A day in the life of...Kirstin Ross, Director of Operations and Development


1) What were your key roles during your years at CAN?

 I joined CAN in January 2006 as Business Manager of London Bridge – that was at the time the flagship for the Mezzanine concept of quality affordable serviced shared office space for social sector organisations.

I became Head of Business Development in 2008 with an increased focus on CAN Mezzanine replication and project management of new site developments. In 2016 I became Director of Operations and Development.


2) What was it that made you want to join the team?

The role of Business Manager was ideal, and I was interested to work for CAN, which as a charity and social enterprise, aligned with my personal social values.

3) Which were the things you enjoyed the most in these years at CAN?

The people – both in sense of the CAN team & the organisations CAN works with and those we support in delivering our social mission to maximise the impact of social organisations through premises, finance & skills. 

I always wanted a hands-on varied role and at CAN I have that and have enjoyed the opportunity to develop professionally & personally in a range of roles.


4) Which is your greatest achievement? 

Being part of CAN’s growth and the replication of the CAN Mezzanine model so that we now have 4 serviced offices, 1 managed office and we manage the BWB Charity Hub as well.

At the moment we are housing 142 organisations working in 30 sectors like Education, disability, family, health, human rights, international development and many more. In these 20 years, we helped grow about a thousand among charities and social enterprises.


5) Which has been your greatest challenge?

Greatest challenge - our plans to completely redevelop CAN Mezzanine Loman Street, which will be our most ambitious replication project to date that will double the capacity of our existing building and enable us to continue to provide long-term affordable and fit-for-purpose office space for the social organisations within our CAN Mezzanine community in Southwark.


6) What have you learnt during these years?

In operating the buildings and the delivery of Facility Management services I’ve learned that each building has its own ‘character’ and always to expect – and endeavour to prepare for - the unexpected.


7) How is your experience of being a woman and a Director in the Charity Sector?

My experience has been overall positive, and I’ve been fortunate to work with truly amazing and inspiring women and men in the sector. I think the FM and operations industry sector is still predominantly male-oriented particularly at senior management level so I’d like to encourage more women to consider careers in property management, Facility Management, and operations.


8) Statistics from the Charity Commission show that 71 % of Chairs and 68% of treasurers in the Charity sector are men: how do you feel that the gender gap is going to change in the next 3-5 years?  

The social sector arguably has a better overall gender balance than the public or commercial sectors, but I think it’s vital to continue to recruit and encourage women to become Trustees and share their valuable experience and management skills at Board level.



Category: Mezzanine