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Tomorrow’s FM has decided to delve deeper into the world of Women in FM, in this the first edition of a new feature dedicated to the celebration of women in the facilities arena, Rebekah Thompson gives an overview of BIFM’s Special Interest Group WiFM.

As the first female editor of Tomorrow’s FM, working within a team of women to produce this magazine on a monthly basis I decided it was high-time we began to make more use of the industry’s Special Interest Group, and start to shout a bit more about its achievements and services. Starting with an introduction and an overview, I hope to continue this feature, to discuss people of interest, events, and discussion points and to later invite people to guest produce articles on key subjects, and interesting industry developments and changes.





A BRIEF INTRODUCTION For those that are unaware, Women

in FM (WiFM) is a special interest branch of BIFM, the group listens to the needs of its members and the wider BIFM membership, and organises events and programmes to support them. As a faction, it still has the traditional BIFM values and competences, and encourages both men and women to get involved. Far from being a girls club to sit a whinge about boys – it is not elitist or cliquey – but an inclusive and supportive environment and you don’t have to be a woman to be involved. WiFM events offer opportunities to network


and raise your profile in the industry, whatever your gender.

I recently attended a WiFM event in Manchester and found it to be a useful and insightful morning, which allowed me to meet other women involved in FM and I was pleasantly surprised to find so many male attendees. These forums let visitors give and seek advice, share successes and learn from others’ experience – in this case, that of Emma Bailey, of Interim FM solutions, Larch Consulting’s Lucy Jeynes and Lucy Black of Facilities Analysis Ltd.

MENTORS The Key Learning event was a great

platform to learn about opportunities for involvement within WiFM, which is looking currently for members to sign up to their mentor scheme. The scheme is for men and women who feel they could benefit from, or offer some external support or advice, whether it is guidance from a different perspective or another area of FM, or help from a more senior FM professional, who may be able to impart some useful tips or direction for progression in a chosen field.

The scheme is designed to let members grow in confidence and to get more involved with their peers – to support the growth of the industry and the progression of fellow FMs. It is a chance to give something back to the industry.

EVENTS At the Facilities Show WiFM chair

Victoria O’Farrell will be giving a talk on women’s FM careers, and what might be holding them back. She will explore the notion that women are restricting themselves; with reasons ranging from limited beliefs, lack of mentoring, not taking advantage of networking, maternity

and not pushing themselves forward enough to apply for more senior roles. The event will take place in the BIFM careers zone at 12pm on Tuesday 16th June.

There is also a WiFM annual conference, which this year was held in January in London. This was the third time that the event had taken place. Each year there is a theme, for guest speakers and panels to talk around. Important and inspirational personalities are invited to speak and this year Emma Parry, co-founder of charity organisation Help for Heroes and Channel swimmer, Nick Alford, talked around the theme of ‘breaking through’.

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