IWFM Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) Focus Group: why we want to make a difference (part one)


  • Facilities,
  • Workplace

24 November 2021

Equity, diversity, inclusion

The IWFM Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) Focus Group, which launched in September, is made up of 15 passionate and knowledgeable workplace and facilities management professionals who want to help us drive the EDI agenda in our industry.

Below are some words from their applications explaining why EDI is important to them. This is the first or three parts; the second and third will follow soon.

Sign up for our EDI webinar

On Wednesday 24 November, we will host a webinar with members of the EDI Focus Group to discuss the ‘what, why and who’ behind our EDI Public Statement and commitment, and how the Group is supporting this work. To sign up to the webinar, please click here.

To read our Public Statement in full and for further details about IWFM’s work on EDI, please click here.

Testimonials from the IWFM EDI Focus Group

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.

I have seen the challenges in bringing about change and would like to learn more to bring change to the industry, be an ally to communities that need one, and overall create inclusive environments and workplaces. Everyone should be treated equally and fairly and be able to bring their whole self to work.


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. 

As an autistic person with over 27 years’ experience in facilities management, I feel it’s my duty to pave the way for younger neurodiverse people to get into our profession. Only 19% of autistic people are in employment and I want to be part of the movement for change with this. 


Gregory Hall

Senior Operations Manager, Bartlett Mitchell

Gregory is a Senior Operations Manager for bartlett mitchell, responsible for multiple corporate food service, hospitality, event and business services contracts across the London region.

Gregory has experience of a variety of D&I committee/leadership roles, including the Bank of America Merrill Lynch’s LGBT+ and Ally committees (EMEA and APAC regions), Linklaters LLP LGBT+ and Ally committees, and Interbank’s LGBT+ committee.

He currently supports the Institute of Hospitality, UK Hospitality and IWFM in various committee and leadership roles.

Gregory’s favourite quote is: “Diversity is inviting everyone to the party, Inclusion is asking everyone to dance.”

I have always had a passion for EDI and especially as a gay man, inclusion and that sense of belonging means so much to me. From a management perspective, I genuinely believe that everyone deserves to bring their whole self to work, feel included and as if they belong. 


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.

The issues and challenges we face in regard to EDI within the industry are symptomatic of deeply embedded societal issues. No one origination alone can change this and it’s vital we collaborate and use our collective influence, and the considerable footprint, if we are truly to make a difference.


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.

I have been working in this area alongside my day job for some time and have grown to understand the value of my voice in this space through the positive benefits it has had on the people and relationships around me. I am extremely keen to be part of how we move forward and make this fantastic industry a home for everyone.