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Women in FM: 5 mins with… Isabella Williams

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

I am project manager for Churchill’s digital transformation journey. My team focuses solely on innovation and how we can make our colleagues’ day to day tasks easier and smoother by using technology. We have a range of products that are being developed, tested, and rolled out. My day can include discussing with teams their current processes flow, what’s working for them, and what could make it better. As well as general maintenance of all the functions currently live on Modus, we’re continually working to improve the overall user experience based on feedback from colleagues.

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

I started at Churchill seven years ago – it was my first step into FM. I came across the job when I relocated after spending years working in real estate. There were some similarities in that it’s a fast paced environment, contract management and the goal of generating more business.

My initial role in Churchill was an administration position supporting operations. It was an invaluable learning experience as I got to see first-hand how the ops team works on a daily basis, the challenges they face and how they juggle multiple clients and sites.

After a couple of years in this role I moved into a training role where I became more familiar with the shared service processes and how this gets filtered through the business. This really expanded my awareness to certain gaps and led me to my role now as project manager for our digital transformation. I knew the frustrations from both operations and our shared service functions, I could see how much time was going to waste because of outdated processes, and how this was preventing us from doing so much more. Support in digitising these processes is a perfect match for me. We can really reduce unnecessary time and effort so our teams can start focusing on what really matters.

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

My favourite thing is being able to make a difference to the business. We get so many colleagues contact us with ideas and it feels really satisfying when we can take their idea and turn it into something tangible. Churchill has really given me the scope to grow and translate my ideas into practice. It’s truly amazing how far Mo:dus has come in such a short period. I am really proud of our team.

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

Being a young woman has been challenging at times but it’s all experience I’ve used to make a stronger path for myself and inspire others to expand as well. Having a persistent but professional presence is advice I give to all women in business; never just settle if it doesn’t feel right to you.

The way I work in my team is a hybrid of everything I’ve learnt and experienced over my time in business, not only focussing on the things that worked, but also being aware of things that didn’t either. Women in senior roles have a responsibility to speak up for the women who aren’t heard but also guide and support where they can.

The sooner we realise a business will work better when everyone’s playing for the same team rather than in competition, the sooner we’ll see greater success for everyone included.

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

For me, there are a number of factors which are going to affect us in FM over the next year. As we evolve from the pandemic there are going to be a lot of people facing mindset challenges, people not feeling safe or comfortable to work, and an increase in tax because of the pandemic. Due to the nature of our industry, we should see a rise in not only clients wanting our services but also our solutions, offering more support on keeping environments safe and hygienic. I am excited to be involved in the development of solutions that offer advanced hygiene and wellbeing to all our people and clients. It’s important to remember: with challenge comes opportunity.