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Strong role models are key to the advancement of women
Earlier this month on International Women's Day, women in the cleaning industry were advocating the benefits of strong role models and sharing of experience. But at the end of the day, they say, success comes from hard work and excellence at work.
While women are increasingly visible at the helm of some of our largest organisations, they are still under-represented in skilled trade and professional occupations; in fact, in every area other than elementary occupations and administrative roles.
Jade Collazo (left) and Carla Vieira (right) have recently joined the board of directors at Cleanology. Jade started 12 years ago as an administrative temp; she has just been promoted to HR director.
"When I started out, I never imagined I would become a director,” she remarks. “I think it's really important for women, and other under-represented groups, to be seen in managerial roles. I was lucky to have a really strong female role model in my line manager, but Cleanology is also unusual in having a young, BAME CEO, who has been really easy to talk to about challenges."
Lynn Webster, Director at Lynn Webster Consultants and chair of the Women's group at Cleaning & Support Services Association, agreed that visible success is encouraging for other women trying to break through a perceived glass ceiling. She says: "Women who achieve seniority have got there through hard work and competence. We are seeing more and more females at the top, from heads of cleaning at internationally-recognised businesses, through to the vice president of ISSA. Many of us are working to support women in career development, with role models they can aspire to."
The new deputy operations director at Cleanology, Carla Vieira comes from a hospitality background, so the principles of service are second nature. She applies them to her role in cleaning, dealing with clients and with Cleanology's cleaning operatives.
Carla advises women to be themselves. "In many companies, the operational managers tend to be male, maybe because there is an idea that men make the best leaders,” she argues. “I've been lucky that at Cleanology we have men and women in the same roles. But, for women who want to reach a higher position, don't lose focus. Find the way forward and look for the people who will recognise that you are doing a good job."
Cleanology CEO Dominic Ponniah says: " Jade Collazo and Carla Vieira have earned their success, through determination, hard work and commitment. They are both extremely valuable members of the team and we cannot express how pleased we are to welcome them onto our board.
"Over the years, Carla has helped her team and clients through any emergency that crops up, day or night. Her work ethic, enthusiasm, and sense of humour are infectious and inspiring. Jade's impressive career progression is down to sheer hard work, determination to succeed and willingness to push herself out of her comfort zone."
25th March 2021