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New challenges in Facilities Management

Diversity & Inclusion

Meeting new challenges after 30 years in Facilities Management

Val Carter has gained a wealth of experience during her impressive career, yet a new global role is providing exciting new opportunities.

I’ve been in the catering and hospitality industry all my life, from the moment I left polytechnic with a HND in Hotel and Catering Management. The early part of my career was spent in restaurants, hotels and bars, and throughout the 1990s I honed my skills in a diverse range of operational roles including as an operations director for a large catering company.

For the next 16 years I gradually moving away from operational roles into director roles in communications, client relationships and corporate responsibility, which is an area I adored working in. 

 

Work life balance 

Having worked for competitors, I knew a lot about Sodexo and what they stood for. What particularly appealed to me was the culture. It’s a very people focused environment, with strong values and ethics. The flexible working policy is excellent, and the company’s diversity and inclusion networks are impressive.

A good work-life balance is something I’ve always tried to achieve for myself, and my teams. In the past I have worked in all-female teams, introducing a ’40-hours over four days’ working pattern. I’m a great believer that people shouldn’t have to sacrifice important life events for work, so I’ll always say to my team ‘make sure you don’t miss your child’s sports day or play.’

What particularly appealed to me [about Sodexo] was the culture. It’s a very people focused environment, with strong values and ethics.

When I was offered the role at Sodexo as global account director for a major pharmaceutical contract I researched the client’s ethics too. What I found is that Sodexo and the client’s people values marry really well. Within Sodexo we have a 46% female/54% male representation in managerial roles across the contract.

Adjusting to this global role has really stretched me professionally. When it comes to operational experience in the UK I feel like I can confidently say I’ve ‘been there and got the t-shirt’. Now, there are new challenges every day and that’s exciting.

I’m responsible for 1,100 Sodexo people providing soft and hard FM services at sites across three continents. Adapting to the different cultures and ways of working is challenging. For example, diversity plays a big role in labour recruitment law in the US.

It’s fascinating to work in new territories and have new career experiences, which I’m happy to share with other people who might be moving into new regions.

My career and life balance is a success. I’ve lived in France with my husband for eight years now, but my job is based in the UK and my work requires regular visits to sites in North America and Asia. Travel is part of my everyday life and with good communications, you don’t feel out of touch. 

Without a doubt, this is a very hard-working industry but I’m never nervous about having difficult conversations. I have complete confidence, knowing I have colleagues around me willing to share their areas of expertise.

July 02, 2019

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