Equality means each individual or group of people is given the same resources or opportunities.
Equity recognises that each person has different circumstances, and allocates the exact resources and opportunities needed to reach an equal outcome.
To celebrate and support International Women's Day 2023, Portobello Institute is sharing inspiring insights from women who follow their passion to fulfil their potential as they share their experiences with embracing equity.
Introducing Mary-Kate Murphy
Mary-Kate Murphy is a Manager for Digital Workplace Experience and a Facilities Management tutor at Portobello Institute.
Her career to date has seen her develop a variety of skills during her time leading workplace change in hyper-growth tech companies. She has led cross-functional teams in delivering regional HQs, launching GTM sites and assimilation of acquisitions. She has created global workplace programs and built truly engaging and inclusive workplace ecosystems that attract top talent and minimise attrition. She has managed complicated teams of vendors managing both hard and soft services. She is stakeholder and end-user-focused with the ability to identify common themes and key priorities across a company.
What was your pathway into working in Facilities Management?
I don’t actually identify as a traditional FM professional I am more focused on workplace or soft services, what I see as the human side of where and why of environments people work.
Up until fairly recently Facilities/Workplace was not a career of choice, it is only in the past 5-10 years that I think it is being recognised as a profession in its own right with education opportunities and career pathways designed specifically for it.
Up until now, I think most of us fell into it and then realised it was our passion. I came to the field through hotel and office management while working in the UK and upon moving back to Ireland and starting my career with global tech companies I found Workplace. It has been a steep learning curve since then and I have enjoyed the fast-paced nature of the field.
How do you feel about working in Facilities Management as a woman?
I feel very comfortable in this field as a woman, however, I would like to see more women in leadership roles, particularly in hard service environments. I have been very lucky to have strong allies throughout my career who coached and encouraged me every step of the way. Having this strong support network definitely allowed me to accelerate my career.
Why do you work in Facilities Management?
Why does anyone work in it, I think you get the bug. It tends to be a fast-paced environment where no two days are the same. It is this diversity of scope and the rapid disruption within the sector as a result of changing working cultures that keeps me engaged. I get bored easily, but you are never bored when working in the workplace as it is a service constantly in motion.
Do you think the FM sector fosters inclusive work cultures for women?
Yes, I do, however, I think a lot more needs to be done to create career ladders to help women get into more senior and technical roles. I strongly believe in the potential of managing a team using a growth mentality. You hire a person for x role with of view of fostering their potential to grow into y role in a number of years.
Could improvements be made in making the FM work culture more inclusive for women?
This is not just in FM but across the board for me. I think more opportunities and support in getting women back to work after absences from work could be made available. I think we should encourage more paid bursaries or internships in key technical areas to be made available to make those sides of the field more diverse.
Are leadership opportunities available for women in FM?
Yes, I think so. However I think it is hard to balance all the roles women perform in any leadership role, but I think the past few years have allowed those lines to blur more allowing for a more widespread understanding that we work live, not live to work.
What women in FM do you look up to?
I think I have been fortunate to work with and network with some amazing women in this field; Carrie Cary has been a very supportive mentor.
Would you encourage women to start a career in Facilities Management?
Yes, I have really enjoyed my career to date and I know the industry is going to continue to evolve to create interesting and engaging opportunities in the future.
If you could change one thing about the experience of working in FM for all women, what would it be and why?
Equity in opportunities globally e.g. not all leadership roles need to sit in HQs or in a specific region.
What is the most interesting part of your job?
I am at the forefront of helping explore, develop and implement cutting-edge technology and programs to help build truly holistic workplace environments.
What are you passionate about?
People! I love people, understanding what makes them tick, what they need to do the roles they perform and then building/supporting environments to not only help them do their jobs but really help them excel at them.
International Women's Day Webinar with Portobello Institute
Portobello Institute is delighted to celebrate International Women's Day 2023 and support this year's theme of #EmbraceEquity
We invite you to this webinar with three industry practitioners from the world of elite sports who will discuss their experiences and the importance of embracing equity when it came to being successful in their chosen careers.