Jennifer Peltenburg, Strategic Advisor
It was a combination of events that landed Jennifer into this industry. With a background in aviation at Heathrow & Amsterdam, Jennifer had got an opportunity to be a part of a team at the Dubai World Central, where we were going to open the Terminal 5, Heathrow in 2008. However, when the economy took a downturn and a decision was taken not open the terminal, Jennifer started looking for business elsewhere. “I was not only new to the UAE but also to FM. But over time, I realized that I was in a position to give good service and make a positive change to educate people & clients about the important role FM played in our environment. And that’s one of the main factors that made me stick on to this field,” added Jennifer.
In the last 12 years, Jennifer has made her mark in 3 different FM companies. According to her, she has had many proud moments in each one of them. “I was one of the first few to join Du Serve. So it was like starting a new business. I had a great sales team, so by the time I left, the company was profitable. Bagging the DXB airport contract for Farnek was another proud moment for me. With Khansaheb, it was more of changing people’s mindset about the brand, as it used to be predominantly identified with construction. We did some great things at this place. And this made me feel very proud as well.
Barriers in Female Leadership
Jennifer notes that one of the main reasons the built environment is still a male-dominated industry is because people don’t want to go beyond their comfort zone of hiring just men. “Having said that, I feel now things are changing as they can see the value women are bringing to the business.”
“FM is a very thankless industry, so you need to be very patient. If you like people, training them, and providing a good service, then you need to be proud of it, and you will see the benefits of your hard work. No matter what you do, do it with passion.”