Meet the Space Management Team
We caught up with the Space Management team to find out what goes on behind the scenes and how they juggle our never-ending space requests.
Can you introduce us to your team?
Mark Jackson: Seven staff make up the recently re-named Space Management team. Rod Ardé and his team have a strategic focus on School space, including timetabling and space modelling. I am the Planning and Timetabling Manager and my team includes Anri Linza, Anna Karuga, Misha Ahmed and Eno Edoumoren. Anri works closely with colleagues in DPO, Executive Education and Events to schedule programmes and ensure space needs are met for key School events. Anna, Misha and Eno look after all day to day space requests. Harpreet Sokhi is the Planning and Moves Manager.
What does the Space Management team do?
Mark: We have a wide remit and are committed to managing and scheduling space to provide the best possible experience on campus. This includes:
- management of space for the timetabling and scheduling of Degree and Executive Education programmes
- allocating and booking space for School events, conferences, workshops, meetings, seminars, and interviews, as well managing requests for external space such as RCOG
- overseeing the new LBS Room Booking App
- management of the Quad Marquee and RCOG teaching contract
- management all storage and office space including delivery of office move requests
- maintaining our premises licence with Westminster City Council and ensuring compliance across the School.
Anri: One of the best bits of my job is the interaction I have with almost everyone in the School (we all need to book a room at some point in time, right?) Picking up the phone and speaking to people, meeting them face to face to solve their space issues is a delight and it makes my day - sad but true!
Mark: The variety and challenges of my role are what keep it interesting, from dealing with enquiries on our premises licence, liaising with Crown Estates on Front Lawn activity, to team management and advising the School community on the School’s space policies.
Rod: One of the best parts of my job is supporting the School’s transformation as both the School estate and teaching programmes expand and grow. There will be significant operational challenges to overcome over the coming years but it is also a very exciting time to be working at LBS.
What are the biggest challenges for you?
Eno: The biggest challenge I have experienced so far would be the availability of spaces to meet the needs of the community, especially in busy periods. Secondly the underutilisation of spaces that are booked on the system but not used or cancelled, thus depriving others.
Misha: Usually the biggest challenge is finding a suitable space for a last minute event when there is limited availability. In the background we do a lot of negotiating across the School to accommodate important last minute requests.
Mark: We receive hundreds of space requests during July and August for the upcoming academic year, so responding quickly can be challenging. We usually initiate a priority plan for dealing with these requests and communicate accordingly with the School community.
Anna: The biggest, as well as the most rewarding, challenge is to secure the best and most suitable space for everyone and negotiating changes, moves, amendments to make it happen.
Rod: Attention to detail is paramount. To ensure that we maintain our high standards we have to be on our ‘A game’ at all times. We strive to be as proactive as possible to address and resolve issues before they become problems for our customers.
What are your proudest moments or biggest successes?
Rod: I am proud of my staff and the manner in which they solve the intricate and complex space puzzles they are faced with on a daily basis.
Anri: The proudest moments are when you solve difficult puzzles. We have a joke in the office that there is a 'Space Angel' looking after us! Somehow, things fall into place without even knowing it.
Mark: I am proud to have worked up to the role of managing School space and the team during my eight years at the School. One of our great successes is the growth and development of the Space Management team over the last five years, always professionally serving the School community as on-campus activity has become busier and busier and still making everything fit. In 2011-12 we dealt with approximately 80,000 bookings. We reached 102,000 bookings in the 2014-15!
Harpreet: It’s refreshing to see how the team has changed over the years into a strong unit within the department. We continually ensure a proactive approach to our management of space. This is down to the team’s hard work and drive, which is a credit to us all.
Eno: My proudest moments are every time we receive a thank you message from members of LBS community for meeting their space needs
You see it all. Do you have any funny stories to share?
Mark: We once received a report of a gas smell in one of the houses. Following evacuation and visits from gas engineers, it came to light that the offending smell was a sandwich - a mix of onion and something we could not identify - left in a waste bin!
Anna : We are lucky to be in the centre of School activities and have seen /heard a lot of interesting things but our lips are sealed.
Rod: To protect the integrity of our customers our lips are sealed, although catch up with us over a mulled wine during the festive season and we may reveal a funny story or two.