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Insights Celebrating Project Manager Alaina

01 April 2020

And the President’s Award goes to…

Meet Project Manager, Alaina from Faithful+Gould, a member of the AtkinsRéalis Group. She's been recognized for the exceptional work she does, leading the day-to-day delivery of our Ministry of Justice (MOJ) framework for project management and full multi-disciplinary services. It's a diverse estate, made up of assets of varying scale and complexity. She leads the management of over 30 professionals on more than 100 different projects. And she still manages to maintain excellent working relationships with all her teams across Engineering, Design and Project Management.
image of Alaina smiling

We caught up with Alaina to find out what keeps her at Faithful+Gould.

Why is Faithful+Gould a great place to be? 

I love the variety of work that comes with working at F+G and the different opportunities available. F+G are also an incredibly supportive company, which is really important to me.  They are dedicated to staff development at all levels, and as an example, last year I participated in the Management Development Programme which is a fantastic bespoke F+G scheme for those wanting to develop their careers in management of the business and network with like-minded colleagues. 

I also love the social opportunities available outside of work, such as the Tunbridge Well’s Thursday climbing club, it’s a great way to unwind with colleagues after a busy day and strengthen team relationships outside the office environment.

How is collaboration central to what you do at Faithful+Gould?

It's absolutely key, both internally and with our stakeholders. The MOJ framework (one of F+G's strategic growth accounts) would not be able to be serviced or thrive in the way it does without the fantastic collaboration across the business. The team is led by Hannah Evans in our London office, with me overseeing the South East projects in Tunbridge Wells and Chris Ball managing South West projects from Bristol. 

We also work very closely with Atkins on some high-profile prison expansion projects, as part of the Prime Minister's 10,000 additional places programme. It's had us working in partnership (via workshops, meetings and collaborative planning days) with key stakeholders such as the MOJ and Her Majesty's Prison and Probation Service, enabling them to deliver effective outcomes quickly. It's one of the best collaborative working experiences I've been a part of. We have about 50 members of staff across F+G and Atkins alone working on the framework now. Our relationship and work continue to grow with the MOJ as a result of an integrated and high performing team. 

What does diversity mean to you?

Apart from being the right thing to do, diversity and inclusion brings unqiue skills and experience to light that are crucial for good business growth. I have a very different background from many of my colleagues, having started my career in the civil service, not the construction industry. I feel I'm able to bring direct client knowledge and understanding to our central government accounts. I've also been able to help us support the client's need for front-end help, such as business cases, which we're less used to. 

Likewise, I work with a very skilled and diverse team that can help deliver my projects in areas I'm less experienced in. Our team is also culturally diverse, which helps bring different perspectives when overcoming complex challenges.

What was it like moving to a new role in a new industry?

When I first started, I was anxious that I wouldn't be able to excel or find a role I could thrive in at F+G. It didn't take long for that fear to disappear, and I'm very grateful to be part of an organisation that recognises the value I can bring.

How does your voice matter at Faithful+Gould? 

F+G are very encouraging for people to speak up and be heard across the business. When I first started, my manager asked me what my views were of the team and if I had any suggestions to improve the way we worked.

The Project Management (PM) team was starting to split across Tunbridge Wells and Epsom. With the busy workload, it was sometimes hard to keep up with and learn from each other. I suggested holding quarterly PM collaboration meetings, where we could spend a few hours discussing work across the team. This includes project spotlight sessions, lessons learned and rotating the chair to allow different members to plan and lead the forum – followed by a team social in the evening. 

My manager and director listened and supported the idea and put it into immediate effect. The sessions have had excellent feedback, and the Quantity Surveying teams in Tunbridge Wells and Epsom have replicated our model. 

Name something amazing that Faithful+Gould has made you see in yourself?

That, for me, nothing is insurmountable. With the right determination and motivation, I can achieve anything I want.  Also, that it's okay to ask for help along the way! 

Find your next project management job with Faithful+Gould

Keen to work in a team that walks the collaboration talk? Check out our current project management vacancies to see where you'll fit in with us at Faithful+Gould.

Or if you're still looking for more insight, read our blog to find out why you should take your project management career to an engineering firm.