Door Industry Journal - Spring 2019

Also online at: THE door industry journal spring 2019 10 Industry News Successful Women in a ‘Male-Dominated’ Industry Fiona Critchley, Head of Communications at Gerda Security Products Limited, was announced as Chairperson of dhf ’s (Door & Hardware Federation) Timber Doorset Group in 2018. She is one of a number of successful women currently thriving in a ‘male-dominated’ industry. Fiona Critchley is an accomplished woman who has worked successfully in a male-dominated sector for more than 20 years. With a BA (Hons) in Modern Languages and Economics and a Diploma in Marketing, Fiona is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Marketing and Representative for fire doorsets for the Fire Industry Association. Yet, despite these individual achievements, she believes that working collaboratively is really the key to growth and success. “I worked in the electronics components industry for 11 years for organisations such as Standard Telephone & Cables Plc, Eurodis HB Electronics and as the UK General Manager for Evox Rifa AB, a Swedish manufacturer of capacitors (formerly part of the Ericsson Group),” she explains. “As a graduate in french, german and economics, I have always had a strong interest in a career in industry and international marketing, which led to me working in the doorset industry with Gerda Security Products Limited. Whilst both industries have been predominantly male-dominated, I do believe that success comes from people working together as a team.” In 2018, Fiona was appointed the new Chairperson of dhf ’s Timber Doorset Group and has been working hard to progress its objectives. Representing companies associated with Locks & Building Hardware; Doorsets; Industrial Doors & Shutters; Domestic Garage Doors and Automated Gates, dhf now has more than 450 members and is the ‘go to’ place for technical advice and training in a bid to raise industry standards. However, despite a history dating back to 1897, dhf couldn’t be a more progressive and forward-looking organisation, with its sights set firmly on future growth. Much of this current development can be attributed to another successful woman in the industry, its recently promoted Commercial Manager, Patricia Sowsbery-Stevens: “When we were seeking a new Chairperson for the Timber Doorset Group, we automatically thought of Fiona based on her previous pro-active contribution to the group, and we are delighted that she agreed to take on the position of Chair,” says Patricia. “The industry is brimming with successful, hard-working women who are making a real impact. In fact, Tina Hughan, Marketing Director of ASSA ABLOY, is the Vice-Chair of the same group. It’s wonderful that women are choosing to enter the industry and are being rewarded with enjoyable and fulfilling careers. Indeed, more than two thirds of dhf ’s employees are women.” The ethos of dhf is strong as a trade association that represents manufacturers of timber and metal doorsets (a ‘doorset’ being the complete end product supplied through a single source manufacturer). It is a fierce advocate for factory control and third-party certification for the manufacture, installation and maintenance of timber doorsets, it produces guidance publications and notes regularly, responds to market trends and is highly regarded across the industry and widely acknowledged as the ‘go to’ for the latest on standards. Fiona hopes to continue the good work of dhf in her role as Chairperson of the Timber Doorset Group by helping to raise the profile of its continuing work, liaising with other trade associations and encouraging like-minded manufacturers to join the federation. “As an organisation, dhf has effectively contributed to the on-going debate and work taking place within the fire doorset industry to result in best practice since the Grenfell tragedy,” she says. “It is so important that we continue to improve the built environment and dhf is pleased to note the reference for the need for third-party certification within Dame Judith Hackitt’s report 1 . In looking at the ‘Golden Thread’, I also believe it is important that product manufacturers can maintain direct communications with building owners and managers of the built-environment. “Whether a man or a woman, having a strong belief in what you do, drive, perseverance and a respect for one another is a vital ingredient to the success of any organisation. At Gerda, I am joined by a diverse management team and each member – gender aside - has a valued contribution to make. I enjoy working for a company that places great significance on product development, innovation, third-party testing and certification.” 1 Building a Safer Future. Independent Review of Building Regulations and Fire Safety. May 2018 - Dame Judith Hackitt, DBE FREng Fiona Critchley

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