ON the first day of her new job, Karen Sloan has called for greater diversity in the property services industry. Well, it is International Women’s Day, and she is the new boss.
Sloan is the new managing director of Liberty Group’s gas maintenance division. The company, part of the ForViva Group, is a property services business specialising in repairs and maintenance, gas services, and construction projects.
“Being appointed as MD of Liberty’s gas division is one of the proudest days of my career,” Sloan said. “I truly love working in this sector and get a real sense of achievement through motivating and energising people to deliver the best possible service, something which everyone at Liberty is incredibly passionate about.
“While the sector is constantly changing and developing, this is still a challenging time for women wanting to break through in property services management. My own personal challenges to break through in the industry is the driving force behind my commitment to encouraging more women to realise the opportunities that there are for them in this vibrant sector.”
In her new role, Sloan — who was previously Liberty’s chief operating officer — will be responsible for overseeing the company’s gas services across the country, which includes over 200,000 properties across England and Wales.
She has had a long and successful career in property services, having started out as office manager for a small family run gas company, before becoming the first female gas contracts manager at her previous employer in 2007.
From there she progressed through several management and senior management roles in gas servicing, before joining Liberty in 2017 as operations director.
According to British Gas, just 6% of the industry’s workforce is female and the trends are similar across trades like electrical engineering and building maintenance, but Liberty Group has expressed its commitment to improve diversity.
As part of Liberty’s campaign, the company says it will be establishing links with local schools to showcase to students the opportunities that there are in property services, as well as reviewing its recruitment processes and practice and its approach to work experience and volunteering. It will also be looking at ways to ensure any vacancies appeal to all people including those who wish to work more flexibly supporting the Government’s campaign #happytotalkflexible working.
Sloan added: “Both personally for me and for Liberty as a business, we’re dedicated to redressing the balance in the future and to do this, it is vital that we inspire more women to consider engineering and trade roles when they are looking at their career options. I’m really excited by Liberty’s plans to encourage this as I take up my new role.”
Ray Jones, Liberty Group’s managing director, said: “Karen truly is a role model in the property services sector. Her drive and determination, together with her passion for delivering Liberty’s commitment to the highest levels of customer service, safety and efficiency, is an inspiration…
“At Liberty, we are about success for all, which means that we are dedicated to championing diversity at all levels, and our drive to encourage more women into the sector is firmly part of this aim.”
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As part of International Women’s Day, Sloan’s achievements have been marked by a short film: