Natalie Beckerman has all the qualities we connect with a manager from the Big Apple-she's forthright,lively and very focussed. Now she's based in Preston at The People for Places Group. Stephanie Sparrow asked her to compare styles and trends from across the pond and found out about her role as head of quality and development with the Lancashire-based social housing giant
I didn't take this job to sit down," laughs Natalie Beckerman, referring to her busy 10 months as head of quality and people development at The Places for People Group.
This is a typical lively comment from the former member of the US hockey squad, who rarely pauses for breath, let alone sitting down.
Beckerman was born in New York and grew up in New Jersey, but after eight years in the UK, finds herself based in the North West of England, where she holds a multi-faceted role at The Places for People Group.
The Places for People Group was formed two years ago from the North British Housing Group. It provides housing and regeneration solutions across the UK and has assets in excess of £1.6bn. Its companies include Bristol Churches Housing Association, New Leaf supporting independence, a charitable arm which manages care and supported housing, and Emblem homes, which focuses on developing homes for outright sale.
The broad remit of this rapidly-expanding group is reflected in Beckerman's role, which knits together customer service and employee development issues.
"What this title means is that my job is about the tools and techniques for developing staff. The quality side is very much about the customer delivery, the service quality issues and dealing both internally and externally with customers and internal relationships," she explains. "But I see the two going completely hand-in-hand. Every time you do something with the customer externally, you have got to have the developed staff. It's not easy but it's quite a similar job title to anyone who's trying to move both aspects of an organisation together."
The job title was designed by the chief executive. "I buy into it totally," she says. And she is working hard at moving quality from a conceptual area into one of action and delivery. "I think people within the group already understand staff development but the quality side of it has never been exhibited and that needs to be developed because