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Women in FM Recognised in WiHTL 2022 Women to Watch & Role Models Index

Women in FM Recognised in WiHTL 2022 Women to Watch & Role Models Index
15 December 2022

The Women to Watch & Role Models for Inclusion in Hospitality, Travel & Leisure (HTL) Index 2022 has named several women working in facilities management in its shortlists.

This includes colleagues from Sodexo, ISS and Compass Group. The Estates Director of Pizza Express, Claire Carbone, was also named.

Now in its fourth year, the first half of the index features 61 women from across hospitality, travel and leisure who have achieved personal and professional success. Also included in the index are 20 role models for diversity and inclusion.




Three women from Sodexo were named in this year’s lists, with Raj Jones and Paula Stevenson recognised as women to watch in the index and Laura Purdey named as a role model for inclusion.

Raj Jones has been with Sodexo since 2014, she has held the role of Head of DE&I since spring 2020, initially in an interim capacity until May 2021 when she took the role on permanently. Under Raj’s leadership Sodexo has received recognition for its work from a number of external bodies and has made good progress towards its gender aspirational targets and was the first business in the hospitality sector to voluntarily publish its ethnicity pay gap report in 2021. Raj has also established a strategic taskforce with leaders from black and other ethnic minority backgrounds to better understand the lived experiences of employees and start meaningful conversations about race at Sodexo. 



Picture: a photograph of Raj Jones. Image Credit: Sodexo


Paula Stevenson has 30 years of FM and project experience spanning a range of sectors. Paula joined Sodexo as Global Account Director managing a Vested Contract for a major pharma client. After four years in that role, in Sept 2021 Paula was appointed as Managing Director, Corporate Services UK leading 80 client accounts across 300 sites across the UK. During her career, Paula has been both internally and externally recognised for her innovative solutions, compassionate leadership and collaborative style. Paula was nominated for her outstanding dedication to the industry and her influence over both client partnerships and Sodexo’s social value agenda.



Picture: a photograph of Paula Stevenson. Image Credit: Sodexo


Laura Purdey joined Sodexo in 2007 and over the last 15 years has progressed her career in a number of HR roles at Sodexo. Laura has been HR director for Sodexo’s schools and universities business since 2018. Throughout her time at Sodexo Laura has always been passionate about ensuring those around her feel comfortable to be their true self, she has been an active member of Sodexo’s PRIDE employee network in the UK and Ireland and this year has extended that by volunteering to co-chair the global PRIDE network.



Picture: a photograph of Laura Purdey. Image Credit: Sodexo


Compass Group


Gemma Evans-Hurley was also recognised as a woman to watch in the index, for her role as Culinary Leads – Projects and Women in Food Chair at Compass Group.

Gemma commented: “Food is my first love. I knew I wanted to be a chef from a young age and set my ambitions high. At 18, I graduated from the prestigious Westminster Kingsway College with a professional chef’s diploma. After working in the London restaurant scene, I ventured out to Spain to learn a European approach to cooking. I joined Compass in 2010 as a Sous Chef, and then studied further to evolve my skills. This led to me being promoted to Head Chef aged 21, where I then naturally progressed into a National Executive Chef role just a year later.



Picture: a photograph of Gemma Evans-Hurley. Image Credit: Compass Group


“Being a role model and having role models is absolutely critical to promoting our great industry and nurturing the next generation of talent. I’m incredibly lucky to have had great mentors who push me to expand my skills and knowledge, so I’m a huge advocate of showing people that anything is possible. We have a fantastic career pathway at Compass which was promoted recently when I went back to Westminster College to speak to culinary students about the industry opportunities. I gave the advice I wish I had been given.”




ISS’ Kat Parsons, Head of Diversity, Inclusion and Belonging, was recognised as a role model for inclusion. In the past year, Kat has achieved several accolades as the RoSPA Inspiring Women in Health and Safety Awards and BESA National Diversity and Inclusion Initiative Award 2022, owing to her development of ISS’s innovative Menopause Awareness Project. This latest listing demonstrates her continued focus on inclusivity, openness and honesty within the workplace.



Picture: a photograph of Kat Persons. Image Credit: ISS


Kat said: “It is a real honour to be part of this list, alongside other fantastic women in this space, for the first time. It has been an incredible journey since I shifted my career path to the D&I space and I look forward to working closer with WiHTL, championing a more diverse industry.”

Picture: Image Credit: Unsplash

Article written by Ella Tansley | Published 15 December 2022


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