Martin G Bell, FIWFM, is an example of what someone dedicated to the profession can achieve, evidenced as he takes the role of Chair a year to the day since becoming a Fellow of the Institute.
Martin has worked in our profession since the age of 20, when he took his first job as Facilities Co-ordinator at Nortel, before embarking on a graduate programme at Johnson Controls. “Originally, I wanted to work in HR, however, the impact workplace and facilities management has on staff productivity drew me in.” That's where the workplace passion started for Martin.
22 years on, Martin's now has a leading role at Nestlé Workplace Solutions, providing global facilities management guidance to many businesses, where he “influences a global strategy for facilities management deployment and management to make Nestlé a better place to work.” But it took plenty of graft to get there. That's what I mean when I say that Martin's an example of what can be achieved, if you're dedicated. He joined the Institute at Member grade and worked his way up through the ranks, to Certified grade and then Fellow, which he was awarded at 2018's annual general meeting – a year to the day before he returned to take the Chair.
But, with Martin, it's not all about the day job. It's also about doing that little bit extra, for the profession and the people in it. He's volunteered with us since 2012, as a member of the FM World (now Facilitate) Editorial Advisory Board and the Audit & Risk Committee – from which he now steps down due to his new role – and then as a Board member.
Martin takes the baton from Stephen Roots, who served as Chair from 2017 to 2019. Stephen fronted ambitious change for the Institute, including overseeing our name change, from the British Institute of Facilities Management to the Institute of Workplace and Facilities Management. And in that name change, Stephen also set the coordinates for the Institute's journey towards chartership, which remains our goal today. But, more importantly, he helped move our profession forward, to a place that looks beyond the built environment, to the interconnectedness of people, culture and technology: to workplace.
Undoubtedly, Martin has big shoes to fill. So, what attracted him to the Chair in the first place? In a complimentary fashion, he said, in part, his decision to run was because he sees IWFM as a "well-functioning professional body with a solid plan and an amazing ambition for chartership." Equally importantly, Martin also recognises the need to articulate benefits and value to members, and the need for growth and adaptation – to make sure we stay relevant.
"Our profession can add value to organisations through embracing workplace, raising our professional standards and aligning to organisations' goals," he said. Adding, "We can make a greater impact by developing and deploying softer skills in tandem with professional knowledge and capability, and together we can help build and support our profession's human capital."
Behind Martin's passion for our profession and the Institute itself is a desire to assist in professional growth; to help people get to where they really want to be, to make sure they're fulfilled in their jobs and constantly moving forward. After all, that's why we exist.
Martin has many plans for how he’ll support the Institute, with an uncompromising confidence that’ll we’ll continue to develop and grow, to be the face of a forward-thinking profession.
With that, we look forward to seeing what his next steps are, with the weight of an energetic profession upon his shoulders. Best of luck, Martin.
Written by Linda Hausmanis, CEO, IWFM