome Heidi Magner to our Team - Workplace Strategist
Originally I didn’t want to work for a design and build company, I was used to working in quite a traditional design practice and had the usual preconceived ideas about D and B.
What really caught my interest was when I was told that it was a cool 2 year old start up, with really different values. I looked at the website and I really liked the designs which I thought was a good start.
What really tipped the scales though was when I met Kristoff. I found him so inspiring and so passionate, not just about the business but about his staff too - that was the deciding factor.
I have always been creative since I was a child and I studied interior architecture of Cardiff. After university I went back to Yorkshire and got my first job as a junior designer in an architectural practice. After around a year there was an opportunity to move to London, as the company was opening an office there. We had some really quirky interesting projects and one that comes to mind was doing the visitor centre for the RSPB. I was there for around 3 years when I got the opportunity to go and work for Colliers which really gave me a greater understanding of planning and the client side of the business.
After four years I went to work for Cushman’s and was there for over 13 years. I had two babies in that time and every time I went back it was different, I was promoted but one of the other reasons that I stayed so long was that it was so interesting. Learning about the real estate side of things and also being involved with the project management team and QS’s was a really good learning experience and has become a useful tool.
Well it’s all been so strange really because my first day coincided with the first day of the lockdown which might not seem like the best start! Despite all that I knew I’d definitely made the right decision because the team is so enthusiastic and passionate about both the company and their work. What I really want to do is add value and expand on the enthusiasm and passion that’s already there. The team and company already do so well but I just want to give my knowledge and managerial skills from previous years and feed that back in. Something for further down the line that I’m very passionate about is starting a graduate placement scheme. When I left university companies weren’t very open to giving graduates a chance to do work placements, even for a few weeks, so that’s something I really want to pioneer. I also think that it fits in so well with Kristoff’s vision and values.
At the very beginning offices were quite cellular and then we had a huge shift to agile working but the main change that I’ve seen has been the growing interest and attention to sustainability. In the early days the clients and developers really relied on the designers to guide them. There was so much pressure to create sustainable spaces and so many confusing guidelines, along with claims from different manufacturers that just weren’t possible. We have to sort through everything and try and find the most honest materials and products. That’s definitely one of my strongest memories of a big change.
Another was the huge increase in co-working spaces that continues to grow and grow still. One of the things I’d always noticed about those spaces is that people are so close and on top of each other; going forward that’s going to be a big problem. There are some amazing social spaces in lots of the co working offices though.
Honest, creative, OCD, nurturing, sociable and optimistic.
SLR cameras. My husband used to be a fine art photographer and he collects cameras and I just find them so beautiful. I think the process of loading film and screwing the lens on is really pleasing.
Ironically it’s giving me a chance to really get to know the team better than I probably would have had we been in the office. People can be on site and in normal times we’re all just so busy. Having set up these virtual coffee catch ups online we’ve introduced different themes like favourite books, films even slogans on mugs!
Definitely juggling everything, having young children and managing everybody’s expectations. I’m so lucky that Kristoff and the whole company are really empathetic and understanding but I think we all feel guilty and worry.
Rene Zellweger. I love Bridget Jones diary!