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19 June 2018
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BIFM announces new chair and deputy chair

1 March 2012

The BIFM has announced that current deputy chair Ismena Clout will be its new chairperson.

Her deputy chair will be Liz Kentish, currently head of the Women in FM Special Interest Group.

The appointments take effect when chairperson Ian Broadbent relinquishes his role after the statutory two years at the BIFM annual general meeting on 12 July.

Gareth Tancred, who was confirmed as BIFM chief executive last week, welcomed the two appointments.

“I and the BIFM head office team are delighted with the appointment of both Ismena and Liz,” he said.

“They are not only great ambassadors for BIFM, but they are great ambassadors for the facilities management profession.”

Clout is the second female chairperson after Marilyn Standley took on the role from 1995 to 1997.

In an exclusive interview, she told FM World that Broadbent “will be a difficult act to follow”.

But she will take forward the theme of having a very strong team at the top of the BIFM.

Continued development of cohesive leadership within the organisation will be one of her main objectives, said Clout, who has been a key account manager for energy consultancy powerPerfector for two years.

One of her biggest challenges will be creating that strong team. “It’s really about making sure you get the best out of each board member,” she said.

“You have to make them feel that they can speak their mind. I understand the pressures that people are under today in their day jobs, so it is even more important to ensure members get some professional and also personal development out of being on the board."

However, it is also a two-way street, she said. “Board members must be able to take that development back to their day jobs to enhance their own organisation.”

Another part of that challenge is to make sure the BIFM has a cohesive top leadership. There is a new chief executive, as well as now having only one deputy chairperson instead of two.

Also, there will be a chairperson and deputy chairperson of the members’ council. The BIFM is also considering the creation of a president.

“But the main task at hand is to ensure the current board and leadership are bedded down in their new roles,” said Clout.

But being chairperson means not only do you have to bring people together, you sometimes make decisions that may not be popular, she said.

Meanwhile, Liz Kentish told FM World: “My main role will be to support Ismena and the medium-term strategy and develop the board to be accessible to our members”.

Kentish, managing director of Liz Kentish Coaching, is a qualified coach, licensed trainer and public speaker who has specialised in the service sector for over 20 years.

She pointed out that the chair and deputy chair roles are open to all members, and that there is no particular significance that two women are taking over.

The BIFM is not an exclusive organisation, she said. “It’s also important to remember that Women in FM isn’t some kind of exclusive club. About a third of our members are men.”

Kentish, who will relinquish her leadership role of Women in FM by July, is passionate about encouraging people into FM, whether they are school leavers, graduates or even people considering a career change.

“But we can’t do this alone, we need to get our members behind this, making sure that all their knowledge and experience is shared with those coming into FM.


She also plans to get out to more BIFM events. “Ismena is London-based and I live in Lincolnshire, so we will also be attending many local BIFM events around the country.”