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The Purpose-Driven Workplace & Promoting Opportunities for the Built Environment in 2020

Jo Sutherland, MA, MCIPR, MPRCA is Managing Director of Magenta where she helps organizations in the built environment communicate better with their target audience. Mike Petrusky asks Jo about the lessons she has learned and trends she has seen while attending recent conferences such as IFMA’s World Workplace and the CoreNet Global Summit. Jo believes … Continue reading "The Purpose-Driven Workplace & Promoting Opportunities for the Built Environment in 2020"

The Purpose-Driven Workplace & Promoting Opportunities for the Built Environment in 2020

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Jo Sutherland, MA, MCIPR, MPRCA is Managing Director of Magenta where she helps organizations in the built environment communicate better with their target audience. Mike Petrusky asks Jo about the lessons she has learned and trends she has seen while attending recent conferences such as IFMA’s World Workplace and the CoreNet Global Summit. Jo believes that space, leadership, and culture drive success in the workplace by creating collaborative environments where human experience is the top priority. Mike and Jo agree that mission and purpose are more important that profit when motivating today’s workforce and they share an inspirational message about the future of the built environment as we head into the year 2020 and beyond!

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Download the FREE “Workplace & Space Management Software” report from Verdantix:

Connect with Jo on LinkedIn:

Follow Jo on Twitter:

Read Jo’s article “IFMA World Workplace: Humans First”:

Learn more about Magenta Associates:

Connect with Mike on LinkedIn:

Share your thoughts with Mike via email: [email protected]

Learn more about iOFFICE’s workplace experience solutions:

Read the full transcript below: 

Mike (00:01):

Hey, I wanted to take just a minute to tell you about a new report that was released recently. It was published by Verdantix, an independent research and consulting firm, and in it, they conducted a review of the 23 most prominent space and workplace management software companies. And guess what? iOFFICE was named the leader in two categories. iOFFICE scored highest overall and highest in workplace services. Awesome. So if you’ve been thinking about workplace and space management software, and you’re just not sure which option out there is right for you, I’d like to send you a free copy of the report so you can check it out for yourself. All you need to do is go to slash Verdantix dash report dash MP. That’s right. MP as in DJ Mike P. And I’ll also leave this link in the show notes for you to make it easy. I hope it helps with your decision-making process as you explore the available software tools that will help you elevate the employee experience in your organization.

Jo Sutherland (01:05):

I think if you have a culture that encourages you to come up with crazy ideas or encourages you to mix things up a bit, then you’re going to get better results. So for me, the exciting thing for next year is this idea of diversity of thought.

Mike (01:21):

This is the Workplace Innovator podcast, where we talk with corporate real estate and facility management leaders about the industry trends and technologies impacting your organization. This show is powered by iOFFICE, the leading employee experience focused IWMS software that delivers real time data and mobile tools to help you intelligently manage your digital workplace.

Hi everyone. And welcome to episode 86 of the Workplace Innovator podcast. My name is Mike. And this week I have a very special guest, a friend of the show from across the pond, Jo Sutherland of Magenta Associates. I ran into Jo at both IFMA’s World Workplace and the CoreNet Global Summit. And I wanted to hear what she thought about both of these amazing events. There was so much there and there’s a lot to cover. So let’s get to it. On the Workplace Innovator hotline calling from the UK, it’s Jo Sutherland. Welcome Jo.

Jo Sutherland (02:22):

Thanks Mike. Thanks for having me.

Mike (02:24):

It’s great to talk to you finally.

Jo Sutherland (02:28):

Yeah, you too. I know. We’ve exchanged a lot of tweets, so this is definitely upgrading, isn’t it?

Mike (02:32):

Yeah. And then we saw each other in person recently at IFMA’s World Workplace and the CoreNet Global Summit. You are a busy traveling-

Jo Sutherland (02:40):

Jet setter.

Mike (02:40):

Jet setter. A PR pro jet setter. But please for the audience’s benefit, tell us who you are and what you do.

Jo Sutherland (02:49):

Well, you’ve covered my name, but I’ll just say it again. So I’m Jo Sutherland and I am Managing Director of Magenta. So we’re a PR agency and we specialize in the built environment. So I’ve been part of the Magenta gang for about four years now and loving every second of it. In my spare time, I’m part of the IFMA UK chapter. So I joined the board about a year and a half ago now, and that’s what brought me into really close contact with some fantastic minds.

And also I work really closely with the brilliant people at the Royal Institution for Chartered Surveyors. So yeah, that’s really expanded my thinking and got me excited about the possibilities of the profession. I also volunteer for Women in Property. So that’s an association here in the UK aiming to promote opportunities for women in the industry as well. So yeah, I keep myself busy, but I love every minute of it.

Mike (03:42):

Excellent. Really exciting. In fact, I stumbled into this industry over a decade ago, as someone trying to help organizations promote their brand and prove their value to the facility management community. So I have a real interest in the work you do and have been following you now for years. What is it that you most enjoy about this work, Jo?

Jo Sutherland (04:03):

So for me, it’s got to be the people aspect. So I love my job just because I get to meet and hang out with some really great people. I think FM as an industry is one of the friendliest out there. My background is actually broadcast PR. So I used to do a lot of work with certain celebrities. So when I joined FM, I wasn’t really sure what to expect to be honest, but I have to say it’s been such a welcoming industry, the professionals within it are just class. And yeah, I love my job because it brings me into contact with people who have really exciting ideas about everything that touches our day-to-day lives.

Mike (04:40):

When I started my podcast, Jo, I talked about my goal was to interview IFMA celebrities and I got the chance to interview some of the people that were on stage at World Workplace and other big events. And I felt like I was doing what you’re doing, which is exciting.

Jo Sutherland (04:53):

Yeah. Well, it does feel like that doesn’t it? So recently at World Workplace, honestly, I left the conference just with a renewed sense of energy because the IFMA team really do make you think in a different way. And it’s just great to be part of that family.

Mike (05:06):

Well, I want to talk more about what you learned in Phoenix and more about the trends in the industry. But before we go too far, my audience, Jo, they love to get to know the personal side of my guests. So my favorite question to ask is about music. Are you a fan of music? What are you listening to?

Jo Sutherland (05:23):

Oh, I love music. Yeah, but it depends what I’m doing. So when I’m trying to concentrate at work. So I, as part of my job, I write a lot of copy and we, a lot of the team here produce a lot of [inaudible 00:05:36]. So when I’m in concentration mode, my go to is actually drum and bass.

Mike (05:41):

Drum and bass? Is that a band or is that a style of music?

Jo Sutherland (05:45):

No, it’s a style of music. It’s very, I’m not going to do an impression of it, but it’s basically it is what it sounds like. It’s just drums and bass and it’s got a really peppy, energetic beat, and there’s no lyrics. So yeah, drum and bass.

Mike (06:00):

Excellent. Deep focus music. I love that.

Jo Sutherland (06:01):

Deep focus music.

Mike (06:03):

I can’t get you to sing a little podcast karaoke with drum and bass, but what if you’re in the shower trying to get your day started, energized? What inspires you?

Jo Sutherland (06:11):

Oh, do you know what without, I mean I’m going to confess this and I imagine people are going to mock me, but hey, here goes. I do love a bit of Disney. I love it. Well, I mean it’s a great way to start your day. It’s happy and you can’t be upset or depressed listening to Disney.

Mike (06:28):

Let it go. Let it go. Can’t hold it back anymore. Come on, Jo, join me. Let it go. I’m kidding.

Jo Sutherland (06:36):

Let it go.

Mike (06:37):

Oh, you are going to sing.

Jo Sutherland (06:40):

[inaudible 00:06:40] That’s what you’re getting. That’s a teaser for later.

Mike (06:42):

That was awesome. I’m sorry to interrupt it. We were just in Anaheim together as well for the CoreNet Global Summit. Did you have a chance to stop by Disneyland?

Jo Sutherland (06:51):

I did actually just before… On the last day, when the conference wrapped up, I popped down to Disney downtown on my own with my Magenta branded bag, wandering around with all the children and people dressed as penguins and whatever else I saw. It was brilliant. I mean, yeah. Happy place. It would have been happier maybe with company, but-

Mike (07:13):

It’s the happiest place on earth. We could have coordinated better. I stopped by to visit the new Star Wars land by myself and checked that out. I’m a huge Star Wars geek, as you may know, if you’ve listened to the show and it was just walking around with all my people, all in their Star Wars gear, and Chewbacca backpacks, and all kinds of light sabers floating around. It was just really cool.

Jo Sutherland (07:36):

I bet were in your element.

Mike (07:37):

Absolutely. Well, good. Good times. Do you have an inspirational quote you can share with our audience?

Jo Sutherland (07:45):

Yeah. Do you know what? At Magenta, we focus a lot on wellbeing and we have a wellbeing wall. So on the wellbeing wall, we have everything from what we can do around town. So whether there’s any theater shows, whether there’s any healthy restaurants, we should try out. And then obviously on the wall, there’s also motivational quotes. So I often walk past it and have a look at them. And the one that I really like is “the day might not be good, but there is always something good in every day.”

Mike (08:16):

The cup is half full, regardless of what’s going on in our lives.

Jo Sutherland (08:19):

Absolutely. So what did they say? The glass is half full, whichever way you look at it, half full of water or half full of air.

Mike (08:27):

That’s right.

Jo Sutherland (08:27):

It’s quite nice, right?

Mike (08:28):

You have another one?

Jo Sutherland (08:29):

Yeah. Well, I’m a big, big fan of traveling. I love exploring new cultures and going away on holiday as I’m sure most people do. And so one of my other favorite quotes is Herman Melville. So he’s the guy who wrote Moby Dick and check this out. So “I love to sail forbidden seas and land on barbarous coasts.” So I love that one.

Mike (08:53):

I’m speechless, Jo.

Jo Sutherland (08:57):

That’s it. That’s all you’re getting. I think that’s the… Yeah, I’m not sure there’s any more I can remember from heart, to be honest.

Mike (09:02):

What does that mean to you that quote? Poetic, of course, but is there a deeper meaning?

Jo Sutherland (09:07):

Maybe? I mean I love to sail forbidden seas, so you’d love to explore the places that haven’t been explored before or the places that are slightly outside of your comfort zone. Perhaps what that bit means you push yourself further, push yourself into different cultures, into different cities that you never thought you’d be in, perhaps that ties into that. And barbarous coasts. Yes, I mean same really.

Mike (09:34):

Well, that’s what we’re here to do is inspire our audience to get out of their comfort zone and continue to evolve as people and as workplace leaders, because it’s a fast-moving environment in which we operate for sure.

Jo Sutherland (09:47):

It really is. And the energy that’s required to really make a difference, especially in light of the fact that there is such a big focus now on the employee experience or the human experience. So if we’re going to be the leaders of that, and we’re going to pioneer change for the better of everyone’s lives, then we need to have that energy. And we need to have that curiosity and that will to reach new heights as it were.

Mike (10:14):

That’s a great transition, Jo. I want to talk to you about what you perceive as the most important things going on in the built environment today in the marketplace. You travel the world, you talk to a lot of people, you visit a lot of sites, a lot of organizations and their workplaces, you mentioned employee experience and the human experience is essential. That was what you took away from Phoenix I imagine?

Jo Sutherland (10:36):

Yeah. That came out loud and clear. Didn’t it? This move from employee experience even to human experience. It seems to have upped a gear even more. I think other trends that I’ve noticed from the different conferences I’ve attended and the workplaces I’ve been so lucky to visit is it really feels like now work is a place we want to go as opposed to a place that we have to be. So that’s what I’ve seen in the work places I’ve visited in terms of the buzz and the vibe from the people in the buildings.

            But also just outside of work even when I’m talking to my friends in whatever city I might happen to be in, it seems to be different now. People want to be part of a community. They want to go to a workplace, whatever workplace that might be. It could be a coffee shop, it could be a coworking space, it could be their organization’s headquarters. But people want that connection and because of that, work I think it feels a lot more exciting now about what we can actually achieve if we work together.

Mike (11:39):

Yeah. How do we do that? Do you have any thoughts as far as what you’ve seen? I know you visit a lot of organizations and is it about the spaces they design or is it more about the communication tools or is it a cultural question? What do you think?

Jo Sutherland (11:52):

I think it’s a combination of all of the above, to be honest. So the space itself obviously can facilitate collaboration and social interaction. If you’re sitting in a cellular office with rows of desks, you’re not going to be able to easily collaborate with others. So the space definitely plays a part in that, but by the same token, you could have a workplace that facilitates collaboration with different zones for individual focus work and collaborative work. But if the culture isn’t right, and if the leadership isn’t allowing people to be as mobile as they could be, then that space will be for nothing really. So I think it’s all three. It’s the space, it’s the leadership, and it’s the general culture that you’re driving.

Mike (12:41):

I agree. Yeah, absolutely. So what other trends are you seeing?

Jo Sutherland (12:43):

So we’ve touched on wellbeing. So this idea of bringing out the best and our happiest selves to work. So that seems to be definitely a focus. And I think this ties into this other trend, which is without sounding naive, it’s almost as if profits come second to purpose, or at least that’s what the discourse is suggesting. That in this age we’re in where technology is changing the way we work and the way we consume things and the way we live and the way we feel. In this new world of work, we as humans running these workplaces, running these organizations, we need to really think about what our purpose is and facilitate the best interests of our people. And profit is almost seen as a pleasant side effect of that. Maybe I’m being a bit idealist, but that’s definitely a message I’ve witnessed at IFMA World Workplace and at CoreNet Global, actually.

Mike (13:38):

I think this was an idea that was first put out as the millennials we’re focused on this. And only the young generations cared more about mission than profit, but I think it affects all of us. I’m an older guy, but I’ve changed over the years. And I really found that what most matters to me is feeling like I can feel like I have a purpose and I feel like I’m bringing something that helps others. And certainly got to pay the bills so the need for profit is there. And I think that’s not going to go away, but at the same time, it is a holistic picture of ourselves as people and the role we play within our organizations.

Jo Sutherland (14:18):

Yes, definitely. Well, purpose is the thing that drives us more than anything else. And if the environments that we are in as part of our day-to-day lives, help us achieve those purposes, then we’re going to be happy, more engaged, and more productive. So it’s all part of the same thing, isn’t it? But I think rather than focusing on performance and productivity with the idea of purpose and wellbeing as something in the sidelines, I think the focus now is on purpose and wellbeing with the knowledge that actually that will have a positive impact on productivity as well.

Mike (14:51):

There you go. The outcome is after the focus on the human side. I love that. 2020 is right around the corner, Jo.

Jo Sutherland (15:00):

How did that happen?

Mike (15:01):

Where did this come from? I used to read reports about the future workplace 2020. Over here, it’s happening. So what are you most excited about heading into a new year, into a new decade? What’s on your mind?

Jo Sutherland (15:12):

Well, for me, we were talking earlier about how FM can push this forward and how FM real estate if we work hand in hand with people services and with tech, then we can really make a difference. So all of that’s exciting, but I think to really make that happen, it’s about leadership. It’s about the leadership inspiring and empowering people, regardless of the discipline that they belong to, to work together and to think a bit differently and to explore the possibilities and to not be constrained by, “Oh, well, we’ve always done it this way.” I think if you have a culture that encourages you to come up with crazy ideas or encourages you to mix things up a bit, then you’re going to get better results. So for me, the exciting thing for next year is this idea of diversity of thought.

            So working with people that you wouldn’t normally work with from different backgrounds, different disciplines, different professions, working together to explore the options and the opportunities, and to really find out what’s possible and not to be restricted by those silos or by the short-sightedness of thinking you only have to do things in the same way as your predecessors.

            So, I mean, I’m answering this question in a really long-winded way, but I think what I’m really excited about is using these trends as an excuse to experiment and to play and to think a little bit differently and to work with the IFMA UK chapter team, which I’m part of, and to work with Magenta team to just challenge the way of thinking and challenge the status quo and maybe experiment and do things differently. I think now is the opportunity to do that and to empower others to think about that journey as well.

Mike (16:55):

That’s awesome. And that’s what Magenta is all about. Certainly from what I’ve perceived online, your brand is such that you are having fun with what you’re doing and you’re helping your clients to think outside the box, right?

Jo Sutherland (17:07):

Yeah. Well, we like to describe ourselves as a playful agency, but one that is serious about getting results. So I mean part of the reason that our clients work with us is obviously we’re expertise in this area, but another big part is that we are fun to work with hopefully, and hopefully they’ll agree. And I think in this day and age, when you’re doing business with each other, you need to have that rapport and those relationships.

            So whether it’s between an organization and their PR agency, or an organization and the supply chain or the consultants that they are bringing in for additional insight, if those relationships are strong and you can work together to achieve more than you thought you would otherwise. So, yeah, that’s very much what we’re about as an agency. And I’m so lucky the whole team at Magenta, they’re just a joy to work with. We’ve got so many different people from different backgrounds, different ideas, and we have a lot of fun together. We work hard, play hard. I think that’s the trick.

Mike (18:07):

Absolutely. Well, I can attest to that, Jo, having now met you a couple of times and talked to you as much as we have, it’s infectious your energy and your personality and the work you’re doing is fantastic. Thanks for sharing some of it with us today. And thanks for being on the Workplace Innovator podcast.

Jo Sutherland (18:24):

Oh Mike, thank you. Thank you for having me. It’s been great. And likewise, your energy as well. Every time I meet you, I can’t help smiling. And I think what you’re doing here with your podcast is brilliant. It’s pushing that conversation forward. It’s keeping the debate alive and you’re getting different thoughts into the mix, which is what it’s all about. So thank you so much for having me on your show.

Mike (18:46):

There you have it folks. Jo Sutherland sharing what she learned at IFMA’s World Workplace and the CoreNet Global Summit, and so much more. It is so great to have a company like Magenta out there, really promoting and elevating the people and the organizations that are really having an impact on the world of facility management and the workplace.

            Please check the show notes for links to connect with Jo and find links to all of the social platforms and online resources that Magenta is providing to our community. Thanks so much for listening and hey, everybody it’s official. We are now in the most wonderful time of the year. So enjoy the holidays. New episodes coming all the way through these next several weeks and into the new year. So continue to join us each and every week as we inspire each other to be a workplace innovator. Peace out.

            You’ve been listening to the Workplace Innovator podcast. I hope you found this discussion beneficial as we work together to build partnerships that lead to innovative workplace solutions. For more information about how iOFFICE can help you create an employee centric workspace by delivering digital technology that enhances the employee experience, visit


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As the host of both the Workplace Innovator Podcast and the Asset Champion Podcast, Mike's role at Eptura is to share thought leadership with CRE, FM, and IT leaders in the digital and hybrid workplace. As an in-demand public speaker, Mike engages audiences with his focus on the human element of workplace and facility management at International Facility Management Association, CoreNet, and other industry events.

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