Fit out, UK
From budding Hollywood actress to helping to expand Como (Mace's fit out business) across new sectors and the UK's regions, Leanne has always sought out a challenge.
- How did you get into what you do?
I went to Los Angeles when I was 19 to join the American Academy of Dramatic Arts. I studied in the US for four years but I wasn’t getting enough contracted work to extend my visa so I returned to the UK. I didn’t know the business world at all, only the world of acting, but it was exciting to have a new challenge.
I got a job as a receptionist at a property agency. A fit out firm that used the agency saw something in me that I didn’t know I had. They asked me to join them as a business development manager and I spent eight years there working up to board level. I joined Como in 2016 to start up a business development team to help it grow its market share.
What started out as Mace's fit out business now oversees the new build and fit out work within Mace's activity in the retail and data sectors, as well as the fit out of commercial offices. We also have an increasing amount of activity across the UK.
- What do you enjoy most about your current role at Mace?
- I love managing the client relationships throughout the process - from the very early stages when the project is just a lead, to seeing it being delivered. Meeting and working closely with clients is my key driver.
- What is your proudest achievement at Mace?
- Getting the buy-in from the directors to introduce a successful key account management programme, then implementing it. The programme involves understanding our key clients and what makes them tick, bringing creative ideas to those companies and building partnerships with them, rather than simply being their contractor.
- What advice would you give to someone looking to get into what you do?
Studying business of any form is good, as you get an understanding of how a business is run. And it doesn’t hurt to get a basic understanding of construction – it’s only going to add value.
But it's not just about going to school. Playing a sport or learning an instrument as a child teaches you to work hard and be disciplined. Anything that encourages a driven, fighting attitude - something that’s really vital in this industry. You’re not going to win the FA Cup if you haven’t trained.
- What might someone be surprised to know about you?
- I used to be a ballerina and once danced for the Royal Family at the Royal Albert Hall at an event presented by Bruce Forsythe. I don’t dance any more – it’s more yoga these days.
- If you hadn’t got into this line of work what do you think you might be doing?
I’d have probably followed a career in acting if I hadn’t fallen into this industry. But this industry is probably more stable.
“I love managing the client relationships throughout the process, from the very early stages when the project is just a lead to seeing it being delivered.”