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Women in FM: 5 mins with… Daniela Eigner

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

I am the environmental sustainability manager for Churchill Group; this was a newly created role in the business when I joined back in 2019. I have since been responsible for driving and implementing our Churchill Sustainability Charter, which was launched the same year.

My daily work schedule always looks very different and is often defined by our current initiatives and the work I undertake with my colleagues from different disciplines such as Procurement, Operations or our QHSE team. I am also responsible for the monitoring and managing of our organisational environmental impacts and identifying opportunities for improvements within the Group’s operational business.

This year, we are putting a strong focus on partnerships and collaboration, working with our supply chain partners to push forward new innovations. We are also engaging with our key clients across our national portfolio to implement environmental initiatives and product changes that lead to positive win-win outcomes.

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

My background actually sits more within the construction industry, having worked as an environmental consultant on major national projects such as Crossrail. More recently, I coordinated an additional environmental mitigation package for the Colne Valley Regional Park in response to HS2.

Implementing sustainability strategies within corporate organisations has always been a huge interest of mine and an area where I see substantial opportunities for positive, long-lasting change. When I joined Churchill, I was new to facilities management but soon realised this is a highly diverse industry. I quickly grew to appreciate the unique challenges presented within the various service areas.

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

I like that I joined Churchill early on in its sustainability journey. This has allowed me to take an active role in influencing and shaping our strategic framework. I believe anyone working in sustainability has a deep passion for reducing humanity’s footprint on our planet and I am no different. The need for sustainable FM is ever-increasing, and I enjoy being part of this journey. Seeing positive environmental outcomes from the smallest to the biggest actions are some of the most rewarding moments for me. I have found Churchill to be a very dynamic workplace that provides a great platform to show individualism and run with your own ideas.

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

I have worked in a few different industries, all with their own challenges. Yet,  I have to say that working within the FM industry, I always feel that my voice is being heard and valued. I think there are still challenges for women in male-dominated industries such as FM, but these industries are evolving and I have met a number of strong, inspirational women in leadership roles within FM, which is great to see.

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

Of course, the global pandemic has completely touched all aspects of our lives including the ways in which we work. As we move back into the workplace, I think there is a brilliant opportunity for the FM industry to reinvent itself and do things slightly differently moving forward.

For all industries, it will be paramount to build resilience and ensure that we can retain an agile workforce moving forward. Providing a safe, hygienic work environment will remain one of the key priorities for the FM sector, but it is also vital that we keep pressing forward the sustainability agenda.

The issue of climate change remains one of the biggest challenges to humankind and will affect us long after we have come out of the current pandemic. The recent lockdowns have proven that we can work in smarter ways, without physically having to travel to all our meetings. Utilising virtual tools and digitalisation such as sensor technologies within FM will help us manage our operations more sustainably in the future, and we must ensure we keep that momentum going.