In May this year the CIH Futures opened its doors and set out to recruit four new board members who would assist with ensuring that both CIH and the housing sector has a viable future, and reflects society as a whole.
We wanted to share their thoughts and experiences of being involved with Futures ahead of any future opportunities for young professionals to come on board.
The latest additions to the squad are Amy Laurie from Hightown HA; Catherine George from South Liverpool Homes; Eve Hughes from Alliance and Ryan Miles from Valleys to Coast.
Over to you guys!
Q. What did you know about CIH Futures prior to your appointment?
Amy: “That the focus of Futures is to generate opportunities for young professionals to gain new skills and showcase their talent. To promote the importance of CIH membership and the benefits to those who wish to progress their careers in the sector. I knew Futures as a supportive network for likeminded colleagues who are keen to expand their knowledge and come together to make a difference.”
Catherine: “I knew that they were an under 30s board, who promoted the professional benefits of becoming a CIH member. After attending The Big Conversation in Leeds and chatting with then board members, it became clear that they were genuine advocates for younger professionals, interested in creating opportunities that would encourage people to view housing as a valid, long-term career.”
Eve: “I knew that CIH Futures was a really exciting thing to be a part of — a movement of enthusiastic people who make things happen!”
Ryan: “I have a confession, until I joined the world of social media in October 2018; I didn’t know Futures existed. I suppose I’d have to echo what Catherine says. I attended The Big Conversation in London and really enjoyed a session by Adam Clark and Barry Allard about bringing your whole self to work. I put myself forward for a #Futures50 blog and from there decided to do some research and got to understand the concept behind the creation of the CIH Futures Board. I could see from the early days they had already made some big movements in the housing world — agreeing and rolling out the £60 membership for under 30s.”
Q. You’ve attended a couple of board meetings now and have already been involved in some projects, has it met your expectations?
Amy: “I wanted to join to be able to introduce new initiatives and support the delivery of projects to ensure the board achieves its aims and ambitions. Supported housing (where I work) is such a worthwhile career with a varied range of opportunities at all levels, I want others to see this. The Futures team is an extremely knowledgeable group with lots of energy and drive. It’s not all talk, it’s about having the autonomy and backing to turn ideas into reality. Although it’s early days, my experience so far has been extremely positive. I can’t wait to get more involved as opportunities expand.”
Catherine: “I’ve never been part of a board before so didn’t know what to expect. Whilst less formal than expected, everyone is determined and works hard. Everyone is professional, passionate and knowledgeable about what they do and the success that has been had so far is a testament to that! There is an emphasis on creating an atmosphere that is inclusive — your opinion is actively sought by the team, and the help is there for you when developing and implementing project ideas. Public speaking has always been a challenge for me, but I was given the opportunity to lead a Q&A session at the Housing 2019 conference as part of #Futures50 at the Fringe and knew it would be a great chance to push myself. I’m going to help lead on a sector-wide campaign called ‘Outside In’ and I’m looking forward to the challenge of putting this approach into practice.”
Eve: “I wanted to be a part of making things happen in the sector and really give young people a chance to make a difference to how housing as a career is perceived. I’m now involved with people who really care about each other and genuinely want make changes and get things done. I also wanted to be involved with an external group away from the workplace, I think once this happens that’s when creative juices really flow — not just for the board but for my job role as well. I am looking forward to the challenges to come and working with everyone, supporting their projects as well as creating my own.”
Ryan: “It’s exceeded expectations, everyone has been very welcoming and willing to help out and answer any queries I had early on. It’s obvious that the group is passionate about the housing sector and providing opportunities for younger professionals. In our sector it’s quite rare for colleagues to leave housing so opportunities can be limited — that’s why Futures is so central to the CIH membership offer. We all have different skills on the board and it’s fascinating to see how these skills complement one another. I haven’t been involved with any projects yet, I’m working on something with the support of the group and hopefully we’ll be in a position to share that in the very near future. It’s a great environment to be around and everyone has a can-do supportive attitude, there’s no negativity. I always leave our meetings on a high and end up having a really productive 2 hour train journey home!”
Q. What words would you pass on to CIH members that are thinking about putting themselves forward for the board in future?
Amy: “If you are keen to get stuck in and deliver results as opposed to just offering direction and thoughts then this is the board for you. Futures is very proactive and pro-peer achievement, being involved is extremely refreshing and worthwhile.”
Catherine: “It’s a fantastic way to make a difference and a great opportunity to develop your network and career.”
Eve: “If you want to be a part of a group of people who truly care about making a difference, this is the board for you. We are a board of young individuals who support each other to make exciting projects happen.”
Ryan “Do it. Seriously, just do it. If you are in a position to offer something to the board and more significantly understand the importance of supporting younger professionals then get involved, step out of your comfort zone and make the magic happen!”
We reckon they’ve covered everything — except one final thing…you do of course need to be a member of the Chartered Institute of Housing. We’re here for young professionals under 40, but worked hard in our early days to secure a £60 a year offer for people under 30 starting out in housing. You can join up here (but if you’re already in, don’t forget about all the epic member benefits you can access at www.cih.org).
Like the #Futures50 blog series? You can catch up with all of the blogs to date here. Or if you’re inspired by this one from our team or one of our other excellent reads from our members and would like to write one of your own? Even better! Drop us a DM on Twitter or Instagram (@CIHFutures) or an email with your pitch to firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll be in touch.