Why I Became a Housing Association Board Director


In November 2015 I joined the board of Yorkshire Coast Homes as an unpaid director. For those in the know this was a 2003 LSVT housing association. For those who aren’t that means “Large Scale Voluntary Transfer”. Then in plain english the Local Authority, in agreement with tenants, transferred ownership of its housing stock to Yorkshire Coast Homes. (I thought IT had an abundance of acronyms just wait till you join the housing sector).

I have absolutely no previous experience of working in housing. In fact before I joined I was not even aware the sector was so large and well established.

When I talk to fellow board members and those from other housing associations (there are lots of housing related events that mean interaction with board members from other associations) there are various reasons why they joined the board they sit on. Often they talk about social good and giving back to the community. I am not saying these reasons are invalid, they are truly worthy, just they were not my primary reasons for joining the board.

When we do things to help others but get nothing in return this is often referred to as a selfless act. But these acts often make us feel better about ourselves and make us happy. If there is one thing I want in anyones life, including my own, is to be happy.

I am a pragmatic person and I deal in facts and realities. The reality was that I had run my own micro business for the last 13 years. This, combined with my previous corporate career, has given me a broad range of knowledge and skills. I had become restless as my company was not giving me the full opportunity to develop myself, I was becoming unhappy with my personal progress. As I grow older (38 years young at present) I want to expand my opportunities and I have been investigating non-executive roles with other companies and organisations. But to be successful in such pursuits I needed to expand my network, my knowledge and my experience.

I offered my skills and expertise to Yorkshire Coast Homes and in return I wanted training and experience in board level strategy and governance. I committed to taking any training that was required to continue my personal development and to improve my contribution to the board.

I am extremely grateful to Yorkshire Coast Homes and the board for giving me the opportunity to take part in shaping its future while developing my own skills and knowledge.

If like me you are a micro business owner struggling to get a hold in larger organisations or just seek greater personal development I highly recommend considering a board position with a local housing association. They are not hard to find. Just a quick internet search will reveal vacancies countrywide.

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