Women Who Lead in FM: Part II

March 28, 2024
Headshots of Kristin Belcher, Lawyna Holland-Parish, and Lauren Knowles.

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.

For Women’s History Month, we continue highlighting some of the standout female leaders who help our organization lead the way with an engaged, people-focused culture and who help drive strong performance and results to support our clients.

Hear some thoughts on leadership from three ESFM vice presidents:


Kristin Belcher, Vice President of Finance

Kristin Belcher

After starting her career in the culinary arts, Kristin Belcher discovered her true passion while working part-time for a restaurant: accounting. The owner needed help with bookkeeping and “it just clicked right away,” for her.

Since discovering her passion via the roundabout journey, Belcher has gone on to hold several finance and accounting roles and earn her MBA (Master of Business Administration) in accounting as well as her CPA (certified public accountant) license.

In her 15+ years with Compass Group, Belcher has risen to lead the finance team for the rapidly growing division of ESFM. She has learned much about the qualities of a leader in that time, noting that simple things like caring about other people, remaining positive and looking at challenges as opportunity go a long way. She said these positive qualities are ingrained in ESFM’s culture:

“Our culture is different. When I hear about other people’s experiences with other companies, I realize it’s more of a rarity than I think,” Belcher said. “People talking with each other, caring about each other, being thoughtful; it helps reinforce to me not to take our culture for granted.”


Lawyna Holland-Parish, Vice President of Standards & Practices

Lawyna Holland-ParishLawyna Holland-Parish is a scientist at heart. A U.S. army veteran, she started her career working in laboratories and contributing to critical, life-saving research.

Throughout her career, Holland-Parish has been given opportunities to step up beyond her role, and her drive to excel has led her into leadership. Embracing those opportunities and believing in her abilities has helped her to be successful.

Holland-Parish leads Standards & Practices for ESFM, helping mitigate risk and ensure site teams and business partners have the tools they need to be successful.

“This is where I get to make the biggest impact of my career,” she said. “I have the opportunity to work alongside some dynamic women.”

As a leader, she hopes to model authenticity and a strong belief system.

“I’m self-motivated most of the time,” she said. “You have to learn how to fail in order to be successful; there’s no other way around it. Never say no if you feel good about the opportunity, learn what you can become. If you have a belief that you can, it’s hard to dim your light.”


Lauren Knowles, Vice President Operations

Lauren KnowlesComing up on 17 years with Compass Group/ESFM, Lauren Knowles is appreciative for the mentorship she has received from her colleagues, including Division Vice President Jeff Boggs, and the opportunity to learn and grow her career.

Knowles started her career in environmental science and grew into a role leading indoor air quality management. Her EHS (environment, health & safety) background launched her into operational leadership where she has excelled, transitioning new business, securing new clients, and leading operations for an entire region.

“My new team has been wonderful to work with,” Knowles said. “I’ve enjoyed building relationships and combining all of our experiences to help form a more collaborative experience. We all bring something to the table; I have a high sense of urgency, attention to detail and ability to provide solutions and resources to resolve issues.”

Three qualities of leadership she admires and strives to model are empathy, authenticity and resilience.

“When it comes to resilience, my dad always taught me to see challenges as temporary, this feeling that any struggle can be overcome with a little bit of determination and perseverance.”