Published on: April 23, 2019
Rosie Hobbs oversees real estate, office operations, & the employee experience program (perks!) at Flatiron Health. Rosie's key responsibilities include leading office expansion projects, partnering with the People Team on various initiatives, and managing the 12 employees that make up the facilities & administrative teams. She's recruited and hired every member of her talented team and has built an organization structure to support Flatiron Health’s next stage in growth.
“Flatiron is a company that is experiencing hyper growth, and so Rosie's priority focus is building a real estate strategy that can scale. Rosie has owned office expansion for the last 4+ years, redesigning our HQ from 40 to 600+ employees. We plan to continue expanding beyond 1000 in NY in the coming years. Lastly, it's worth mentioning that Rosie independently manages the design/build & office operating budgets for our business.” - Carol Jensen, Chief People Officer at Flatiron Health
What is one thing that no one knows about you?
“I learned about my heritage this past week via 23 and me. I have traces of British, Irish, Polish, Italian, French, German, Scandinavian, Balkin, Greek, + a very small percentage of Spanish, Portuguese, and Asian/West African in my ancestry pool. Another interesting fact, I live on Roosevelt Island & love it, New Yorkers always find that fascinating.”
How did you get into the Facilities/Real Estate field?
“I graduated school and got my first job at the Seychelles Consulate in NYC. In my position, I supported the Consul General’s diplomatic work by serving as liaison between our office and the United Nations and in addition to managing general operations for several of the Consul General’s personally owned businesses. The work that I did in operations introduced me to Real Estate and Office/Facilities Management. I moved on from this position to work in tech, stepping into a General Operations and Office Management position at a taxi hailing tech startup called Hailo. I moved on from Hailo and joined Flatiron Health (4+ years ago), where I’ve scaled the office space to accommodate 40 employees to 700, targeting 750 by EOY.”
Tell us about a favorite project highlight.
“This past year, I’ve had the opportunity to project manage building out a 130,000 square-foot office space in Soho at One Soho Square. This was my first proper build-out assignment; I had experience in general project management, but I had never completed a design-build from scratch. I was fortunate enough to have great external advisors (shout out to my broker & project partner, Zev Holzman) and a great team of vendors that contributed more than they realize to my development and growth. I had complete autonomy in managing the project for our company, so it was incredibly rewarding to see it through to completion, hit the move in deadline and come in under budget.
A bit more about the space; the office is 5 floors and can accommodate 920 employees at assigned desks. We have 68 conference rooms, all of which are kitted out with Zoom video conferencing, a 13,000 square-foot assembly space which flexes for lunch and collaborate space, a 5,000 square-foot Library, cafe areas, snack/beverage stations on each floor, several new mother rooms, an IT tech bar, a training room, and several glass “war rooms” for collaborative work and sprint projects.”
What is your greatest success story?
“One of my greatest success stories so far has been being able to escalate in my career quickly and growing into a management position with Flatiron. I graduated five years ago with no real sense of my own niche or ability. Today I’m trusted with the Real Estate strategy for a hyper growth tech company, project managing multi-million dollar build outs, and leading an organization of 12 employees. I’m so grateful for all of the opportunities that Flatiron has presented me with & for the internal/external mentors that I get to work with every day. Flatiron has really invested in my development and given me a ton of space to challenge myself, learn and grow.”
Tell us about a challenge or obstacle that you face in the Real Estate/Facilities world.
“I think that it’s a challenge for young women to confidently break into the Real Estate industry for sure, especially at the Executive level. I very rarely meet female Executives or owners in the space, if ever. In my experience starting out, it was intimidating walking onto a construction site, or into a meeting with a dozen six-foot men in suits. I feel that a lot of women are not interested in the industry because of the lack of gender diversity.”
What learning experience would you pass onto future FM’s?
“Don’t have impostor syndrome! Apply for jobs and take on new challenges even if you have little to no experience. When assigned a new project, identify ‘experts’ in the space and pick their brain. You’ll find people are generally happy to coach you and share their experiences. Build an external network and identify external partners that are accessible. Never reinvent the wheel and work smarter vs. harder. Never make assumptions, rigorously prioritize and work hard to provide transparency in your work, especially when you make mistakes.”
Interviewed by Sonya Verny of IA Interior Architects, IFMA NYC Secretary