Women Who Lead in FM: Part I

March 08, 2024
A collage of photos of women across ESFM's organization.

This International Women’s Day, ESFM celebrates the impact of women across our organization, including those who lead at every level: from team supervisors and unit directors to senior leadership, as well as their unique and diverse backgrounds.

All March, during Women’s History Month, we’re highlighting some of the standout female leaders who help our organization lead the way with an engaged, people-focused culture. ESFM is proud to be part of an organization heralded among America’s Greatest Workplaces for Diversity 2024 and America’s Greatest Workplaces for Women 2024.

Dina Amaya, Unit Director

Dina AmayaDina Amaya advanced in rapid succession during her past six years with Compass Group/ESFM, serving a telecommunications client in Miami, Fla. Within months of joining the company she was promoted to a supervisory role, and a year later she became a manager. In 2021, Amaya assumed her current unit director role, managing facility services and a team across multiple buildings and training for its CIMS-certified janitorial program, eClean.

Originally from Nicaragua, Amaya emigrated to the U.S. in 1991. Her journey has been defined by sacrifice, a commitment to hard work and overcoming challenges. She’s worked as a pastry chef, co-owner (with her husband) of an auto body repair business and as a paralegal where she helped a dozen people prepare for and pass their U.S. citizenship test.

“As an immigrant who came to this country as a young woman and had to learn a new language and how to rise above many social struggles, I am so proud of how much I have accomplished throughout my life,” Amaya said.

She has been fortunate enough to work for several female leaders over the course of her career, learning from them so that she too can lead by example.

“The one thing they all had in common was respect for how they carried themselves, their craft and the employees around them,” Amaya said.

Today, Amaya says that the woman she looks up to the most is her daughter. Her children, including her daughter and three sons, haven’t faced the same challenges as her, but have learned from taking their mother’s accomplishments and sacrifices to heart.

“I am a proud mother,” she said, adding that she’s also a proud Abuelita of two handsome grandsons. “My children are always trying to be fair and act with the best sense of inclusion in everything they do.”

Q: What do you hope to model to your team and inspire in them?

Dina Amaya and her team celebrate a fellow associate.A: Respect for each associate on the team. With a good attitude and respect overall, everything can be accomplished!

What do you enjoy about working in facilities management? 

The thing that gives me the most joy is seeing new people come into our building and how their mouths drop when they walk in and see how beautiful the building really is. To know that my team is responsible for keeping this building looking beautiful gives me joy!

What has ESFM’s team/culture meant to you? 

My leadership team support is what keeps me wanting to be part of ESFM. I have always felt seen and respected, and that my job is not just a job. Being part of this team means the opportunity to belong to something bigger than just my account.

Melissa Grimes, Regional Vice President

Melissa GrimesA longtime resident of Springfield, Virginia, Melissa Grimes began her career at 17 as a legal law assistant, developing her attention to detail and drive to deliver exceptional, on-time work.

Grimes worked her way through college, studying on the weekends while working full-time in the oil and gas industry in customer service and accounts receivable. Her career path has included experience in financial reporting and portfolio and project management as well. Grimes chose to take some time away from work when her youngest daughter was born — a mother of three daughters, Grimes says being a mom is her most important role.

“My faith and family are the driving forces and primary inspirations,” she said. “They inspire, motivate, and support me in my career aspirations. My passion to succeed, to cultivate positive working relationships and push myself to the next level is a result of their support and encouragement.”

Melissa Grimes with her team members at Top Golf.A high achiever, Grimes has enjoyed a successful ascension since entering the facilities management industry, growing to become a global procurement director managing an $80 million life sciences account before joining ESFM last year as a regional vice president overseeing a major life sciences client partnership. She was drawn to ESFM’s culture and already is making an impact guiding her team through challenges, providing insights and contributing to superior performance. She hopes that her commitment to excellence is an inspiration to future female leaders, including her daughters.

“I want to teach my girls the same lessons my mother taught me, including always having a strong work ethic, leading with empathy and compassion, having clear goals and objectives for yourself and others, being a responsible team member, and taking pride in accomplishments,” Grimes said. “They can achieve anything they set their minds to and not to let adversity steer them away from taking risks and achieving their personal goals.”

What do you hope to model to your team and inspire in them?

Melissa Grimes with some of her team members.My hope is that our team of talented individuals feel supported and that they know when faced with a challenge, my door is always open to listen to their ideas, suggestions, criticisms, and problems. We are a TEAM and we climb the mountain and fall down the hill as one. I want our team to feel empowered to make decisions and know that I will be there to support them through the mutual trust that we have established. I hope this sets the example for them to be transformational and servant leaders contributing to our team’s outstanding performance and accomplishments. 

What do you enjoy about working in facilities management? 

My entire facilities career has been focused on life sciences. By maintaining our life science clients’ facilities we’re enabling them to focus on what matters most, which is their life saving and life improving treatments that provide a benefit to all of us. 

What has ESFM’s team/culture meant to you? 

The ESFM culture was a huge reason why I wanted to join this organization. In the past six months, I’ve felt supported and inspired by the senior leaders within our organization and it was a very welcome change. I trust the decisions being made by the executive team and believe they base their decisions on the best interests of the entire ESFM organization. The culture here is focused on the human capital of the organization, ensuring we ALL know that we are important to the success of the organization. … I truly feel we are striving towards the same vision and goals and that each of us would gladly jump in to assist — and I’ve witnessed this firsthand with the account I’m currently supporting.