IFMA Greater Phoenix Chapter members at Facility Fusion in San Francisco were (left to right) Ted Ritter, Monisa “MJ” Manju Nagarajan Gomathi, Kristy Schlesselman, and Kathleen Severson.

     TEMPE, ARIZ. (April 26, 2023) ‒ Built environment industry professionals traveled to San Francisco earlier this month to participate in the International Facility Management Association’s (IFMA) Facility Fusion Conference & Expo. Participants included members of the IFMA Greater Phoenix Chapter.

The event provided an opportunity for participants to reconnect with their colleagues from all over the globe and to exchange best practices, ideas, and more. The broad range of professionals gave participants the opportunity to be back in collaborative spaces that extend beyond the computer screen. IFMA and other organizations like it rely on the collective efforts of individuals to provide a valuable member experience that gives back to their professional journey.

“People join IFMA for two reasons – to learn and to network,” said Kate North, Global Chair of the WE Community to open the conference.

Throughout the week, Facility Fusion participants were engaged with one another on a level that has not been experienced in quite some time. Over the past three years many businesses and organizations have asked themselves:

“What will the commercial space look like following the effects of COVID?”

As the third year of the pandemic ends, professionals are beginning to see what the new normal consists of. With much of the workforce opting for remote or hybrid work (despite the subtle urgency from executives and upper management to return to office) the primary use, maintenance, and operating logistics of commercial space is still reliant on the execution of strategic care.

Within this pivoting industry, building operators and facility managers are in desperate need of solutions that not only satisfy the new demands of the decade, but also budget restrictions, sustainability initiatives, and effective technology.

Following educational sessions and discussion panels, attendees engaged with each other.

“Many of those mini discussions led to a meal filled with laughter and inspiration as the connections grew in quantity and strength,” said Kristy Schlesselman, Social Media Manager, Lead Management Institute, and Co-Chair, PR & Marketing Committee of IFMA Phoenix Chapter. “It is the meaningful relationships that drive most contributions. The continuation of networking groups and conferences is instrumental in the evolution of what comes from these contributions.”

This year, IFMA chapter leaders had endless takeaways from memory enhancement techniques to strategic practices to manage and drive membership, sponsorships, and opportunities.

The IFMA Greater Phoenix Chapter leaders, Kathleen Severson (Chapter Administrator), Monisa “MJ” Manju Nagarajan Gomathi (VP of Professional Development), Ted Ritter (IFMA Fellow), and Schlesselman, presented at the conference, sharing their best practice chapter secrets, and also learned fresh ideas to help elevate the chapter.

The most common pain point shared between the majority of IFMA segments was volunteerism while the industry is facing a labor shortage. Conferences like this one allow individuals facing the same challenges to bring varying perspectives that result in the solutions needed for today’s challenges.


Members of the IFMA Greater Phoenix Chapter, along with other industry professionals, participated in “Facilithon,” a facilities management-based skills competition. The competition was part of the Arizona Skills USA State Championship April 11-12. The event brought together high school-aged students from throughout Arizona to compete in varying trades competitions. Students competed in everything from crime scene forensics to plumbing, electrical, masonry, and many other skills.

The “Facilithon” team presented students with a written quiz, along with a scenario-based problem and accompanying presentation. Many of the solutions the students produced were well in alignment with solutions suggested by the veteran facility managers that were judging. Many of the students had no prior exposure to facilities management.


About IFMA

 Founded in 1980, IFMA is the world’s largest and most widely recognized international association for facility management professionals, supporting more than 24,000 members in 105 countries. The association’s members, represented in 134 chapters and 17 councils worldwide, manage more than 37 billion square feet of property and annually purchase more than $100 billion in products and services. IFMA certifies facility managers, conducts research, provides educational programs and produces World Workplace, the world’s largest facility management conference and exposition.

The Greater Phoenix Chapter of IFMA, formed in 1985, is one of the top association chapters in the world and winner of IFMA’s Large Chapter of the Year in 2012. It is dedicated to continuous improvement of the facility management profession by providing relevant educational and networking opportunities for its membership while supporting the community as a whole. For more information about the Phoenix chapter