Karen Stevens, Account Manager/Business Solutions Advisor, FSI Middle East
Karen's entry into the FM world was via a Business Development role in the Specialist Cleaning Division of Rentokil Initial UK. As per the company’s policy, everyone who was part of the sales team had to learn the job from the ground up so, in between being hoisted onto roofs, climbing through ducting, going down drains, inspecting mortuaries, and seeing first-hand large-scale industrial facilities and manufacturing processes, Karen knew she was hooked.
Today, having had the opportunity to work in diverse fields of the built environment, Karen has created a niche for herself and made an impact out here. “I love the diversity of the job. Very few industries can give you that spectrum of experiences,” she said.
It’s always been about the human factor for Karen. “When you can help someone overcome a problem or a situation which is causing distress or inconvenience, and you get that moment of genuine gratitude, that’s very satisfying,” said Karen.
She is proud to have worked for some of the best companies in the business. “My career path has taken me from Sales to FM Project Management to Account Management and now, with FSI Middle East, into the sphere of technology for the built environment,” she added.
Barriers in Female Leadership
According to Karen, if you are qualified for the role, have the drive and the passion to overcome the sets backs everyone faces in any career, in any field, you will succeed. “In my 14 years in the Middle East, some of the most accomplished, impressive, and successful FM’s I have encountered are female. Do women have to prove themselves more, maybe, but that isn’t limited to this industry or this part of the world,” she added.
“Do it! If this is the industry that excites and inspires you, then follow that passion. There is a perception that FM is a male-dominated industry. However, you have to realize that the FM world provides a very broad spectrum. We are already a huge part of the industry, and if you have the right skill sets and attitude, you will be a welcome addition.”