A woman who would be described as “leaning in” seeks challenges, takes risks, and pursues her goals with gusto. A perfect example is Sherrylynn Trotta, Director of Operations at Proskauer. IFMA communications committee member Sonya Verny recently had the opportunity to meet with and interview Ms. Trotta and learn more about her successes and inspirations.
Ms. Trotta initially went to school to be a teacher but changed her major to Marketing Management, graduating with a BS in that field from Baruch College. She has attended numerous NYU HR and Management classes and a Business Continuity course. Her first law firm job was assisting the Manager of Office Services, and she has remained in the law firm field ever since.
Your Firm won IFMA’s 2012 LEED® Certified Award. Tell me about some of the project highlights.
“Our relocation to new Green office space at Eleven Times Square in January 2011 certainly was one of the most rewarding of the many projects I have worked on at Proskauer.
We moved not long after we rebranded to give the Firm a fresh and relevant image. Our team made every effort to make sure that our new space not only creates a welcoming atmosphere for our clients and visitors but meets strict standards for environmental responsibility.
Developed by SJP Properties and designed by FXFOWLE Architects, the building has received the prestigious Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED®) Gold Certification, based on the criteria set forth by the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED® Green Building Rating System™. It features the latest green technology in its design, including an advanced air filtration and ventilation system, as well as a glass curtain wall exterior that reduces heat gain while allowing in natural light. Proskauer offices also received LEED® Gold Certification
The tower features a 50-foot long, 20-foot high, backlit sign, making Proskauer the first law firm in New York to have its name prominently displayed at the top of its headquarters.”
You won the IFMA 2012 Facilities Management Achievement Award. What advice would you give future facility managers?
“The importance of addressing issues as they arise, listening to issues raised by my colleagues, taking action and following up to make sure we’ve achieved the desired results.” This process has been key to the successful operations at Proskauer.
At the conclusion of a meeting, we don’t just pick up and leave. If employees have anything else to add, they speak up and make important contributions. The discussion then goes on beyond the meeting as we take action to address the issue, which will be revisited at follow-up meetings to ensure that there has been a resolution.
Often these issues are not black and white, there is plenty of gray and you need to truly listen to colleagues on all sides to form the correct plan of action. It is also important to consult with staff in the development plan process. There is always a resolution to a problem and a positive, interactive approach can make a big difference.
I try to put myself inside the situation to understand how things work and determine the type of fix we need. The more you listen, the more knowledge you have to look at the bigger picture and the greater the difference you can make.”
How did you make it to where you are today?
“Early in my career I had a terrific mentor and she is the reason that I am who I am today. She taught me that learning doesn’t stop at any age and that I should always learn from people in different positions. My mentor was a Dutch citizen, and she had a different approach to projects. She taught me to set my standards high. She was an inspiration and truly someone I admire. She told me that you constantly need to learn or you will stay in the same position for a long time.”
Did she know that she was your mentor?
“No! But I did tell her at her 60th birthday and she was so surprised and truly had no idea. But that’s the best type of mentor – the type who doesn’t know that they are mentoring you. When interviewing, a question I always ask is, ‘Who was your mentor?’
Do you think that people should only have one mentor?
“No, people should have multiple mentors. Hal Plott, Chief Real Estate and Facilities Officer at Proskauer, is also a mentor to me. A good manager continually mentors their staff. We work in a dynamic and interesting industry and every day is a learning experience.”
What is your greatest success story?
“During Super Storm Sandy we not only took care of our own personnel and business needs we also provided operating space for several displaced clients and one of our largest conference rooms was transformed into a bustling newsroom for the New York Daily News!
For me personally, the success of our new office was marked by the visit of Mayor Bloomberg to Eleven Times Square. Here was the man who was immersed every day in the business of running our city, and I had the privilege of escorting him to the event space. In the process, we proceeded up a staircase in an atrium with a two-story glass wall. The Mayor paused and took a moment to take in the spectacular view of his city. I still get a kick out of watching our clients enjoy that same view when they arrive at our office.”
Congratulations again to Sherrylynn Trotta and Proskauer for winning IFMA’s 2012 Facilities Management Achievement Award and the IFMA 2012 LEED® Certified Award!
Interviewed by Sonya Verny of IA Interior Architects, IFMA NYC Secretary.