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Women in FM: 5 mins with… Tracey Cheung

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

I am currently head of HR for Amulet, the security division of Churchill. There are no typical days in my role, I could be attending meetings with clients, working and presenting on a sales bid or visiting our teams on the ground. On my office days, I could be dealing with incoming and out-going TUPE contracts, working with my team, building on our strategy or forward planning.

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

I took my first step into FM in 2008, when I joined Ecovert FM as part of the private finance initiative team involved in building new schools in Peterborough. after a year there I spent two years in the travel industry before I joined ISG, a construction company dealing with fit-outs and re-fits. After three years there I joined AOS Security, which became Amulet after merging with the Churchill Group and have not looked back since.

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

I love the multi-faceted nature of my role and I enjoy being out and about meeting our teams on the ground – they are the people that make our industry. I love seeing our teams work in partnership with our clients, adding value and making a difference to them and their businesses. Some of the favourite parts of my job include recognising our staff with ‘On the Spot’ awards and also our annual Amulet awards ceremony, where we celebrate our teams’ success.

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

Working in a male-dominated industry has not been without its challenges over the years. However, I have been fortunate to work in a company where there is no discrimination between genders. Starting at the top, our senior leadership team literally leads by example by creating an environment in which I feel my views are not only valued but that I am also empowered and supported by my team.

Reaching the finals in the Inspiration in HR award in 2019 will always give me a great sense of achievement. As anyone fortunate enough to be in a similar situation will tell you, being recognised for your hard work and commitment to your role is very satisfying.

However, one of my biggest frustrations in the industry is that we cannot attract more female candidates to frontline roles where they can bring additional qualities and balance to our service delivery.

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

Although we have been back to ‘normal’ for a few months, this is the new normal. COVID-19 has really challenged our company as a whole. However, we have shown agility by being able to adapt and embrace the changes that the pandemic has brought. Our industry’s biggest challenge is recruitment, as the pandemic and Brexit mean many of our employees are returning home, leaving a shortage of staff to recruit from.

My key prediction would be the changes in our industry that will come if the ‘Protect Duty’ legislation currently being campaigned for becomes law. It is designed to minimise the number and impact of terrorist attacks in public spaces and, although many of our clients understand the importance of security, we still live in a world where such budgets are driven by incidents. But, if we are not already, we should all be working towards providing a safer environment for our staff, clients and members of the public.