Case Studies

Rabiah Brooken – Aptean

Putting the “real” in real-estate management

Professional change is tough. Whether you’re a seasoned executive advancing in your career or a young worker whose employer was recently acquired by another company, adjusting to new surroundings—physical, administrative or otherwise—can be a real challenge.

Rabiah Reyome understands this better than anyone. After years of working with some of the country’s largest commercial real-estate firms, in 2016 Reyome joined Aptean, a fast-growing enterprise business software provider, as director of global facilities and procurement.

Tasked with establishing a global facilities management and procurement division, one focused on enhancing synergies around regional and global operations, Reyome more than welcomed the challenge.

“The change was timely,” Reyome reflects during a recent interview with Blueprint. “And the shift has proved to be more rewarding than I could’ve imagined.”

These days, Reyome and her team are working to ensure that Aptean’s facilities properly reflect the company’s commitment to culture and collaboration.

“As a software company, we’re especially focused on ensuring our employees are equipped with the right tools to support their growth and productivity,” Reyome says. “When we acquire new offices, we strive to foster innovative and collaborative atmospheres for the people inside.”

Keeping it real

Few acquisitions better underscore that commitment to a positive company culture than Aptean’s recent purchase of OPTIWARE, a Danish-based company specializing in high-tech solutions known as overall equipment effectiveness and enterprise asset management—technologies that fall squarely in Aptean’s wheelhouse.

Bridging the transatlantic cultural divide, however, required a bit more effort than the company’s stateside acquisitions. Specifically, Reyome and her team had to dedicate time, energy and resources to learning about their new teammates—their working culture, office practice, collective tastes and so on.

For starters, they quickly realized that European countries generally function best in a more collaborative environment, while North American firms are more likely to emphasize private space.

Accordingly, Reyome and her team ensure allowances are made for things like noon teatime, team-wide Friday breakfasts, and regular group lunches—both on and off the company premises.

“We must consider these kinds of cultural variances when looking to acquire a new company,” Reyome says. “It’s our goal to create a company culture that embraces the diversity of all its employees while also encouraging collaboration, productivity and growth. It’s a real team effort to do this—and we’re constantly learning. American companies have learned a lot from companies in Europe and Asia, and vice-versa. It’s all about striking that balance between best practices, routines and customs that employees are comfortable with.”

Lay of the land

Reyome is quick to emphasize that the process is never one-size-fits-all; she and her team are working to ensure that they build the best working environments possible for all Aptean employees—no matter where they happen to work. This is especially important given Aptean’s growing global footprint, which includes satellite offices throughout the U.S. and Europe, as well as APAC and Canada. For a company that’s still considered mid-sized, managing such an array of spaces is no small feat.

While she’s had similar roles at larger companies—including a pair of Fortune 500s—Reyome points to Aptean’s relatively modest size as a boon, particularly when it comes to the organization’s employee-engagement strategies.

To that end, Reyome engages with employees in all departments and seniorities, further emphasizing that “collaboration really is the heartbeat of the Aptean team.”

“Because of this communicative and synergistic environment, we’re better able to discern which strategies have the most value,” Reyome says.

From the ground up

Prior to Reyome’s arrival, Aptean didn’t have a formalized global facilities management division. All of that changed in 2016, when Reyome moved to implement a number of enterprise-wide standards.

In an effort to improve the company’s sustainability efforts, Reyome and her team decided to focus on standardizing Aptean’s average employee footprint per region, a measure she says aligns well with Aptean’s mission of “working smart and building amazing teams.”

More broadly, she works directly with the company’s CEO, TVN Reddy,  to implement innovative cost-savings measures around vendor management and strategic sourcing, resulting in a significant decrease around subcontractor risk within the Aptean supply chain.

“I’ve always been passionate about real-estate and facilities management, and there are many operational elements that people may overlook, or not understand that much about,” Reyome says. “For me, ensuring our offices are safe and that they exceed the needs of our employees is always a top priority for my team. That’s part of what I love about this role: it allows me to practice and leverage what I’ve learned over the years.”

Finding the right fit

It’s a background that includes academic credentials in Psychology and Organizational Leadership from Brenau University, as well as nearly three years of experience as vice president of procurement and supplier diversity at Jones Lang LaSalle.

Through her diverse skillset, Reyome is able to apply her business acumen to the complexity of her current role: analyzing volumes of spend data, managing regional and global move management projects, reviewing abstracted contracts—the list goes on.

“It’s hard work, but it’s also really good work,” she says.

Reyome says that moving to Aptean allowed her to see the impact of those efforts every day—in the expansion of a new office, increased employee satisfaction due to a redesigned office layout, or any of the other operational responsibilities that sit under her umbrella.

The result is a sense of satisfaction that many facilities directors—particularly those who work at larger companies— may not experience.

“It’s great that I’m able to see that my work has an immediate positive impact on employees. It truly makes every day rewarding,” Reyome says. “We want every Aptean employee to feel fulfilled, and we’re working hard to create the spaces that make that possible.”

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