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Women in FM: 5 mins with… Petya Dimitrova

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

I am a regional manager working with a great team of account mangers across a diverse portfolio in London. I am responsible for maintaining Churchill’s relationship with the clients and the delivery of cleaning and additional services. I build and lead dedicated teams who understand the clients’ businesses and workplaces. They are trained in concierge and customer service skills through our industry-leading learning and development Portfolio Centre of Excellence and deliver an elevated level of service.

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

I have been working in facilities management in the UK for 20 years but my background is in education and I was an English teacher in Bulgaria before I moved to England. My first job here was to clean the London Underground and I was based at the newly opened Canary Wharf station. I worked nights while completing my business degree during the day. The MBA helped me develop the critical and reflective strategic leadership skills needed to work my way up from a cleaning operative to an administrator and in to management. I believe understanding the operation from the ground up is invaluable.

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

My favourite thing about my job is the people I meet – they come from different cultures, with diverse educational and life experience. Working for a company that promotes diversity and inclusion makes it so much easier to look after our client spaces while doing right for our people, who are the driving force behind Churchill’s success. I also enjoy the variety, as no two days are the same. Some days can be difficult, but most are rewarding and it is great when we have a happy client.  I also appreciate the opportunity to expand my expertise by procuring the innovative solutions and products that our clients need to have a clean and safe working environment for their staff.  My job also offers me the ability to make a positive impact to the environment by making changes to the way we work and products we use to deliver our services.

 As a woman in FM, what are your biggest frustrations

FM isn’t promoted by schools and colleges as an attractive career path – especially for women. But there are great opportunities for women in FM and we are not only vital in shaping the future of the industry, we also play an important role in identifying the needs of women as end users. I think it’s important to not be afraid to assert yourself when you have an opinion or recommendation to make, but also to not be afraid to ask questions – it’s the best way to learn.  Having a mentor and being part of a network goes a long way towards building knowledge and confidence and we have great role models, both male and female, in Churchill to aspire to.

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

The global pandemic has greatly affected the FM industry, and will continue to do so in the near future.  Being flexible about what our clients need is going to continue to be of great importance, from both a financial and operational point of view.  The new technological and hygiene programmes, such as PRISM, that we introduce and develop, will help us be as adaptive and supportive as possible to our clients in their return to the office. In addition, the UK’s departure from the EU and the end of free movement has had another big influence on the FM industry and we will feel the full effect of that in the next year. Lower paid, non-skilled roles are normally filled with migrant labour and EU workers have been the backbone of FM industries, especially cleaning, for decades. Many EU workers have returned home during the pandemic and new arrivals may not have the required work status to be able to fill gaps in the job market.

Are you interested in reading more from the Women in FM series?

  1. Bianca Angelico
  2. Rebecca Bridgement
  3. Naomi Childe
  4. Louisa Clarke
  5. Hilary Collins
  6. Simone Dewell
  7. Daniela Eigner
  8. Mabel Fourie
  9. Charlene Gachette
  10. Kat Hart
  11. Karen Magor
  12. Sarah McLoed
  13. Lindsay Pateman
  14. Lizzie Neave
  15. Ana Nikolova
  16. Charlotte Parr
  17. Jodie Phillips-Turner
  18. Louise Rogers
  19. Cheryl-Anne Sanderson
  20. Isabella Williams
  21. Nadia Williams

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