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Sherly Carabeo - Soft Services Manager

Name, Job Title, Years in Serco

Sherly Carabeo, Soft Services Manager

9 years with Serco Middle East

Tell us a little bit about your role. 

I am responsible for overseeing the delivery of the soft FM services at the largest university in the UAE.

I provide operational management and leadership to ensure delivery in compliance with the project agreement. I also manage varied contract performance of strategic partners, stakeholder engagement, safety, assurance, operational excellence support, sustainability, CSR and other compliance functions related to business operations.

Describe your career progression, what has supported you to progress to a senior leadership position?

I have been a soft services manager since I joined Serco. Every year presents more challenges than the last. 

Serco has supported in cultivating my talent, honed my leadership capability and has presented all of its employees with equal opportunities to excel. Management provides guidance through a robust and transparent governance process, which has enabled me to successfully progress.

At Serco, 42% of our Executive Management Team is made up of females. How do you feel the business has supported you?

Serco believes in its people and I feel valued at Serco as a woman in a leadership role and as a professional in the industry. The leadership team has always been visible and ensures they have a strong connection with employees especially during COVID-19. We all feel supported.

I strongly believe in Serco’s values and I strive to live them every day. These values have always motivated me to execute my role brilliantly.

What barriers have you personally faced in your career when progressing into leadership positions, and what advice would you give to others to overcome these?

Visions and goals always motivate me and make me feel enthusiastic and eager to accomplish them as soon as possible. However, I have come to learn that some of the greatest achievements are best acquired with the right amount of time and patience. Take your time and remain focused.

What makes a good leader?

A good leader is inspirational, resilient, fair and fosters creativity.

How do you balance work and life responsibilities?

I encourage everyone in my team to practice work-life balance. If a person is happy and motivated, work-life balance will follow. I also believe that keeping yourself healthy is an important part of this.  

I am very fortunate because the teams I work with are passionate. The people make work enjoyable, collaborative and motivating.  We enjoy working on our transformational projects and have a digital journey, innovation trackers and most importantly, we celebrate our people. 

What has been the highlight of your career?

My career highlights and successes are possible because of the teams I have been a part of.  Various teams were nominated against the other FM companies and were recognised at regional and international levels. Some of the awards we’ve won include:

-       The British Institute of Facilities Management (BIFM) – Highly Commended Award

-       British Institute of Cleaning Science (BICSc) for Training and Excellence

-       Gulf Sustainability for Waste Management and Middle East Awards by MECHF – The Best Client Contractor Partnership.

-       Recognition of robotics-related innovation in several international and regional publications

I’m also grateful to Serco’s Pulse Awards programme for providing our people with a platform to celebrate great talent, achievements and share best practices with the wider business.  Our admin, cleaning, service desk, waste management and timetabling teams have been individually recognised for excellence in performance and contribution at both regional and global categories annually since 2017.

Who inspires you and why?

Leaders of this country give hope, protect lives, innovate, show immense compassion to the community, provide great support during the pandemic, care about sustainability and the environment, happiness, tolerance, look after everyone and empower women.  They truly make the world a better place. They inspire me to work for the greater good every day.

What advice would you give to the next generation of female leaders in Serco?

Harness the power of emotional intelligence. By combining emotional intelligence and artificial intelligence, I see women playing a revolutionary role in future breakthroughs.