Women in Facilities Management: Erika Young
As a leader with more than seven years managing the customer onboarding process at ServiceChannel, Erika Young is an expert at helping facilities managers get the most out of the platform. Learn more about her role, and why she feels this is a great time for women to get into the dynamic facilities management industry.
What are implementation services? And how do you and your team help shape the customer’s experience with the platform?
In your seven+ years at the company, how have past roles and experiences shaped how you approach your job today?
I would say the biggest way that those experiences have shaped what I do today is really informing the necessity of working in a cross-functional manner — and always keeping the impacts that a decision may have on another area of the company in the forefront of our minds.
If we were to take “x” path instead of “y” path, what would it mean for another process or another part of the project? And just really making sure that we’re looking at things holistically as opposed to an isolated decision.
What are some of the things you like most about working in facilities management? And how did you get into the industry?
I would say one of the things I like most is the dynamic nature of the business. We’re often talking about very fast industries. We’re talking about lots of people, who of course bring their own personalities and complexities. So no day is ever the same.
You walk in and you know that there’s going to be something new and exciting waiting for you to address — and particularly working at ServiceChannel, where we are thought leaders in how all of these things unfold.
I got into the industry, very similarly to what I hear a lot of my colleagues say, which is, a little bit by accident. I was in the industry before there was such a thing as a college program for facility maintenance. And I was working at a temp agency that just happened to be in the realm of facilities. I thought I’d be there for a few months — and now it’s been decades that I’ve been in the industry. I came in, and I never left.
Tell us about some of the changes you are seeing. Any big surprises?
What are some of the biggest stressors for facilities managers and how is implementation services helping them solve these issues?
A lot of folks are coming to ServiceChannel because they just don’t have time to manage the day-to-day. One of the things that implementation can really help with is vetting the details of processes to see what we can automate.
What can we take off of your plate so that you can focus on strategy or things where there really is a lot of thought leadership needed? How can we help set up work in a way where things that are more routine are handled through a very systematic, sometimes even automated process?
Any recent success stories or new projects you can tell us about today?
What’s your experience as a woman working in facilities management been like? Are there obstacles you’ve had to overcome?
There certainly are obstacles, though I don’t know that I would attribute them to the fact that I’m a woman necessarily. I think the industry, like any industry, presents obstacles.
A lot of what we’ve seen historically, in terms of role models, or people who have been really successful, is that they have been men simply because of the volume of men in the industry.
But as the definition of facilities management expands, so does the presence of women in the industry. And I’ve been very fortunate to work with a lot of really kind and smart women — and expect that will continue as the industry grows.
Tell us about women who inspire you?
Did you have a mentor in your career?
Not per se. I’ve had lots of people help me along the way, and lots of people who have been great about sharing advice and experiences.
It seems to be more common now to have formal mentors, where both parties really agree on what that kind of a relationship entails, and what both people agree to bring to the table.
So I would say, I did not personally have one. It was a lot of finding my own way through things. But I think it’s great when people can have a mentor. I would certainly encourage anyone who might be interested in forming a mentor-mentee relationship to be bold and vocal about making those connections and asking for what it is you’d like.