FACILITYCalgary publisher Mark Kolke, in conversation with Lloyd Suchet
October 27, 2015
BOMA Calgary’s Executive Director retired. On my mind – was when would there be a replacement, and who would it be.
He’s Lloyd Suchet (pronounced sue-shay). From policy-wonk to top job on such a short time, does everyone know Lloyd Suchet yet?
Who is this nice Jewish boy with a French name from South Africa via Regina, Edmonton and Ottawa and how did he become BOMA Calgary’s Executive Director? I didn’t so I set out to find out – to meet him and interview him. He readily agreed.
He says, “When you put your head down and work, people notice.” I guess they did.
Born in Johannesburg, South Africa, he was four when his family came to Canada. To Regina. His mom was a teacher, then a stay at home mom to Lloyd and two older siblings. Dad, a Doctor, a radiologist. He did K-12 in Regina, earned a B.A. in Political Science and History at the University of Alberta before venturing in the maw of government in Ottawa where he learned some politics and public policy - he worked for an MP and also with WD. More schooling was next – earning his Masters in Public Policy at U of C where he studied under Jack Mintz and crew, and then worked there for a year. “Academic life wasn’t for me.”
Along they way he married Rachel Nadler. She’s an information records pro who scolds Lloyd on his ‘paper organizing skills’. They have no children yet and one dog. Lloyd’s work at BOMA as Director of Governmental and Regulatory Affairs was going well …
And then the BOMA Board went calling to the market in search of a new Executive Director …
“They had started a search for a new Executive Director … and I threw my hat in the ring.”
So, BOMA hired you to move into the Executive Director’s chair. Why you? What qualifies you to lead BOMA Calgary? “Advocacy, representing BOMA to the outside world. Knitting together what I’ve learned in eighteen months working on the MGA file, working with the BOMA committees. An understanding of governance – of good governance. Giving the board good information they need. Being decisive and showing good judgement.”
Why are you successful? “Luck, and being in the right place at the right time. Good judgement and decisiveness. School didn’t come easily for me. I’ve always had to work hard. And our volunteers – they are very good at what they do. They give us incredible results because they feel empowered. They make my job a lot easier.”
What has held you back? “I have trouble with personal organization (ie: that pile of paper on my desk!) That’s always been a weak point for me”.
He’s young. What a future he has in front of him …
How do you see your business – a buildings industry advocacy, networking and education organization – going forward over the next quarter?
… It’s a ‘what have you done for me lately business’. Our membership numbers are stable. People are anxious. We need to adjust our expectations …
And over the next five years?
… I hate to look at the past to predict the future. If we can deliver what our members expect will be better – reformatting our focus on energy. We are working on a strategic plan. Not a lot can stop us from being stronger …
What qualities distinguish your preferred colleagues, collaborators and suppliers?
… as a not-for-profit we need to mind the dollars. Sometimes a product is better and worth more money. I’ll willing to pay more for quality but I can’t lose sight of value-for-money. I love great customer service.
What distinguishes you that causes people to choose Lloyd Suchet, choose BOMA, and why do they do business with you, why have they hired you, over your competitors?
… we have a credible reputation – and we leverage relevant education. Advocacy, education and networking – that’s what we do.
How would you describe your leadership/management style?
… I try to emulate things I’ve learned from good bosses. I’m not going to micro-manage. My approach is ‘get your work done and I’m happy’. I want to unleash people, let them use their skills. I’m not afraid to fail. We need to come up with new ideas and try them.
What do you lose sleep over, what do you worry about?
… we’re in a customer service business. To remain relevant. We can’t do things the way we’ve always done them.
Who or what influenced you most – that has made a difference in your life, or that was a major turning point?
… my family. And my father is my biggest professional influence – and my grandfather as well – considerate, thorough – honesty. Put your head down and work hard!
Work-life balance – do you have it?
… Yes. Cooking. I’m the cook! Spending time with our 2-yr. old German Shephard, cooking (love my Japanese knife from Knifewear in Inglewood).
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