To help celebrate International Women’s Day, we’re interviewing several of CIM’s senior women to get their thoughts on International Women’s Day, the advice they would give to other women, their role at CIM and more! Today, it’s our VP of Operations – Janine Lee. (This Q&A was originally published on 28th May 2021 and has been updated to include Janine's thoughts on IWD)
What is your role at CIM?
I am the VP of Operations (Customer Success).
What does International Women’s day mean to you?
Being globally recognised, IWD has become an important platform in spreading the massage that combatting gender-based discrimination is not just a “women’s issue” for women to solve and deal with. Rather, we all have a part to play in making the world truly gender equal. Within the workplace, IWD provides me the opportunity to mobilise my colleagues of all gender identities in making a commitment to move the needle.
How can we support women in tech more widely?
Firstly, women are significantly under-represented in the typical STEM-based channels that talent is procured from. Roles in the tech sector vary widely - opening to a broad set of backgrounds when sourcing talent will help to access more gender-diverse pools.
Secondly, education to make every individual, irrespective of gender, aware of the unconscious biases that women encounter in their professional lives, as well as that individual’s role to play in addressing the biases, is critical. Biases, discrimination and stereotypes must be tackled at an individual level, and not just at the organisational level, in order to create a gender equal world. Unconscious biases faced by women in tech and how these biases impact both their day to day experience and on their longer term careers is not universally understood. Education and awareness across every member of the tech community is a necessary first step in subverting these biases.
What is one piece of advice that you would give to women looking to take the next step in their career?
Embrace your differences. Particularly in an environment where you are a visible minority, your difference could be your superpower. Being an outlier in my team at CIM, with regards to both my previous professional experience and gender, enables me to contribute approaches and perspectives that likely wouldn’t otherwise be offered. Having a diverse set of inputs gained by a diverse set of people is invaluable to making an organisation great. Therefore, feel empowered to express those different ways of thinking.
Take and own the seat at the table. It is not uncommon for women to first jump to thinking “I can’t” over “I can”. Look for an organisation that provides you with leadership and stretch opportunities. Take and own the seat when offered, no matter how big that stretch seems to feel to you. Don’t let fear or a lack of confidence be the reasons for holding you back.
Lastly, ensure that you have active “sponsors” who will act as champions for your professional growth by backing you and your capabilities - both present and future.
Why did you join CIM, and what do you enjoy about the PropTech industry?
I joined CIM in August 2020 because I was excited about building world-class SaaS technology solutions that meet real business needs in one of the most critical sectors in our economy.
I’ve really enjoyed my experience within the PropTech industry. It’s great being able to have a tangible impact on something that we all have direct experience with.
What are the major challenges you see that building owners and operators face?
A common one I see is the challenge of managing operational budgets with limited control on key expenditure items, such as energy and maintenance costs. Without the visibility and transparency of information around how energy and maintenance spend is being influenced, smart operational and capital planning is almost impossible. That is just one area where CIM's PEAK Platform is helping to make a difference.
In your experience, what is the first benefit CIM customers get when they start using PEAK?
It is the simplicity and effectiveness the PEAK Actions Workflow solution has in aligning multiple stakeholders in a complex delivery environment. Building owners, Facility Managers and contractors are likely to have differing incentives, which can cause inefficiencies. With support from our Customer Success team, our PEAK Actions Workflow tool facilitates collaboration and, in doing so, helps align stakeholders to achieve positive operational outcomes.
What is your favourite part of the job?
My favourite part is twofold. On the client side, I enjoy watching them witness the power of our PEAK platform, including the workflow solution, for the first time. Their newfound ability to uncover information about how their core equipment is performing along with the added visibility they gain into the building's operational activities provide an intangible connection for me.
Secondly, it is a privilege to work alongside our world-class engineers who are incredibly talented and 100% dedicated to driving client outcomes.
What trends do you see emerging in the built environment?
As our emergence out of COVID-19 continues to gain momentum, I think we will see new trends that are wide and varied come to the fore.
Beginning with the commercial sector, I see the future of the workplace centering around tenant experience. The challenge for our office spaces will be about managing physical distancing requirements with interpersonal connectivity while also balancing flexible and remote working.
Within the retail space, the importance of customer experience will again be prominent. These spaces are becoming places to meet and gather once more. Again, we need to mix this with health and safety requirements!
When you are not working, what is one thing you love to do?
I enjoy spending quality time with family. Cooking is also a passion of mine where I use it as an avenue to express creativity regularly.
What is something people would be surprised to find out about you?
I don’t have an engineering background! I have spent a large part of my career as a management consultant working in Australia, Asia and the UK advising on strategy and operations.
As the leader of our Customer Success team, my job is to ensure that we drive outcomes for our customers, which is where this experience has held me in good stead. More likely than not, our customers' priorities link back to business value, with our technology working in tandem with our Customer Success team to deliver that.
Now that we can travel again (sort of), where are you off to on your next holiday?
I really enjoy my yoga, so I’m keen to book myself into a retreat!
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