IFMA communications committee member Sonya Verny had the pleasure of meeting Anne O’Driscoll, Senior Vice President, Director of Facilities Management for the advertising agency Young & Rubicam. The firm is the proud recipient of two prestigious awards at the IFMA Awards for Excellence Dinner at the Pierre Hotel. Young & Rubicam also recently completed a historic move from their Madison Avenue location to 3 Columbus Circle.
Sitting down with Anne, the English Literature & Psychology major turned Facility Manager, Sonya was able to get a better understanding why she is a true inspiration for women and a driving force in the facility management industry. Anne started her career as a legal secretary at Young & Rubicam back when a memory typewriter was still used. She was then promoted to support the outsourced Property Manager. In 1998, Anne went to work as Office Manager for Wunderman, a member of WPP and part of Young & Rubicam Group. Four years later, she returned to Young & Rubicam to start her career as Director of Building Operations at 285 Madison Avenue and eventually moved into her current role as Senior Vice President, Director of Facilities Management at 3 Columbus Circle.
How did you make it to where you are today?
“I asked a million questions. I knew nothing about construction or real estate. And, I was fortunate to have a mentor in my first boss, Nancy Wynne. She encouraged me to take on more responsibility and I learned a lot typing all her lease comments!”
What are the various challenges you have come across in your career?
“You really have to learn how to walk a fine line. This field is dominated by males so you have to learn quickly how to be taken seriously. The challenge is finding a balance between being too serious or too casual. You have to be willing to admit you don’t understand something so you can educate yourself.”
What is your greatest success story?
“My contribution to this relocation to 3CC is my greatest success story. I was involved with everything for two years from conception to design to construction to move management. We have about 350k sq ft of space and had only 4 weekends to move 1300 people from 285 Madison Avenue. The goal was for the employees to leave 285 on a Friday and be up and running at 3CC the next Monday morning. We got it done and we are proud of our space. The project achieved Gold LEED certification which was one of our goals as we are very committed to sustainability. This is truly a facility manager’s dream.”
What advice would you give future Facility Managers?
“Work hard at educating yourself. Find your passion. Once you do, take extra courses. Get your certifications. Learn. And show respect for those who have come before you and those in your field who have so much they can teach you.”
Anne gave Sonya a personal tour of the award-winning space and it was clearly evident why Young & Rubicam was a winner at the Awards for Excellence Dinner. Every detail from the wood paneling on the walls, to the terraces, and café 285 is perfect. Young & Rubicam has truly made their space comfortable for all who visit. In the warm weather, employees often work outside on the terraces.
Congratulations again to Young & Rubicam for winning Design and Construction of a New Facility over 300,000 sq. feet!
Interviewed by Sonya Verny of IA Interior Architects, IFMA NYC Secretary.