Hard Services | Our People

International Women in Engineering Day: Giorgia Baker

OCS Team

OCS Team

21 Jun, 2024

International Women in Engineering Day: Giorgia Baker

Giorgia Baker, in her role as the Account Director on a variety of OCS’s local government contracts from the City of London to Croydon, holds a pivotal position overseeing critical sites for Boroughs across London. Notably, she is responsible for managing key locations such as Courts and Police, The Barbican Centre, Royal Parks and other local Borough Portfolios. 

Giorgia’s career spans diverse industries and countries and she has worked with a high-profile customer base. To celebrate International Women in Engineering Day, we sat down with Giorgia to delve into her professional journey thus far, exploring the factors that have shaped her career as a woman in the challenging field of hard services.

Giorgia Baker has enjoyed an illustrious career, fueled by her determination and foresight. Her career in facilities management spans 28 years, a journey that, like many other FM professionals, she fell into. Starting in estate management, she transitioned into property management, marking the beginning of her journey. She soon completed her IWFM qualification, formerly known as the British Industry Facilities Management qualification. In 2021, she was awarded the prestigious IWFM chartered status, demonstrating her excellence as a professional and expert in the industry.

However, Giorgia didn’t start in hard services. After achieving great success managing a range of soft services—from cleaning, catering and security to pest control—and winning local awards in many instances, she decided it was time for a new challenge. Thus, she was drawn to hard services. “It was the natural next step for me to invest in something else and answer new questions. How does a building design work? How does the air conditioning flow? Where do you put the pipes? Where do you put the wiring? How do you deal with the exhaust waste in gas production? It also has a completely different set of legislative regulations. I felt drawn in and excited by the challenge to answer these new questions.”

The path to hard services was not easily forged. Being a woman in a male-dominated sector presented its challenges, but Giorgia faced them with an acute focus towards her goal. “To break through, I had to persistently knock on doors and create opportunities. Unlike those with technical qualifications, such as electricians, I didn’t fit the traditional mould. Despite not being male or technically qualified, I immersed myself in learning beyond my day job. I became a fierce advocate, explaining complex concepts like boiler functionality and HVAC systems. Managing assets, considering life cycles, and navigating legal compliance—all from a female perspective—required difficult conversations.”

Undeterred, she soldiered on. She takes pride in her work and celebrates the diverse buildings she has managed. “I’ve had the privilege of working with some truly incredible buildings and spaces. I’ve taken on global roles in the past due to the diverse career I have forged, earning the label ‘globally experienced.’ I’ve managed office moves in Hong Kong virtually, I’ve done and seen so much, and I feel proud and grateful for that.” But one thing remains close to her heart: seeing her team thrive and grow. “My pride lies in team management and colleague development. Working with people brings me immense joy—I thrive on developing others.”

Her path to joining OCS was an equally interesting one. Having started her relationship with OCS, then Atalian Servest, as a customer, she was drawn in by the team’s sheer dedication to work. Reflecting on the time, she says,

“I really enjoyed the way we worked the contract together. It was an outstanding relationship. When you have the experience of working with people who go those many miles extra, there’s something in it. There’s something that draws you into that, and that’s what led me to OCS. So far, it has been one of the best places I’ve ever worked.”

For the future of the industry, Giorgia remains curious and ready to adapt, foreseeing many changes on the horizon. “The influence of AI in our industry intrigues me. We’ll need to navigate this transformation and find ways to explain how AI and robots can effectively manage estates. Already, we’ve seen cleaning machines making an impact.” She also believes the industry still has loose threads to tie up in the aftermath of the pandemic. 

She is passionate about seeing more women in the industry flourish. When asked what her advice would be for women interested in hard services, she says, “Make it your business to understand your business. Get qualified—it opens doors to valuable networks and contacts. Attend everything you can, even if it’s unfamiliar. Whether it’s an emergency call-out or a planned preventative maintenance (PPM), dive into understanding the assets. The Institute of Workplace Facilities Management (IWFM) is an excellent resource, and there are international counterparts now, including one in Australia.

“Stay curious, get qualified, and actively engage—it’s your business to be involved!”

Giorgia’s journey is a beacon of inspiration for future generations of women in the facilities management industry. Her tenacity and focus have led her to a thriving career, weaving through the various pockets and sideroads of the industry, facing challenges and innovating as she went along.

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