Gang member, key account manager Jessika Lutzev waved goodbye to the office and plunged into ‘life at the mall’ for two weeks in early April, moving from the Westfield RISE head office in Düsseldorf to Westfield Centro 50 kilometres away in Oberhausen to shadow centre manager Andreas Ulmer and the rest of the Centermanagement gang as they went about their duties.
Jessi, how did this real-life experience come about?
Jessika: I’ve always wanted to take a look behind the scenes of one of our centres and see the operational side of things at first hand. Having the chance to do this – and at one of our flagship destinations into the bargain – was just amazing!
So where were you assigned to?
Andreas (the centre manager) is where everything comes together – like a human mission control centre: from security to accounting, marketing, technology and the cleaning service, he always knows what’s going on where. So I was able to get the big picture and work closely with the various people in all disciplines.
What was the most exciting thing?
There were so many! A tour of the centre was scheduled for Day 1. It was incredibly interesting to see everything from a completely different perspective than the visitors. I was particularly fascinated by the security control centre – it looks like a film production. I was also lucky enough to have several shop openings happening at the same time. Not only was I one of the first to see the new stores, I was also able to experience all the issues the centre management takes care of in the background, such as TÜV approvals (by the German Technical Inspection Agency) and walk-throughs with the fire brigade. Apart from that there are appointments with the city authorities or the energy provider, a visit to the accounting department – you wouldn’t believe the number of invoices they issue every day – and seeing the facts and figures, conversations with tenants, … it was all incredibly exciting, and every day was a highlight.
Did you get to experience Westfield Rise promotions from a different perspective?
Yes, several actually. We had a promotion in the Mitteldom at the time, and the digital and non-digital advertising spaces were also well booked. For example, when I was in the car park with our security team, I was able to see our giant 10-by-10-metre banners up close. I was also there on site with the technicians during an early morning set-up. During these two weeks, though, my focus was specifically on the day-to-day business, meaning I’ve now become a bit of a Westfield Centro expert able to contribute a lot of background knowledge to the Westfield RISE team.
Any other takeaways for your own work activities?
Westfield Centro’s like a little town in its own right, and we’re just one part of it – albeit a pretty important part. Understanding how complex the processes are in a centre like this will definitely help me plan campaigns even better in the future – from choosing the perfect location and timing to logistics and making it all happen with the team on the ground.
Would you recommend ‘mall time’ to your colleagues?
Definitely! I’d love to get to know many more of our destinations like this. Having said that, Westfield Centro is certainly one of our most impressive assets.