Young Leaders get ready for London semi-final
Published by Kris Jones for 24dash.com in Housing
Young Leaders get ready for London semi-final
The 10 housing professionals who made it through the public voting phase of this year's 24housing Young Leaders Award will go head-to-head in today's London semi-final.
The roundtable event will see the 10 candidates pitch 'an idea to solve the housing crisis' to each other and six judges including National Housing Federation chief executive David Orr.
Integral to securing their place in the grand final live on stage at the NHF annual conference in Birmingham in September will be their ability to articulate their own ideas while dissecting everyone else's. It should be an entertaining day.
This year's 10 young leaders are:
Title: Concierge Supervisor
Organisation: Wolverhampton Homes
Irfan has a background in security and heads a team of 10 officers responsible for the safety and welfare of hundreds of tenants and their homes on one of Wolverhampton’s most deprived estates. He is on the front line and, on a daily basis, makes decisions which affect the lives of hundreds of people. In one case he prevented a potentially fatal chip pan fire. After extinguishing the blaze, he demonstrated leadership by making sure the vulnerable tenant was fed and looked after, before arranging follow-up visits by social services. Irfan has a “natural talent for being aware of what’s happening around him”. He has uncovered a cannabis factory; taken charge of dealing with a hoarder; and identified housing fraud.
Title: Distribution and Logistics Manager
Organisation: Herefordshire Housing Ltd
Richard has led his team to secure £55,000 of savings by reviewing and reprioritising new management systems within HH’s distribution centre. “He knows that his vision is to provide high quality services to our customers; he understands how his actions impact upon the business and how his teams support achievement of corporate aims. Colleagues are able to identify with this vision due to his inclusive approach.” He secured HH’s first major commercial contract with BMW Mini, which has resulted in securing additional income for the business whilst also maintaining the quality of core housing services to existing customers. “He assembles effective teams of experienced and capable individuals to complement his own abilities. He empowers and trusts his teams to understand issues, creating solutions and acting on them.”
Title: Operations Manager
Organisation: Sovereign Housing Association
Jesse has been a “revelation” since joining Sovereign in April last year. Building on his grass roots in contracting he has made an “instant impact” as operations manager, responsible for management of repairs and maintenance on 3,500 properties. Inheriting a disengaged team following a recent transformation, he has turned his group of 17 into a high performing unit. This has been achieved through “sensitive coaching, mentoring and the real ability to lead from the front, with a focus on performance”. His “excellent organisational skills complement his desire to champion the delivery of an effective customer focused repairs service”. Always acting with utmost professionalism, Jesse clearly understands the “bigger picture” and uses a range of methods to ensure his team consistently achieves aims and objectives.
Title: Assistant Youth Development Co-ordinator
Isabel works on a number of projects with young people across London, helping them to take the lead when tackling issues that negatively affect their schools, communities and their day to day lives. These include the award-winning ‘Oii My Size’, a youth-led web campaign demonstrating the right and wrong ways for boys to talk to girls. Isabel has mentored the three young women behind the campaign, offering support and guidance as they led the development and promotion of their website and app in workshops, school assemblies and presentations to over 4,000 young Londoners. She also helped launch and promote the anti-knife campaign ‘Your Choice, Your Future’, now an augmented reality app and website, and took the initiative in getting the campaign poster displayed on billboards across London.
Title: Client Service Manager
Organisation: Home Group
Helen has been a client service manager for two years at one of Home Group’s refuges for women and children fleeing domestic violence. It is her first management role. She is fully accountable for the performance of her service and in one month turned around her voids from 22.8% to 1.9%. This remains a stable figure now. The team she manages provides support for the clients and their children at the refuge and she supports them to deal with the abuse the clients disclose to them. She “demonstrates her caring side daily” whilst managing a complex service, meeting KPIs and keeping to budget. She “puts her team first and supports them with the complex safeguarding issues they face daily”.
Title: Resident Involvement Of¬ cer
Organisation: Brent Housing Partnership
Chisa started with BHP as a temporary repairs officer in November 2008 and worked “extremely hard”. In the last few months she applied for and was successful for a secondment to the post of resident involvement officer. In order for further progression and career development, Chisa also took part in a management training programme run by BHP. As repairs manager, she has integrated customer care into the working practice of all staff in the team through a customer-first approach; allocated resources to reflect customer and corporate priorities; ensured that housing management contractors working in the area comply with customer care policies and practices; investigated complaints about service provision within the team; addressed underlying problems and shared learning as necessary throughout the area and with the head of responsive repairs leadership.
Title: Volunteer Coordinator
Organisation: Daventry and District Housing
Through her “passionate, engaging personality”, Jo has single-handedly built successful relationships with tenants and partner organisations. Her ability to collaborate with people on all levels has meant that in just one year she has constructed a fully functioning volunteer project involving two housing associations and more than 60 volunteers. During this time, more than 1,800 hours of voluntary work have been completed. Fundamentally, Jo’s personality “exudes leadership”. “Putting customers at the heart of everything she does, she ensures that her own progression is mirrored by that of her volunteers.” This is demonstrated through her work with one tenant who overcame alcohol abuse and turned their life around to become a DDH volunteer and get back into education.
Title: Connect Team Leader
Organisation: New Charter Housing Trust group
Starting her career as a contact centre advisor, Roxanne has “evolved seamlessly into an engaging and committed manager”. In response to a call, Roxanne quickly sourced a replacement pendant alarm for a vulnerable customer. She then went on to bring together all of the teams involved to ensure that this pendant is now carried as standard by the out of hours team. She leads a team which has transformed the customer experience for people contacting New Charter out of hours, often in distressing or difficult circumstances. In June 2012 (externally contracted service) 30% of calls were answered; the current performance is 93%. Her staff show some of the highest levels of engagement across the company.
Title: Director of Notting Hill Home Ownership
Organisation: Notting Hill Housing
Katie is six months into her current role which involved a big step up: taking responsibility for Notting Hill’s homeownership business with a turnover of £100 million and 90 staff. Everyone around her has been “amazed at how quickly she has got up to speed in the role”. She has exhibited a range of attributes that might be expected in a leader with much more experience, to successfully lead one of Notting Hill’s core businesses through a very busy period of growth. “Katie has been able to articulate a vision for NHHO in the context of London’s housing crisis and combine this with practical planning to deliver more affordable housing, continuously improve services and generate viable profit margins.
Title: Development Finance Project Analyst
Organisation: Sanctuary Group
Robin joined Sanctuary through its graduate trainee programme and now works in the property department, where he is facilitating the commercial modelling of Sanctuary’s 2015-18 affordable homes programme. He has developed “considerable expertise” in communicating change to internal and external stakeholders to ensure support and buy-in on key projects. This includes responsibility on pre and post-acquisition integration projects of new businesses into Sanctuary within demanding timescales, including a community investment company in Chester. Robin is a graduate mentor, a careers fair speaker and presents Sanctuary’s group business plan to new staff as part of induction programmes. He gives up his own time to support younger staff and residents, and has personally organised several community sports days to develop the confidence of young homeless people in Sanctuary’s Foyers.