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Women in FM: 5 mins with… Naomi Childe

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

I am the director of grounds and landscaping, which involves running the grounds maintenance arm of Chequers.  I am responsible for the safe, on time and quality delivery of service, growth and new business lines, customer satisfaction and Profit and Loss responsibilities.  The job is incredibly varied, and no two days are the same, which is what I love about the role.  The day always starts with a team call to discuss any issues and ways to help the team overcome them. This is normally followed by internal, team and customer meetings – all with the aim of driving the business to be the best it possibly can be and exceed our customers’ requirements.

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

I started within the grounds maintenance arena, running my own local residential gardening business.  This led me into commercial grounds maintenance, working for a national grounds and gritting provider.  Following this, I moved into FM and it’s great to be able to offer our customers a one-stop shop with the ability to make their life as easy as possible.  I much prefer the diversity and breadth of offerings within the FM world and the wealth of expertise available all under one roof, which really does offer customers both excellent service and value for money.

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

People and excellent service.  The job is centred around people, whether it is working with customers, or building the best teams.  Without our excellent operatives and customers we would not have a job and these are the biggest assets and focus to the business.  I enjoy working with the range of people and experts in a diverse field.

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

My biggest frustration is that there is still a need to ask questions like this and we are not quite there when it comes to accepting people for their values, without pre-judgement based on gender.  I truly believe that everyone has a skillset, no matter what their position or gender.  I do not feel that being a woman has hindered any of my opportunities and I have been lucky enough to work for some great companies and people.  I work in a very male-dominated industry and it is wonderful to see more women coming forward.

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

In most service providers, one of the crucial challenges is to implement practices to foster communications, organisation, productivity and innovation.  We need to keep ahead of the competitors to ensure we cover all FM requirements. We are about to launch a national delivery of winter gritting and snow clearance, which we are really excited about. This will give our customers the confidence that they have a safe site, no matter what the environmental circumstances are.