Samantha West

Commercial Director, VINCI Facilities

Samantha West

Commercial Director, VINCI Facilities

Profile

Samantha West, Commercial Director, VINCI Facilities

My Name is Samantha West and I am a transgendered Sector Commercial Director for VINCI Facilties.

My role is responsible for £125m of business in the public sector including maintenance to Schools, hospitals, stadia, rail, corporate estates and government offices.

I have worked in the construction and Facilities management industries for 30 years, during most of which I lived a dual life, outwardly as Ian, Director, Husband, Father and inwardly as Samantha.

Following many years of denial in 2016 I made the decision to become Samantha and transition to become female. A traumatic move out of the family home, to somewhere new where I could live in my new identity. At this time Vinci were working on a fairness, inclusion and respect project, to which Ian became a member. this was instrumental in my decision to communicate to my work colleagues about my change reaching over 400 people and receiving very supportive responses.

Brave was a common word.

I had my first transgender operation and had my first day at work as Samantha in November 2017. I started the first ever LGBT+ networking group in VINCI

I then helped write and featured in VINCI’s best practice booklet on inclusive workplaces. To try an expand the message I joined an industry working group which I helped drive forward called LGBT+ in Facilities Management.

I appeared several articles. I wrote an article in the FM World magazine about my journey to inspire people that it was ok to be transgender and could still be a success in the work place. I was interviewed by People Management magazine who produced an article regarding transgender being marginalised at work and what can be done about it I then wrote others for the All Saints church in Berkhamsted, The RICS and Reader Digest

I  ran a national LGBT plus event in VINCI simultaneously in London Birmingham and Manchester. Following this I hosted the first networking event for LGBT+in Facilities Management in London at which I spoke publicly about my journey. I then spoke at LGBT property professionals event and more recently the Women in Facilities Management annual conference. This last was so special to me and the response was amazing. I then had my second operation. In January received nomination at Leaders in Diversity awards. In March last year I had my final major gender reassignment surgery

I have talked openly and honestly about my journey to help others with two basic messages.

  1. You can be yourself and you will be respected included and happy
  2. When kindness and love takes over anything is possible

I also had a message to business’s that great benefits will come to that embrace inclusivity. People perform better and remain loyal and that we need to remove unconscious bias.

Finally I received an award  for ‘Profound Impact’ to the facilities management industry in November 2019.

 

All sessions by Samantha West