Women in Facilities Management

Asset efficiency and achieving sustainability goals
The rising need for facilities management services in the Middle East

The Facilities Management industry is one that has been knowingly dominated by men. However, we believe this is slowly starting to change with a growing number of women starting a career in FM. There is a place for women in facilities management and it is a great opportunity for them to leave their mark.

It is all about balance, and diversity is especially important in the Facilities Management industry where people are at the core of it.

As an FM business, we think it’s our responsibility to empower women and recognize their accomplishments and contributions. In light of International Women’s Day, we interviewed three IREP ladies at leadership positions. They prove that it’s possible to be a woman and be successful in the facilities management industry.

Let’s hear from some amazing women in facilities management…


Joy Giles | Head of HSE | United Kingdom

What does International Women’s Day mean to you?

It’s a day to show how over the years women have become more in control of their dreams and ambitions. It’s not about wanting to be better than men, but to show we can be equal on so many fronts.

What personal qualities help you succeed in your job?

It’s very simple for me – hard work, determination to be the best I can be, honesty and believing in myself.

Have you faced any challenges in your career due to being a woman? If so, how did you overcome them?

To me, working in male dominated sectors such as the facilities management industry, it was never about proving I was better or more knowledgeable. It was about getting people to listen and changing their mindset towards HSE, which was a challenging task.

I overcame the challenge by having a more amenable approach and asking more questions. This helped me understand the thought process of people when carrying out work activities and then suggesting alternatives with reasoning behind my suggestions. It was not easy then but to know you had changed just one person’s mindset that day meant I had started to climb over that barrier. It’s about earning trust and respect of those who you want to keep safe.


Jean Burnett | Director of Operations | Canada

What does International Women’s Day mean to you?

IWD honours the achievements of women by highlighting and recognizing their contributions, and by doing so promotes gender equality worldwide.

What makes you proud of your work?

I am proud being part of a great team who comes to work each day prepared to do their best in an honest and ethical manner.

What has your experience been working in the facilities management industry?

I have been exceptionally lucky throughout my career to be mentored by experienced, knowledgeable and maybe most importantly, patient individuals. Working for a global company has been very rewarding. It is a pleasure to work with colleagues from all over the world.

What advice would you give to someone interested in working in the facilities management industry?

I would highly recommend pursuing a career in the facilities management industry. There are so many aspects of the business that you could have an opportunity to gain experience in. For example, customer service, project management, asset management, leasing, health and safety, finance. Each day presents women in facilities management with a different challenge, and you go home every night a smarter person.


Sophie Ferrari | Head of Finance | Dubai, UAE

What does International Women’s Day mean to you? 

IWD reminds the world that we must collectively recognize and celebrate the strengths of women, their accomplishments, rights, equality, and their innate ability to juggle a career and family – despite the difficulties faced in the modern world.

Why did you choose the career path you’re currently on? 

I started my career in a local accountancy firm in the UK and soon discovered a passion for the financial system and its processes. I had the ability to support individuals and small businesses in their understanding of their own financial position and compliance status. I quickly developed an appreciation of the amount of time and trust one must place in an individual in my position.

Here I am today representing women in facilities management. Having started as a financial analyst back in 2013, I now sit as the Head of Finance for IREP. I am very grateful that I chose the path that supports both my passions – finance and helping people with their financial needs.

What’s a perk of working in the facilities management industry that most people don’t know about? 

Facilities Management doesn’t just mean we provide services to existing buildings. We also get to look at the whole life span of a property and get involved in varying stages.

Being a part of this gives us a whole plethora of experience in a variety of fields. It is also great working with people who have such a diverse skillset and can compliment each other in an extremely multicultural environment. The facilities management industry is a lot more complex and far more interesting than just providing services.

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