Celebrating International Women’s Day at Danihers!

International Women's Day

March 8th was International Women’s Day. This year the global theme was #ChoosetoChallenge, encouraging us to call out gender bias and inequality and to seek out and celebrate women’s achievements.

To celebrate International Women’s Day, we paid tribute to women that work at Danihers FM. We spoke to five women that work in a variety of roles across Danihers. They have different backgrounds and skillsets but what they have achieved during their time in FM is quite extraordinary!

Read on as we find out more about the highlights and challenges of being a woman working in FM.

Kate Henselis

Business Systems and Compliance Manager

1. What is your role and what do you love about it?

I started in facility management seventeen years ago and have held several roles from client service, training, HR and compliance and operations manager. I am now Business Systems and Compliance Manager, a key role managing our business systems and driving overall company compliance. I love the variety of the facility management industry; it has given me many opportunities to learn and use my skills and knowledge. Facility management is about experiences and the range of people you meet – from cleaners, CEOs, site staff and building occupants. I’ve enjoyed all the different locations and industries I’ve been able to work in and be a part of. I’ve been able to see the results of my achievements and the difference that I make to others through their development and growth in the industry.

2. Why should more women consider a career in FM?

I think the FM industry attracts people with a wide range of skillsets, it’s especially great for people who love working with teams, working in customer service, training, creating improvements and innovations. It really is open to people of so many backgrounds and interests and passions. FM is not just about bricks and mortar, it’s about the people element, helping people, and watching people grow and evolve and develop.

3. What has been a big challenge in your career?

Coming from a hospitality background, there are a lot of crossovers and I was able to show that these skills are easily transferable and very important in the FM industry. As a woman who wanted a family and a great career, it’s been a really rewarding industry and I’ve been able to make it work for our family.

4. What opportunities would you like to see to help create an inclusive world?

The opportunities for anyone entering the FM industry are endless. When I look at my journey, I’ve been able to continually grow my career and I think the sky is the limit when it comes to the industry! It can take you to many locations or positions. It’s just important to ensure that the pathways and depth of opportunities within the industry are promoted in a gender-neutral way – the FM industry really is open to anyone.

Iresha Perera

Danihers Business Partner

  1. What is your role and what do you love about it?

I am a business partner at Danihers, where I have two roles. I help with the day-to-day operations and manage account payments.

I love my job because it gives me the opportunity to interact with our team and our clients every day. It also allows me to utilise my twenty years industry experience by helping, training and developing our team to deliver quality service in a healthy and safe working environment. We believe that a happy team and satisfied clients is key for a successful business.

Doing my job well gives me great self-satisfaction and confidence. That’s another reason why I do this job with pride and love.

2. Why should more women consider a career in FM?

FM can be a challenging and diverse industry but if you are confident, have adequate experience in a similar industry and have right mind set, you can achieve anything. We have the opportunity to step up and showcase our skills because we know that a ‘woman’s touch’ can improve industries and take them to the next level.  

3. What has been a big challenge in your career?

I started my career in year 2001 and the biggest challenge for me has been balancing work and family life. As a mum of two girls, things can change daily. With resilience and perseverance juggling both is now second nature to me.

4. What opportunities would you like to see to help create an inclusive world?

 I would like to see everyone treated fairly and equally when it comes to career opportunities. This will open the door for women to compete in a gender-neutral environment and allow them to achieve their career goals in any industry.

Sharon Dellevergini

Training and Development Manager

  1. What is your role and what do you love about it?

I work at the CSL Broadmeadows site, where I oversee training and developing our staff to ensure they meet or stringent quality processes. I have been with Danihers for twelve years and love working with our people! I get to guide the team through their training at CSL and encourage everyone to work together. If we take the time to help each other, then we achieve our goals on site.

2. Why should more women consider a career in FM?

Working in facility management certainly has its challenges. At the same time, it is also very rewarding! FM is a diverse industry, and you find yourself involved in a wide variety of services.

3. What has been a big challenge in your career?

As a member of a small management team, I have gained a lot from the times I have been called on to manage such a large team. It has made me a better leader and improved my team-building skills immensely.

4. What opportunities would you like to see to help create an inclusive world?

It’s important that we all continue to foster a culture where everyone feels respected, valued and appreciated.

Nirosha Dissanayake

Human Resources Manager

  1. What is your role and what do you love about it?

I’m the Human Resources Manager at Danihers Facilities Management. It truly is a meaningful job that I am able to focus on our people, contribute my experience and skills to ensure their unique needs are met at work. Every day is different and it’s a constant adventurous journey. At Danihers everyone shares the same values and are dedicated to them. I am surrounded by a very knowledgeable group of people in their fields.  It is a very collaborative environment where we all work together as a team which keeps me motivated and inspired at work. We live by the fact that “it’s about our people, always has been and always will be”.

2. Why should more women consider a career in FM?

Though the numbers are slightly improving, traditionally there is lack of female representation in FM. Perhaps, the lack of flexibility in the workplace can leave women having to juggle their personal responsibilities makes the FM industry less attractive for them. Apart from technical skills, it is important to build long lasting relationships based on trust, empathy, patience and maturity. All of these are critical in FM and women are more than capable of these.

3. What has been a big challenge in your career?

I love challenges, especially in HR, the challenge of going to work every day and not knowing what the day is going to throw at me can be exciting. Challenges don’t stop me. If I have to pick one, sometimes I feel like twenty-four hours is not enough to manage my work and family life. I have two beautiful daughters, so I love to participate in their activities at school and out of school.  Danihers has given me the flexibility to do so and for this I am grateful.  

4. What opportunities would you like to see to help create an inclusive world?

This is something we need to start from childhood. Recognising that we are all are individuals and respecting that our individual differences make the world such a beautiful place!

Thank you to Nirosha, Kate, Sharon and Iresha for taking the time to share with us what they enjoy about working in FM.

But most importantly – a big thank you to ALL the amazing women that work in FM! Your diverse backgrounds and skillsets have helped shape the industry, and together we will continue to challenge gender equality in FM and build a more inclusive environment.