Managing Director for Operate
Facilities Management, Global
Marlies Hoogeboom’s love for working in operations has carried her from the hotel industry to overseeing the UK and Europe region for Mace’s facilities management business. Bringing creative and innovative FM and workplace solutions to clients, whilst working alongside an experienced team, she is driving Mace’s ambitious growth plans in the region.
- How did you get into what you do?
I was born and raised in the Netherlands and came to the UK to go to university back in 1996. I initially started my career working in the hotel and hospitality industry before joining a facilities management business in 2012, overseeing account delivery and client relationships. I worked my way up from account director for independent school contracts to managing director for the sports and leisure sector.
I left that business at the end of 2018 and I’d been working in a role as the head of workplace and operations for UK and EMEA at a flexible real estate management company for a year before I came to Mace in 2020, inspired by the ambition of the business and the people behind it.
- What do you enjoy most about your current role at Mace?
I’m an operator at heart and love working with teams and clients. Identifying opportunities and driving the business forward is exciting - with new ways of working presenting a huge amount of opportunity for the industry to innovate and change its approach to better support clients. Having mobilised and worked with a number of clients in Europe in my previous roles I know there is an opportunity to offer the wider Mace group capabilities to clients and I am looking forward to growing Mace’s Operate offer in Europe.
I’m also fully supportive of Mace’s diversity and inclusion culture, as I believe inclusive organisations simply do better. I have previously led on the global Gender balance agenda for other organisations and supported a number of D&I councils. I am very passionate about this agenda and keen to support Mace in the further development of this strategic priority.
- What has been your proudest achievement at Mace?
- When I joined Mace it was just before the pandemic really took hold in the UK and was a difficult time for everyone. In June 2020 we were successful in winning a contract with a major global sports retailer where we are now responsible for a significant number of properties across EMEA. It’s a key steppingstone for growth in Europe and a great client to have in our portfolio.
- What skills do you need to be good at your job?
Resilience. And now, following the Covid pandemic, this has turned into super resilience! You also need to be a good communicator and make time for your teams, be clear about objectives and understand how to support and motivate people.
I like achieving great outcomes and I like to be creative in solutioning, so a good skill is to be able to look at things differently to achieve what is needed. The worst thing is being complacent and saying, ‘we have always done it this way’.
- What advice would you give to someone looking to get into what you do?
- Be open to do different things – I started off in hotels, working both front and back of house. Look to build up a set of transferrable skills and learn all the components that make a business successful. Never stop developing yourself.
- What do you hope you will be doing in the next 5-10 years?
- I am excited about what I can do at Mace to help grow and support the business. Mace has a unique capability because we offer more than just FM, we are able to offer a complete end to end service, and the benefit to the clients is huge. I plan on supporting the continued growth for the business in Europe - It feels Europe, as a market on our doorstep, is a little untapped for Mace’s Operate business, but our recent contract wins have shown there is a need for a business such as ours who offers a wider spectrum of services and brings expertise across the full property lifecycle.
- What might someone be surprised to know about you?
- I used to be an international water polo player - predominantly in the Netherlands where I played at youth level in the European championships. I started life as a competitive swimmer and then transferred into water polo as I enjoyed the team sport. I also played a bit in the US when I lived and worked out there, and in the UK where I played both at university and at a national level. I later qualified as a referee and did this for a while but that’s not as much fun as actually playing – I don’t play anymore unfortunately and really miss it!
- If you hadn’t got into this line of work what do you think you might be doing?
- Two things I dreamed about when I was in school were joining the navy and running my own hotel. I’ve always thought about starting my own business. Who knows, maybe one day.
“Identifying opportunities and driving the business forward is exciting - with new ways of working presenting a huge amount of opportunity for the industry to innovate and change its approach to support our clients.”