This month’s FM spotlight is Nancy Ng-Sharp, Director of Employee Services (Facilities and Administration) at The Rockefeller Foundation.
Nancy has previously worked for large financial institutions like Citadel, Jefferies and Goldman Sachs. Nancy has also been nominated for the 2016 IFMA NYC Facilities Management Achievement Award.
“Nancy has brought a professional experience and savvy to the role of Director of Employee Services but more importantly she has brought a cool, calm and collected demeanor coupled with a subtle aesthetic to the role that fits perfectly with the Rockefeller Foundation culture.” - Peter Madonia, Chief Operating Officer, The Rockefeller Foundation
What is one thing that no one knows about you?
“My great love and devotion toward my family. The life of a facilities manager is 24/7. Even with a busy schedule to run a smooth operation, I have been able to balance the time between work and family. It is important to get home, work with the kids on their special projects, attend school events, and celebrate family holidays, for instance, in the tradition of Chinese New Year, where I get to test my culinary skills creating a nine-course meal in keeping with the tradition to ring in the Chinese New Year.”
How did you get into the Facilities field?
“Early on in my career, while finishing up my college degree, I had the great fortune of meeting some wonderful mentors who took me under their wing and provided on-the-job training. After discovering this field, I went back to school to take Facilities Management and Construction Management courses at NYU. What excites me about the facilities field, is you get to work with many levels of management throughout the organization and get to know the dynamics of each department. I felt a great sense of accomplishment each time we successfully completed a buildout or a move.”
Tell us about a favorite project highlight.
“There was a design competition at the NYSE to buildout a 'SuperBooth,' which is a nine feet by nine feet space in the main room of the Exchange. Working closely with the architects, we had to come up with something futuristic and ergonomically designed. We were given a tight window to install the project. We started at the closing bell on Friday and had to be complete by Sunday. By the time Sunday afternoon rolled around, the booth was shimmering and new. We didn’t win the first place prize, but the booth was spectacular and again I felt as if I had climbed another rung of the ladder.
At my current employer, The Rockefeller Foundation, I was given an opportunity to travel to Nairobi to manage an expansion space for the Africa regional office. This included lease negotiations, meeting with the local staff, and local vendors. The experience in Nairobi and working across cultures provided another dimension, depth of appreciation and adaptability on my part to be successful.”
What is your greatest success story?
“I had moved from working for a large company where my focus had been client relationship/project management to running the facilities and administration for a regional office. The regional office had a total of 80 employees. Within the first year, the firm grew by leaps and bounds. The position challenged me to meet the needs of the growing real estate portfolio and all the administrative services that come along with running an office. One proud moment was introducing the concept of a large move for +200 traders over a given weekend. Selling the idea to senior management that was not in New York and to then the IT team took some careful consideration. It was up to me to rally the IT team and the move team to accomplish this. Needless to say, the move-in was flawless!”
Tell us about a challenge or obstacle that you face in the Real Estate/Facilities world.
“As my career changed from construction project management, where I would build and leave it for the facilities manager to run, I am now the facility manager faced with the challenge of running the day-to-day operation. My dedication to running everything seamless and stellar required a committed team who has the same vision of excellence. I tell my team; we are like the 'water in the well.' When there is water in the well, there are no complaints. No news is good news. Another challenge a lot of FMs face is to be able to satisfy the space needs as the firm grows and contracts. It is important to stay on the pulse of the businesses in the organization and build & maintain good relationships with the business heads to be able to plan ahead for their needs.”
What learning experience would you pass onto future FM’s?
“Understand the culture of the organization. Get to know not just the leadership but the people that are in the trenches who can be your greatest allies. Don’t accept status quo. Stay on the pulse of what is happening in the facilities industry and embrace change, strive for excellence. Most importantly, have fun, enjoy what you do.”
Interviewed by Sonya Verny of IA Interior Architects, IFMA NYC Secretary.