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Spotlight Interview | Mary-Jane Pettit

Spotlight Interview | Mary-Jane Pettit
08 October 2021

Pioneer FM provides total FM services for offices, schools, commercial and retail facilities, government agencies, and other large sites.

CEO and Founder Mary-Jane Pettit is looking to disrupt the status quo in the FM industry, by caring for her staff, refusing to use harmful chemicals, and pledging to become carbon zero by 2025.

She spoke to ThisWeekinFM about Pioneer’s ambitions and her personal journey from cleaning operative to company CEO.


Watch the Video...






From Cleaner to FM CEO


Mary-Jane is described as coming from "stellar frontline FM stock". Her mother was a cleaning contracts manager, and her father was a plumber and school caretaker. "I had so much much respect for my mum and dad growing up", she said.

"Getting up exceptionally early and working through the weekends and summer holidays, they worked continuously to give us the best that they could."

Mary-Jane herself also worked as a cleaning operative, working her way up to a supervisor role. She is now the founder, owner and CEO of a £30 million turnover FM business, Pioneer FM.

Her ethos is to look after her team and to drive positive change for them, reduce the use of harsh, unnecessary chemicals, and only partner with clients who share her values, helping to reduce the impact the FM industry has on our planet.


"It’s hard work. I’ve been a cleaner and it's manual work. Going into London at 4.30 am, everyone out there is out there to get the sites ready for everybody to go to work and keep them safe. We are a Real Living Wage employer and our cleaners deserve the money they are paid."

– Mary-Jane Pettit

CEO, Pioneer FM


Paying Cleaners a Fair Wage


The COVID-19 pandemic has seen a huge change in public attitudes towards cleaning operatives, putting cleaning and hygiene at the top of the agenda and bringing widespread recognition for the vital work of the sector’s previously invisible workforce.

Mary-Jane feels passionate that cleaners deserve fair pay for the work that they do:

"It’s hard work. I’ve been a cleaner and it's manual work. Going into London at 4.30 am, everyone out there is out there to get the sites ready for everybody to go to work and keep them safe. We are a Real Living Wage employer and our cleaners deserve the money they are paid."


75% Female-Led FM Company


Pioneer's leadership team is 75 per cent female-led and Mary-Jane is incredibly proud to be a woman in the facilities management sector, despite its challenges.

Talking about her experiences as a woman in FM, she said: "There’s been a couple of negative experiences, I’d say three or four. But, for the three or four negative comments I’ve had, I've also had thousands of positive ones and I’m really proud of working in the industry in which I do."


Contract Wins


Speaking about some of Pioneer's recent projects, she said:

"We are a support partner for Sodexo, looking after HMRC sites, and we were brought on purely because our recruitment style is so different to other companies in FM. Every one of our operatives out on-site goes through BPSS security clearance, which makes us a little bit niche."

"We work with companies who share our ethos and direction."

Picture: a photograph of Mary-Jane Pettit

Article written by Ella Tansley | Published 08 October 2021


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