Early last November ISSA created the ISSA Hygieia Network, a women’s forum with a mission to ‘advance and retain female professionals in all sectors and experience levels within the global cleaning community.’ Individuals and corporations can participate in the network.
“ISSA is leading this effort to foster the advancement of women in our industry, in direct support of the Association’s mission to facilitate ongoing networking and commercial opportunities for the international cleaning industry,” said John Garfinkel, ISSA executive director.
“There are many outstanding female executives in our field, and we want to encourage companies to look to their workforces to further expand their diversity and mine even more exemplary leaders.”
Named after the Greek goddess of cleaning and hygiene, Hygieia will provide ongoing education, networking, professional development, and personal recognition awards available to any women working in, or associated with, the industry.
An advisory council of female leaders, chaired by Diversey Care president Dr Ilham Kadri, will develop the network’s framework for membership and services in the coming months. The council will focus on ways to raise awareness, stimulate discussion, and disseminate best practices.
In addition to leadership development, the group also will investigate ways to address front-line worker challenges such as literacy levels.
‘Currently, a high percentage of entry-level female cleaning workers around the world come from low-income or impoverished backgrounds that restrict their access to education, hampering their prospects for personal and professional advancement,’ observed ISSA.
“Since I joined this industry, I noticed huge gaps in gender diversity and a lack of prestige connected with cleaning jobs,” stated Dr Kadri.
“We need to change that and support our employees in the cleaning industry to access education and training, as well as become more aware about the best cleaning standards and collaborate in building a human capital curriculum.”
Support for this initiative has been provided by the following founding members being:
*Holly Borrego, ISS Facility Services’ cleaning services director North America
* Nathalie Doobin, Harvard Services Group’s chief executive officer
* Dr Ilham Kadri,
* Jill Kegler, Kellermeyer-Nichols general manager
* Marie-Paule Nowlis, Sofitel’s vice president guest experience and operations
* Meredith Reuben, EBP Supply Solutions’ chief executive officer
* Linda Silverman, Maintex president
* Lydia Work, American Paper Converting’ chief executive officer
“These women leaders have greatly impressed me since I joined this industry,” Dr Kadri explained. “Each of them has a unique story to tell and are inspirational for anyone working in the cleaning profession. With them as role models, and the commitment of ISSA to host this initiative, we shall deliver on our mission to improve education and career opportunities for women as well as develop a diverse generation of future leaders.”