IWFM is committed to placing equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI) at the heart of our organisation, governance, membership and profession. We seek to create a community in which all people feel included, valued, supported and that they belong. Our ambition is to foster and support improved EDI practices throughout the workplace and facilities management profession and industry to achieve better outcomes for all. Morally and socially, we believe that this is the right thing to do.

We have created a Focus Group to help us shape and articulate our position and approach on EDI and have published a Public Statement outlining our commitment to this initiative, including how we will collect, analyse and use data to help us understand and break down barriers. Our Action Plan implementing the Public Statement will be published here shortly.


Why is this important to us?

It is important because, while the workplace and facilities management sector is increasingly diverse, this is not reflected throughout. The greatest diversity is generally found in those teams delivering the services for which the profession is responsible, rather than in those running them. While we are seeing that our entry levels for the profession are increasingly diverse, we need to do more to reflect this across career pathways at all levels.

Ensuring that we are a diverse and inclusive organisation will allow us to strengthen our ability to support our members and raise their voice, both individually and collectively, on a wide variety of matters. It will also permit us in future to better respond to, and influence effectively on, key issues affecting our members’ working lives.

Diversity expands the talent pool, adds perspective and enriches thought, innovation and influence enabling us to promote better inclusion, and allowing everyone to flourish and progress. 

What is equity?

Equity extends the concept of equality to include the provision of varying levels of support based on individuals’ specific needs in order to achieve fairness of treatment and equal opportunity of access. Achieving equality requires the application of policies which ensure equity.


Equity vs equality


What is diversity?

Diversity is recognising and respecting all the visible and invisible differences between people. This could be in relation to a protected characteristic or something else such as socio-economic background, working pattern, cognitive diversity, or caring responsibilities.

It is acknowledging the benefit of having a range of perspectives in decision-making and the workforce being representative of the organisation’s customers: diverse teams, boards and workforces produce better outcomes.

What is inclusion?

Inclusion is where people’s differences are valued and respected, enabling everyone to thrive at work. Without inclusion, the benefits of diversity (such as increased creativity, innovation and problem solving) cannot be realised.

An inclusive working environment is one in which everyone feels that they belong without having to conform, that their contribution matters; and they are able to perform to their full potential, no matter their background, identity or circumstances. An inclusive workplace has fair policies and practices in place and enables a diverse range of people to work together effectively.


Strategy and activities

Our approach to developing and embedding EDI culture, practices and policies is based on four pillars: governance and leadership, HR and our people, our membership and the profession.

Our aims are:

  • to provide clarity about IWFM’s position as an employer and professional body and demonstrate leadership through its structures and practices
  • to be a diverse and inclusive employer that enables everyone to be their true self at work and to own and drive inclusivity, diversity and equality
  • to increase the diversity of individuals joining the Institute
  • to increase the diversity of the profession overall

Our Public Statement outlines these aims and commitments in greater detail. We will update our EDI Action Plan with our planned and ongoing activities as these are developed over time. This Action Plan will be integrated into our multi-annual strategy 2022-2025.

Data and research

We need a solid evidence base in order to identify and understand the gaps and challenges that exist, to implement the concrete and measurable improvements needed to break down barriers to entry and progression, to report on progress made, and to make the greatest possible impact.

This will come from scientific studies, surveys and the professional expertise of key stakeholders, our members and the wider profession. The collection of personal data for the purposes of EDI monitoring, especially that of protected characteristics (these are defined under the Equality Act (2010) and include age, disability, ethnicity, gender, pay, sex and sexuality) will be key to understanding and responding to EDI issues and barriers. Collecting such data is considered standard good practice in many membership organisations. We are also collecting socio-economic data to make sure that the changes in diversity we hope to bring about create access for all, rather than, for example, access being disproportionately available to those from a privileged background.

Collecting such data will help us to:

  • identify, develop and encourage best practice in EDI
  • develop resources to support our members
  • analyse, inform and report on EDI trends within our membership and the profession
  • understand and meet the EDI needs of our members
  • inform our work and its impact, and develop our plan of action

All sensitive personal data, which will only be collected with explicit and informed consent, is kept strictly confidential, protected and handled in accordance with the UK GDPR. This information is restricted and accessible only by the necessary, authorised personnel and will not be shared in a way that allows any individual to be identified.

Please see our Privacy Policy for full details of what personal data we collect, how it is collected and stored, how it may be used - with specific practices on data, including that on protected characteristics, collected for the purposes of EDI monitoring - and how it is protected in law.


EDI Focus Group

This Group was formed to help us shape and articulate our position and approach on EDI, looking at our practices, strategy and policies to ensure we enable the conversations and steps needed to improve EDI within the Institute and, through our members, the profession.  

They will help us to understand the barriers to greater EDI within the profession and explore tools to overcome them, driving initiatives and challenging our focus and priorities. Together we will gather, analyse and share data to inform our actions, highlight opportunities for meaningful action, monitor progress, and celebrate achievements which exemplify ‘what good looks like’.

The Group helped us to finalise our EDI Public Statement and is contributing to shaping the annual and three-year action plans which will form an integral part of IWFM’s overarching strategy.

Each member of the group is a workplace and facilities management professional with significant experience, insight and expertise relating to EDI policy and implementation. They are:

EDI focus group members
Find out more

Kirsty Arnold

Associate Director of Facilities Management, The Portman Estate

Kirsty has worked in the property industry for almost 20 years, 17 of which have been in facilities management, and has seen the benefit and importance of working with diverse teams. Her current role is Associate Director of Facilities Management at The Portman Estate.

Kirsty is Chair and one of the founding members of The Portman Estate’s Diversity and Inclusion Working Group, which started in 2019 and has already made positive changes.

She sits on the Health & Safety and Wellbeing Committee and is a trained Mental Health First Aider, both of which support her role as Chair of the D&I Working Group and the importance of equity and belonging.

Chris Barnes


With over 25 years in senior management roles within the FM sector, Chris has vast experience and knowledge working with large and small FM companies.

He has been on many D&I committees and is determined to bring neurodiversity to the forefront of the industry and every workspace it reaches.

Since Chris’s official diagnosis, he has been a champion for autism awareness in the workplace, running several campaigns across social media to help educate workplaces and support younger autistic people to get employment in FM.

Chris is an avid runner and regularly takes part in marathons and ultra-marathons. 

Jean Hewitt

Access and Inclusion Specialist, Buro Happold

Jean is an access and inclusion specialist with 20+ years’ experience. She is a longstanding IWFM member, authoring three editions of our Access and Inclusion Good Practice Guide, and represents IWFM on the BSI’s accessible and inclusive environments committee. 

Jean’s role as inclusive design consultant with Buro Happold focuses on achieving equality and equity through appropriate design and management of the built environment to achieve an equitable experience for all building users. This includes people with health conditions or disabilities, neurocognitive differences, faith, gender or age-related requirements. She also undertakes inclusive design and management reviews and stakeholder engagement for clients. 

Jean is one of Buro Happold’s mental health first aiders and learning ambassadors. 

Raj Jones

Head of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, Sodexo

As Head of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion for Sodexo, Raj has responsibility for the strategic direction, implementation and alignment of the UK and Ireland’s regional DE&I initiatives for its 30,000 employees as well as for its clients, customers and the communities in which it operates.

She is a skilled DE&I expert working across all areas of the DE&I agenda as a strategic partner to senior leaders to advance inclusion in the workplace and build a strong external reputation. Raj is a strong advocate for grassroots involvement and has a proven track record in delivering impactful, and sustainable, change programmes.

Colin Kimber

Associate Director, Pareto Facilities Management

Colin has worked in the FM industry for 16 years, both for large and small organisations in customer environments ranging from global corporate headquarters to the public sector, museums to tech giants.

He is currently Associate Director at Pareto FM, a business which places social value at the very forefront of what they do, with supporting inclusion in FM a key part of that strategy. 

In addition to his operational responsibilities, Colin also leads the HSEQ, L&D and D&I activities for the company, and is very proud to be part of the steering committee for LGBT+ in FM.

Nigel Lucker

Director of Estates and Facilities, University of Suffolk

Nigel’s career has spanned both public and private sectors, allowing him to gain experience of all aspects of FM and working in diverse teams around the world.

Currently Director of Estates and Facilities at the University of Suffolk, he has previously led teams managing portfolios across 30 countries.

Nigel has sat of the D&I committees at the FCDO and the British Transport Police.

He has a disabled son and has worked with schools to ensure that accessibility and inclusion challenges are addressed.

Nigel is a member of IWFM’s International SIG and recently joining the Board of Global FM as IWFM representative.

Kenneila Quashie

Senior Estate Manager, JLL

Kenneila is currently a Senior Estate Manager at JLL’s International Quarter asset, with over 5 years in the FM industry she has seen how important diversity, equality and inclusion is for the workforce. In her previous roles she has chaired diversity committees, arranging equality, diversity and inclusion workshops for the site-based team and organised celebrations of various cultural and religious festivals, bringing challenging topics to the forefront.  

She regularly volunteers for career days to help aspiring talents with guidance and support in their chosen career field.  

Kenneila has also volunteered as an Increasing Black Representation (IBR) mentor, helping to secure a property internship for a university student.    

Webster-Zeph Sib

Diversity and Inclusion – Racial Inclusion Network Lead, Kier Places

Webster has more than 30 years’ experience working in a variety of disciplines including facilities procurement, public health, finance, media and the charity sector.

His experience of and passion for D&I issues began when working on the UN’s D&I Programme. Webster’s aspiration is to remove the negative assumptions that can surround the concept of racial inclusion, which is often seen as giving an unfair advantage to people of BAME backgrounds rather than ensuring the same level of opportunity for everyone.

He wants to help create an understanding of how unconscious bias can hinder progress to equality and that inclusion should not be viewed as a forced or a box-ticking issue.

Sharon Slinger

Director, Constructing Rainbows

With a background in quantity surveying, Sharon has over 20 years' experience working for main contractors in the construction and FM industries. She is the Director of Constructing Rainbows and works with built environment organisations to improve their business through implementation of D&I strategies.

Sharon’s other roles include: co-founder and director of STEER Support & Mentoring CIC, an undergraduate mentoring programme; founder of LGBT+ in FM; and member of the Yorkshire & Humber regional boards of RICS and the Construction Industry Council.

She has also featured in the OUTstanding/FT Top 50 Future Leaders list and won several awards for her work in D&I.

Regi Taylor

Senior Facilities Manager UK and Ireland, Celgene

Regi is a Facilities Director with over 17 years’ experience in the facilities and engineering industry.

She has worked across a diverse portfolio of sectors including the Royal Household, charity, education and the pharmaceutical industry; and has been a passionate supporter of inclusion and diversity throughout her career.

Regi is an advocate for the Latin American and Afro-Brazilian communities where she actively supports a number of initiatives and workshops for these communities in the UK and Europe.

She also actively supports many charities that focus on education and socio-economic inclusion, most recently working on a mission in Peru helping a local community in Cusco with the refurbishment of a school. 

Samantha West

Commercial Director, VINCI Facilities

Samantha is Business Unit Commercial Director at Vinci Facilities and has been in the construction and facilities management industries for over 30 years. Her career began with Taylor Woodrow, working mainly in the retail and defence sectors before moving into the facilities management industry.

Samantha is commercially responsible for a £140m facilities management business unit with 1,500 staff working on projects mainly in the public sector, including hospitals, schools, stadia, rail and government facilities.

Her role includes forecasting and accounting, business development, procurement and supply chain management, functional management, continuous improvement, strategy and planning. She is also active in LGBT+ networks. Oh, and one last thing - she used to be male!


Useful resources

EDI Public Statement
EDI Focus Group Terms of Reference

28 July 2022

‘We can and will do better’ says CEO as IWFM and EDI Focus Group publish governance survey results

Building on November’s EDI public statement in which we committed to improving EDI acr...

Find out more