The Women in FM Afternoon Tea event, held earlier this month, was the first of its kind to be held in the North West region. The hugely popular event was held at Manchester Central and featured keynote speeches from three prominent female figures in the FM industry.
Organised by the BIFM North West committee and sponsored by Magenta Associates and G4S FM, the event was attended by men and women from across the FM industry, public and private, service providers, consultants and clients, specialist FM communications teams and recruiters.
Mark Whittaker opened the event by revealing that only 35 per cent of attendees to BIFM North events were female and challenged the audience to help raise this figure to 50 per cent over the next 12 months.
The first keynote speaker was our MD Cathy Hayward, who talked about personal brand. Drawing upon her own experience, Cathy discussed how people can boost their brand through speaking at events, volunteering, joining discussions on social media, writing articles, and entering awards. Her top tips included: plan before you start and ensure you can commit; ask yourself why you’re doing it; and, think about your messages.
Cheryl-Anne Sanderson, regional manager at G4S FM, then outlined her own path to success and experience of boosting her brand. Cher shared her ‘ingredients’ for success, including investing time, identifying opportunities and networking. She attributed her success to four principles: there isn’t a set formula to success; help guide others; build a great team, and consider your lifestyle and work-life balance.
Finally, Nikki Lathbury, Hexagon FM managing director, took us through her career from industrial sector recruitment, to FM and finally to FM recruitment. She explained that she hit a ‘wall’, built from disillusionment and frustration, within the recruitment industry. After meeting with a coach – Kentish and Co managing director Liz Kentish – Nikki realised that if she wasn’t happy, she needed to actively do something about it.
Mark finished the event with three closing thoughts: become more visible; step out of your comfort zone; and teach people that FM doesn’t have to be something you just fall into. It’s somewhere you can build a successful and rewarding path.