Inside IFMA Change was in the air as the International Facility Management Association kicked off the 2017 World Workplace Conference Expo in Houston, Texas, USA in October. More than 4,000 attendees gathered from around the world just six weeks after Hurricane Harvey unleashed record-breaking rains and flooding in the city. In a year that also saw major disaster relief efforts after hurricanes Irma, Jose and Maria, as well as a major earthquake in Mexico and landslides from South Asia to Columbia, disaster preparedness and recovery were topics on many attendees’ minds. For Danielle Soria-Orozco, an event specialist who joined IFMA’s staff shortly before the flooding, the aftermath of Harvey presented an opportunity to bring FMs together to help a Houston facility in need. “I come from a charitable, service-based background, so it was an area [we] wanted to try to incorporate into events moving forward once I was on board. The requests to assist with Harvey-related service projects was huge, and we decided to pull together an opportunity for our members to assist in a project that would put their facility management skills to great use,” she says. Soria-Orozco is a volunteer for the Oaks Dads Club, a youth sports organization that offers baseball, softball and soccer instruction to more than 400 Houston-area kids between the ages of four to 14. ODC has been in operation for 60 years, and she knew firsthand the flood devastation they had on their fields and clubhouse. “Their clubhouse took in over a foot of water and their playing fields lost a great deal of red clay dirt. More importantly, many of our families and coaches were largely affected by Harvey and some lost their entire homes. ODC is 100 percent volunteer driven,” she says. “It seemed like a perfect fit for IFMA members to not only participate in a service related project, but a project that was relative to their jobs. I also cannot leave out that all of the tools used to complete the project were provided for use by the Houston ToolBank [an organization that loaned out free tools to anyone involved in the cleanup and rebuilding efforts].” In a single day, the group of IFMA members, which included several members from the San Diego Chapter, did a demo of the clubhouse, replaced all six doors, installed new insulation, cut and replaced wall panels, dispersed new dirt onto the playing field, and repainted the concession stand. “I think we all smiled bigger on the way home, knowing something real and meaningful was accomplished,” Soria-Orozco says. “I have worked with hundreds of volunteers over the years, but the IFMA World Workplace volunteers are some of the most amazing I have ever met. My takeaway was how incredibly generous the IFMA community can be.” IFMA members also got an introduction to IFMA’s four “aspirational statements” that are part of the organization’s ongoing Appreciative Inquiry process to set a vision for the future. Launched in August 2017, the global board, along with IFMA staff, have participated in “discovery and dream” workshops to arrive at four aspirational statements for IFMA’s future. Appreciative Inquiry is a method of exploring the positive, “high point experiences” people have in an organization, and to use those stories to design a roadmap to the future. It involves multiple rounds of workshops and surveys to gather as much stakeholder input as possible. Members on the expo floor had the opportunity to visit IFMA Central to read details about the four aspirational statements, ask questions of Appreciative Inquiry workshop participants, be interviewed on camera telling their “IFMA story,” and to fill out surveys giving their thoughts about the statements and their personal vision for IFMA’s future. Cheryl Duvall, FIIDA, CID, MSOD and president of Avance Consulting, designed and is facilitating the process. “The inclusive nature of the AI process ensures that we reach out across the association to gather a wide representation of ideas and insights to help shape IFMA’s strategic objectives. Rather than just one or two stakeholder groups making decisions on behalf of members, the AI process enables all nine stakeholder groups to offer feedback, explore solutions, and co-create viable possibilities for the future of FM,” she says. Duvall said more than 80 comment cards were collected from members on the expo floor, and additional personal stories were collected by a roving videographer. “A.I. received a huge endorsement at WWP, beginning with the introduction of the four Aspirational Statements during the House of Delegates meeting,” Duvall says. “Through the AI interview process … we were able to gather more than a hundred stories highlighting how IFMA has changed career trajectories, advanced the profession, and connected facility managers across the globe.” The process is ongoing and is intended to strengthen the organization as it moves forward in the fast-changing world of facility management. World Workplace 2017 marked the start of member engagement in this vision, further driving home the year’s theme — We are FM: A Universe of Possibilities. ASPIRATIONAL STATEMENTS 1) Sharpening FM Skills 2) Exceptional Member Experience 3) Broadening and Globally Advancing the FM Profession 4) The Evolution of the Global FM Profession and Its Member-Centric Organization
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