Title: Human Resources Manager, formerly with bric Housing
Joined AHI: June 2018
Years in housing: 5
Can you tell us about a current project or activity?
“One of the things that my most recent role concentrated on was workplace health and safety. We worked with an advisor from Workplace Health and Safety Queensland and developed a framework. bric also recently completed a major overhaul of their policies and procedures.”
What made you choose a housing career?
“I actually fell into it accidentally. I didn’t really even know companies like bric or similar existed. When you apply for a HR manager role, sometimes you apply for the role and not always for the organisation. I had worked in government and I liked the idea of not-for-profit, and the role with bric definitely opened my eyes to the housing sector.”
What are you particularly proud of having accomplished?
“I like giving managers support so they’re confident in managing their staff and getting the best out of them. I’m quite proud of doing that – being able to see them support one another.”
What motivates or inspires you in your career?
“People. I’m a real people person, I guess, and having that ability to be comfortable and be good with people allows me to be in the roles that I’ve had. I think that’s one thing that really drives me – seeing people succeed and helping them, being part of that process is really rewarding.”
What attributes make a great housing or advocacy worker?
“There are a few things. I’d say drive, tenacity, persistence and compassion – they are some of the qualities that make a successful housing worker. You don’t go into this particular industry for the money. You come into it because you want to help people and you stay in it for the same reasons – to be able to see a change in a client for the better or to be able to house that client.”
“I think what also makes a good housing worker is being able to know your limits. It’s very much a catch 22 situation – you have such giving staff but they sometimes forget to do the same for themselves. When you know ‘these are my limits’, I think that goes a long way to giving you focus. We deal with the most vulnerable clients. We often have very, very high need clients and it can weigh you down, so you have to know when to step back. But that, I know, can be very hard.”
What are the biggest challenges facing housing professionals today?
“Time. Also, keeping up with the ever-changing expectations, and ever-evolving rules and regulations, of governing bodies. Trying to do that – as well as trying to be innovative, motivated and ensuring better practice – can be overwhelming.”
“The mental health of housing workers is a big challenge too. Working in not-for-profit, like I mentioned, can be rewarding. You do get those good news stories and those feel-good stories every now and again that reignite the fire in the belly of our staff and help them keep going but, other times, it can be really, really hard. I was speaking to some people recently at a workshop and they were saying that mental illness – or ensuring you’re, at least, looking after yourself – can be a challenge in this industry.”
What do you believe are the future directions for the housing profession?
“Innovation, and trying to think of effective ways of doing things differently. Taking a step back, and reassessing what we are focusing on, and what we want to focus on, and what really works well.”
“Working together, making plans for working together with other organisations and bringing back the community feel to the sector. I think that gets lost when you’re trying to meet targets and ensure reports are done on time, etc. So it’s all about trying to keep the focus on collaboration and community.”
What do you hope to achieve from your AHI membership?
“For me, I’m trying to look for great linkages. I’m looking at opportunities to upskill staff and the ability for staff to be able to link into this international, professional forum. This industry has great people in it and getting the opportunity to be recognised in such a professional way, I think, is a benefit.”
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