Home    Arcadis    Insight

Arcadis Debbie Francis awarded OBE raising womens profile in rail

Arcadis' Debbie Francis awarded OBE raising women's profile in rail

 January 05, 2021

Debbie Francis, City Executive for the North at Arcadis, has been awarded an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) medal in Her Majesty the Queen’s New Year Honours List. 

The award recognises Debbie’s contribution to raising the profile of women in rail over the last decade. 

“Receiving the OBE is a fantastic honour and I feel overwhelmed. I’m privileged to be in a position where I can continue to make a valuable contribution to raising the profile of women in the rail sector. I am passionate about personal development, pushing the boundaries and accepting everyone has different goals," comments Debbie.

“For me, the issue around diversity and equality all boils down to flexibility and caring about people. I firmly believe that treating people in your business with respect, and making it a great place to work, is one of the most important parts of success.”

Sitting on the Northern Powerhouse Partnership board

Debbie represents the company on the board of the Northern Powerhouse Partnership, where Arcadis is one of the founding partners supporting the need for rail investment to connect Northern cities and delivering the Government’s ‘levelling up’ agenda.

She has a career spanning finance, commercial and operations and has previously led large-scale cultural and operational change initiatives for several organisations.

Her most recent roles including Network Rail and Direct Rail Services, the freight operator.

Championing diversity and inclusion throughout her career

During her career in rail, Debbie has championed the promotion of diversity and inclusion.

Debbie has been a role model and given significant time over recent years to speaking about her experiences as well as encouraging and mentoring many individuals. She has Chaired the North West Women Rail and most importantly spearheaded changes in policies within DRS that have led to greater equality for men and women.

She has received recognition from many women across the rail industry who attribute their confidence to push forward in the industry and develop their careers to the support and inspiration from Debbie.

With a strong interest in areas of leadership and team performance, Debbie has proven experience in improving business processes and bringing together diverse teams to underpin strategic success.

Last year she was named in the Top 50 Northern Power Women List, won the 2019 North West & IOM Director of the Year for Inclusivity, and received the 'Woman with Edge' award – which recognises businesswomen who challenge the status quo - at the 2019 Women of the Year awards. 

Mark Cowlard, Chief Executive, Arcadis UK and Ireland said: “This award is well deserved and reflects Debbie’s significant contribution over her career to improving diversity. Her drive to raise the profile of women in rail has seen her champion the adoption of a more diverse and inclusive approach to the rail profession in particular and I am sure she will continue to be a role model for younger professionals, and a champion in her field for years to come.”

Work alongside award-winning women like Debbie at Arcadis

Women at Arcadis are driven by a passion and a desire to progress. They aim to deliver better housing, to revolutionize transport systems, create iconic spaces, find new solutions to complex environmental challenges. To improve quality of life.

If you have this passion and desire, find your place at Arcadis.


Find out more

Stay connected by subscribing to our monthly newsletter and following us on LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.

Disclosure: Where Women Work researches and publishes insightful evidence about how its paid member organizations support women's equality.

Share this page:

  Linkedin     Twitter     Instagram     Facebook     Press release 

Join our women's careers community