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Women in FM: 5 mins with… Ana Nikolova

What is your role at Churchill and what does it involve day to day?

As head of PRISM and Transformation, my role is to provide expertise in transformation and continuous improvement management, by designing and delivering change management programmes, aligned with our clients’ strategy. I liaise with colleagues and clients, taking the lead throughout the transformational processes, identifying risks using productivity evidence and lessons learned, to create a platform for continuous improvement with a strong change ethos. Another exciting part of my role is the management, development, and growth of PRISM, which is the first hygiene programme of its kind. It offers data-driven cleaning and hygiene regimes based on the results of swab tests. These results enable hygiene plans to change in real-time, so our teams are always addressing the most relevant cleaning needs to manage bacteria levels in our clients’ premises, creating healthy workspaces.

How did you find your way into FM? (Tell us a bit about your background)

I found my way into FM 17 years ago, through a massive personal change. I went from being a philosophy teacher to relocating to the UK and working as a night cleaning operative while learning English at school during the day. I worked as a regional administrator while completing an FM apprenticeship, followed by managing a 24/7 operational support team. I gained a Lean 6 sigma management accreditation and was promoted to business improvement manager, which gave me the expertise and experience to become a transformation manager for Churchill in 2018 then move into my current role.

What is your favourite thing about your job/the industry?

Creating conscious transformation through engaging and inspiring people. Driving measurable change by improving processes through innovation, continuous improvement methodology and mindfulness. I love being part of Churchill’s sustainable vision for the future, where I can drive the implementation of sustainable solutions and innovations to significantly reduce the impact of our industry on the environment. Our culture is underpinned by our core philosophy of doing right by our people, our customers, our society and our planet.

As a woman in FM, what are your biggest frustrations?

Being a woman in FM has its challenges but embracing the power of femininity is a formidable strength. By integrating our impulse as women to create an environment where people can fulfill their potential, making them happier in their environment, inspiring and lifting each other up and building better communities, we can transform any challenges into possibilities. We have the power to create space for engagement and connection that nurtures social cohesion, equality and trust; all of which have been linked to positive mental and physical health outcomes and, ultimately, enhanced productivity.

What are your key predictions for/the biggest issues facing the FM market over the next year?

I think that the aftermath of the pandemic will shine a new light on wellness and sustainability and will bring a cultural shift which can provide a framework for our industry to prepare for a safer and healthier future, creating an environment which nurtures personal growth, environmental responsibility, and employee wellness. The FM has a leading role in supporting our health and well-being, as well as our collective ability to prepare for and respond to global health challenges, like the one we are experiencing now. We hold the potential to revolutionise the cleaning protocol with innovative solutions like PRISM, which addresses the high-touch surfaces, and eliminate the use of hazardous or harmful ingredients in cleaning and disinfection products.