Carol Hart-Sosinski | Director of Customer Service
Federal Business Centers, Inc.
Tell us a little about yourself?
I’ve lived in NJ my entire life. I’ve been married to John for 38 years. We were friends in high school, and he got me my first job, part time after school, working in an engineering office. I folded the blueprints. We have two children, both married. Tracee is a teacher in PA with 2 children of her own, and Rob lives in NJ and works in the precipitator field. That’s something to do with air pollution controls.
How and when did you get your start in Facilities Management?
I was working as a Property Manager for The Gale Company when we won the first outsourced FM assignment from AT&T. While I didn’t work on that account, I was soon part of the team that responded to RFP’s for third party FM assignments. We were lucky enough to win assignments with Siemens, Toys R Us, NY Life, Panasonic, and many others. Those accounts were part of the portfolio that I managed. I feel so lucky to have worked as both a Property Manager and Facility Manager. In fact, when I started working for Federal Business Centers in 2009, I asked if I could do a presentation for the workforce on the differences between the two. So while I’m back now in Property Management, I understand what our tenants deal with inside their spaces, and can assist them.
At what point in your career did you begin taking facilities management classes and receive your designations?
Shame on me, I don’t have an FM designation. I did earn an RPA from BOMI when I first became involved in property management and earned a Business Management degree from Centenary University
What is the biggest lesson you have learned in your career?
I find myself repeating some simple advice I received a long time ago from people in the industry who I admire and respect – who will remain nameless but they will know if they read this – first is Don’t fight battles you can’t win. Simple, right? But that’s one that works professionally and personally. Another is Attitude over Aptitude. If you have the right attitude, you are worth the time it takes to learn something you don’t know. When I first started at Gale & Wentworth, I had no experience with budgeting and financial reporting, but I learned quickly and can provide a great variance explanation, and calculate a CAM credit.
How do you define success?
Respect from peers and those who I report to.
When looking to hire qualified candidates would you look for designations on resumes?
Yes, but you can’t discount those who might not have a designation, but have lots of experience and the right attitude. People need to be proud of whatever job they have, and perform to their utmost ability. When I put my kids on the school bus when they were young, I had to believe that bus driver was proud of their job and were going to do the best job they could.
What benefit do you personally receive from being a member of NJ IFMA and what is the value it can offer young professionals – why should they become involved in the organization?
To begin with, I think the value for young professionals is belonging to a network. I’m not so sure they all recognize the true meaning of this and significance it has for their personal and professional growth.
NJ IFMA continues to allow me to organize events and meetings for two groups – first being what we call FM Breakfasts. Started in 2017, we meet at least quarterly for an informal roundtable, hosted by different members at their locations. I’ve learned a lot from this group, and I know it has resulted in the participants forming their own relationships and reaching out to each other for support and help. The other is what we call Women in FM. In it’s 8th year, we invite all the females in the chapter to both fun and educational events several times a year. The goal is for the women members to get to know each other better on an informal basis, which in turn encourages meeting attendance and committee participation.
Do you have a mentor or role model in your career that has helped guide you on your path?
I’ve had many, too many to name. I have learned from people I report to as well as people who have reported to me over the years. It’s really important to try to understand people’s motivation and sincerity. I’ve run across people who would step on anyone to get ahead; some are successful, others not so much.
If you were not in this industry, what would you like to do?
I like this question, very early on I wanted to do something in the medical field. I wasn’t motivated enough to consider medical school – I barely made it out of biology. But now I’m very motivated in opportunities to give back. I believe there’s a connection there.
What would you like to achieve next in your career?
Keeping in mind this is December, 2020, I am anxious to witness the COVID recovery. There’s so much that’s unknown, businesses that are struggling to hold on, and other businesses that have a tremendous opportunity to grow. If you’re involved in Logistics and willing to take some risks, you could be in for a wild ride.
What do you enjoy most about working for Federal Business Centers?
Federal Business Centers is an awesome company to work for. Our opinions are always requested, even if the decision goes another way. Building relationships with our customers is our main goal, and throughout COVID, we have bonded in a way that is sometimes hard to comprehend with both co-workers and customers.
What advice would you give someone new coming into the industry?
It is a concern that so many Facility and Property Managers are nearing the latter part of their careers, and there is a shortage of those coming into the industry. What is encouraging is that there are educational programs geared directly to our industry, whereas many of us fell into the industry, perhaps from a construction job, HR, or Office Management. I would encourage the young professionals to get involved with an organization where they can meet others and build their network. Our service provider partners need to be respected and appreciated for being there when needed, and sharing their knowledge with us.