World FM Day 2024: Finding Inspiration in Facility Management

April 30, 2024

Katherine Sproles

As we gear up to celebrate World FM Day, we are inspired by the facility managers who have grown their careers with support from IFMA and the IFMA Foundation. We are excited to share some of the ways our members have been inspired in their careers – and the advice they have for FMs of the future.

We are proud to support FMs worldwide and to celebrate your accomplishments on May 8.

What inspired you to become an FM?

“My journey into FM began with a role in a manufacturing facility, where I had opportunities to implement 5S and Lean methodologies. Post the successful implementation, I witnessed the crucial role FM plays in keeping operations running smoothly ignited my passion. FM is like the mothership of any industry, ensuring efficiency and productivity. Despite my background in electrical engineering, I felt drawn to the diverse challenges and opportunities FM offers.”

—MJ Gomathi, MS, CFM, FMP, SFP, FMG, LEED Green Associate, Project Manager – Facilities Services, Terracon 

What about your career in FM inspires you?

“My career in FM inspires me through the dynamic challenges and opportunities it presents. From optimizing spaces to enhancing experiences, each day offers a chance to make a meaningful impact with people. The ability to blend strategic thinking with hands-on problem-solving, all while fostering positive relationships, fuels my passion for this field. Whether working with owners/occupiers, or in integrated FM, the opportunity to create environments where people can be at their best is deeply rewarding.  It is all about taking care of people.”

—Bobby Laron, MScM, FMP, CBRE 

How have IFMA and the IFMA Foundation helped you ignite your career?

“As a two-time IFMA Foundation Scholarship winner, I cannot begin to express how thankful I am to the IFMA Foundation for having a direct and positive impact on the completion of my Masters in FM back in 2015 from Rochester Institute of Technology. The additional exposure that comes with the scholarship that allows for attendance at IFMA World Workplace helped ignite and secure my passion for ensuring that no year goes by without me being at the #1 FM conference in the world! IFMA and the IFMA Foundation continue to provide priceless opportunities for young FMs to ignite their careers!”

—Giselle Holder, Msc., BSc, PMP, FMP, CFM, Director, Acuitas 

“IFMA has been my guiding light since 2017 when I joined as a student member. It provided invaluable resources, mentorship, and networking opportunities that propelled my career forward. As an individual coming from another country, I struggled to showcase my previous 5 years of experience in FM and credibility. But I saw a huge difference in my job search when I got my IFMA credentials, people started acknowledging my experience and these credentials added credibility to my resume. Each job opportunity I’ve had stems from connections made through IFMA. I grew within the IFMA Phoenix chapter throughout the years, from student member to education committee to VP of professional development and now serving as the president of the chapter. The Phoenix Chapter has become my 2nd family, supporting my growth throughout.”

—MJ Gomathi, MS, CFM, FMP, SFP, FMG, LEED Green Associate, Project Manager – Facilities Services, Terracon 

What advice would you give to a new FM?

“Right now people, organizations, societies and our planet face many challenges, and the FM industry can contribute to make a difference regarding many of these challenges in various ways. We can help create great workplaces that include, engage and empower employees and enhance organizational culture, collaboration and innovation. We can help increase security, safety and cost & resource effectiveness and efficiency for organizations. We can continue FM as a great career and development choice and opportunity for those having a harder time being included in the society and labor market. And we can help create more sustainable workplaces, properties and organizations, aligning with both human, economic and planetary needs. The biggest change in this is that we together as an industry can and will position FM even more as a strategic tool and enabler for workplace experience and performance – for attractiveness, productivity, efficiency, sustainability and security – and through that can create even more value for people, organizations, societies and our planet.”

—Kati Barkland, Sr. Workplace Strategy Manager at Tenant & Partner, IFMA Sweden Chapter President & IFMA WE Community leader

“For a new FM, my advice would be to prioritize understanding the unique needs and goals of the organization they serve. By focusing on proactive maintenance and efficient operations, they can optimize resources and enhance user experiences. Embrace technology as a tool for streamlining processes and improving data-driven decision-making. Finally, build a strong network within the FM community that will provide valuable insights and support.  My trusted cadre of IFMA advisors has served me well within my FM career.”

—Bobby Laron, MScM, FMP, CBRE 

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