Interview with Dianna Steinbach

20161010SIMC_770x960_black&whiteAs we know Interclean 2018, a leading cleaning show, is coming up. So let’s talk to the representative of ISSA, the largest cleaning association in the world. Dianna Steinbach, Vice President of International Services at ISSA

Dianna, as we know you have already been working for ISSA for more than 15 years.  It is a very impressive figure and so long period working in such a large organization. What’s really changed during these years to your mind?

While I have worked for ISSA for more than 15 years, I have been in the cleaning industry for more than 20 years. The industry has become quite innovative since I first joined it in the mid 90s. It is truly exciting to see the progress we have made in many parts of the world and niche segments of the industry. However, what is even more exciting is that we have so much more opportunity to advance the industry, to increase public health protection and to change the way the world views cleaning.

One of the best parts of my job is to meet so many industry professionals in cleaning companies, distribution firms or manufacturing organisations. There are so many people trying new ways to solve new and ongoing challenges, and, as their global association, we get to share their ideas with peers locally and in other countries to help speed up the pace of advancement.

At the same time, we have a growing fight to overcome customer misperception of cleaning. Too many purchasers of cleaning services still only see it as a cost to be minimized instead of as an investment in occupant health and protection of their built environment. But I do see progress being made by ISSA members to change perceptions through better articulated value.

Now you hold the position of ISSA Vice President of International Services. Please, introduce our readers to your job. What are your responsibilities?

I support ISSA’s global strategy to offer more of our support, services and events at a local level around the world. Specifically, my responsibility is for ISSA’s services in all countries and continents outside of the Americas. I work closely our partners in many regions of the world, oversee our international teams and develop strategic initiatives to grow our members support in those regions.

Dianna, why did you choose cleaning industry and how it happened that you started working for ISSA?

I started working in the cleaning industry as an editor for a US-based publisher of cleaning industry magazines. After amassing a knowledge of the market, I moved to consulting in the industry and ISSA was one of my clients. As ISSA continued to grow and expand its programs and needs, they asked me to join as a full-time employee. I was so excited by the new advancements ISSA was making that I happily said yet and have enjoyed my work here ever since then.

Please, share your opinion with us. What target companies should become members of the Association?

ISSA is a full-service global association, so it has resources for cleaning companies, in-house cleaning department leaders, distributors, manufacturers and business who service these types of organisations. Our membership is roughly distributed with one third of the membership as cleaning service providers, one third in distribution and one third in manufacturing. There also are a growing number of countries where we have increased our offering of more specific or localized benefits in the last few years. The best way to identify if ISSA is a good fit is to contact the EMEA office, based in Germany, to explain your specific business goals and to see if we offer anything that fits those needs.

Once in one of Cleaning Matters publications you’ve expressed an idea that Industry 4.0 will play a big role in cleaning industry.  Can you please share this idea with INTERNEWX?

I am convinced that the new data available through Internet of Things, mobile accessibility, smart building technology and interactive machines can be the answer to gaining back time. The time that has been whittled away by the unfortunate race to “do more with less.” Now, we can clean smarter in a way that can better utilize people’s time and better meet customers’ rising expectations. Not everyone will have robots cleaning in their buildings. They don’t need to. But even small data advances can help make huge productivity gains that mean we can better protect public health, increase worker safety and better reward the hard working professionals in our industry.

It should not go unmentioned that 2017 was a very eventful year for ISSA! Among them we can mention the following events: Partnership Agreement between ISSA, CleantexPulire and E-2 Publications; ISSA and SCRIA merger; the first ISSA Cleaning & Hygiene Expo was held in Australia, ISSA officially merged with IEHA (International Executive Housekeepers Association), and also ISSA and RAI restructuration. What events were the most essential on your mind? What was there influence on ISSA?

These all were significant events, and we actually had about 14 different mergers or partnerships come to ISSA over the last 2 years. What is eye-opening is that all of these groups were looking to band together to do greater things than any one of us could have done alone. And they come from a variety of niches and geographic regions. They are a mix of member groups, events, education providers and charitable organisations.

Cleaning industry leaders have begun to recognise that the largely localised and fragmented nature of associations and industry events no longer fits today’s demanding business model. So they are willing to work together to accomplish much more. And we are moving our industry forward faster because of this collaboration.

What benefits ISSA gets from amalgamation with IEHA?

IEHA is a wonderful group of in-house professionals leading cleaning departments across all different types of facilities, from hospitals to hotels and schools to public or government facilities. Their expertise across all segments is very useful to understanding the inner workings of cleaning operations.

What impact has RAI-ISSA relations transformation on ISSA? What changes have you already noticed?

ISSA and RAI chose to restructure our relationship earlier this year and it has not had much of an impact on either organisation, because we still support one another and ISSA members still gain the same discounts that they did before. The only difference is the ownership of our respective shows and the names of them. ISSA continues to move forward with the same global strategy we always have had, and the adjustment to our exhibition brand hasn’t impacted that.

Dianna, what do you think was a major achievement 2017 for ISSA EMEA?

We have launched a new global digital idea exchange for our members, ISSA Engage, which shares members stories of innovative ideas from multiple continents. We also expanded our European benefits to the Nordic region and Iberia, as well as our first Executive Summit in South Africa and new education and certification in the Middle East. We still are a small staff, but we are growing to try to continue the pace of benefit expansion to more countries. The best way we can do that is through collaboration with local associations.

What are your plans concerning ISSA EMEA for 2018 and next 2-3 years?

We expanded our member networking events from 4 in 2016 to 8 in 2017, and we will have 14 of them in 2018. It is one of our fastest growing and most popular benefits. Some members even will travel to other countries just to attend these events. It is a different mix every time and we have been thrilled with the results. But in 2017 we also launched ISSA education in Europe for the first time and added new market data reports.

Last spring the first and the only ISSA Cleaning & Hygiene Expo was held in Australia! It is great news for cleaning industry.  Next trade show is going to be held in August 2018 in Sydney. What do you expect from the coming show? How many visitors and exhibitors do you expect this year?

We were thrilled with the reaction we received at our first Expo in Australia last year. The local companies were so excited by the new energy breathed into the market, that they asked us to step up the game and go to the newly renovated exhibition centre in Sydney this year. We also have added a restoration and specialty cleaning wing, due to that side of the industry merging into ISSA late last year. We also will co-locate with the Waste Expo this year for the first time and look forward to the synergies there. We already are nearly sold out of exhibition space with 4 months to go, and have a strong educational programme coming together. We look forward to keeping the momentum going. That’s why the show’s theme is “It’s time to Shine.” It’s the industry’s time to come together and be proud of what it has become and the potential that is yet to be tapped.

As we know Interclean trade show will be held on 15-18 May 2018 in Amsterdam. What part ISSA is going to play in this show? What benefits will ISSA offer to members and exhibitors?

ISSA will be participating at the exhibition. We also will be hosting the ISSA World Association Meeting during the week, which brings together industry leaders from associations and training organisations from around the globe. And we will be hosting two of our certificate workshops: Accredited Auditing Professional and Estimating Made Easy, for those who want to learn more about how to conduct quality audits or workload cleaning services. We welcome people to stop by ISSA stand 06.200 to learn more about ISSA’s growing support and to consider becoming members.

Dianna, you are so actively involved in Industry The ISSA Hygiea Network. Can you please tell us more about this Forum? What topics do you discuss? How often is it held? Who can visit the Forum?

The Hygiea Network was created as a way to bring women in the industry together to share their stories, advice and ideas. The Council which leads this subcategory of ISSA members has put on some great educational sessions and honoured fabulous female and male leaders in our industry, as well as provided some continuing education scholarships for rising starts in our industry. Rosie Rangel, our Vice President of Industry Outreach leads our staff efforts in this area and she will be at the ISSA stand in Amsterdam if anyone is interested to learn more from her.

As far as we understand your schedule is too busy. What about leisure? How do you like to spend your leisure time?

I enjoy knitting, jogging, yoga and spending time with my family. We moved to Germany from the US three years ago and like to explore our local area as well as travel to other parts of Europe when we get a chance.

In conclusion please describe your special recipe for success. What is your success formula? Please, give advice to those who want to develop and improve business in cleaning industry.

Listen and observe on a regular basis, so you don’t miss the gems that are right there waiting to be found. Invest in your people and make sure they now you are supporting them. Let them take chances and explore new ideas. Your faith in them will pay dividends through their hard work and dedication.

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