*This blog was originally posted during National Careers Week on the CIH East Midlands Medium page*
I have blogged previously on what I value most about my CIH membership, as it’s National Careers Week, I have been encouraged to share some more info on how it has benefited my career development.
The most important aspect of my CIH membership in the last couple of years has been the network of housing professionals it has enabled me to develop. I am very blessed to have some wonderful housing professionals that I can call upon for guidance and to let off some steam over a drink! Whether you like it or not, it is very often true that’s it’s not what you know, it’s who you know.
I know networking can be daunting for lots of people but CIH creates friendly opportunities to meet your peers, such as mentoring, regional events and conferences with networking time. Plus housing people are all lovely so don’t be shy to say hi.
To demonstrate the benefits of a network for career development, here are some examples of how my network has helped me grow.
Everyone’s favourite Orbit director, Julian Beaney, who I met when I joined the CIH East Midlands board as a student co-optee. Julian got me involved in organising a yearly leader’s roundtable event and also the CIH Midlands awards. This got me engaged in leadership discussions and also connected me with lots of others, including Boris Worrall and Elly Hoult.
On Julian’s recommendation, I was invited to be on a CIH Manchester Fringe event with Boris, who then included me in a think tank session the following year. Having these speaking opportunities were great for developing skills and exploring topics that I wouldn’t get the chance to do in my day job
Elly and I first got to know each other when Elly was on the South West CIH board, we buddied up at a CIH conference for board members and ended up sat on the VIP table somehow. We have since made a pact to support each other as we progress in our careers and I have recently called the Hoult-line to tap into her extensive knowledge of good practice in the sector.
The queen of housing herself, Alison Inman and I met when she grilled me as part of the CIH Rising Stars process and our paths have crossed ever since at various CIH gatherings. Alison has such incredible values, passion for doing the right thing by tenants and has no fear in speaking truth to power. I challenge anyone not to be inspired by her and absorb some of her energy.
Faisal Butt, strategic housing expert and I were introduced at CIH Manchester by someone I had been speaking to on Twitter. Faisal and I meet up in Manchester every year now and now that I also work in strategic housing, is a great contact to have!
And finally, all my amazing East Midlands board members and housing colleagues in the region who still respond to my numerous emails asking for help and favours either to deal with something in the day job or to get a new idea off the ground to benefit CIH members in the region.
I wouldn’t be the housing professional I am today and in the role that I am in without the support, guidance and influence of all these lovely people. You don’t have to walk your career path alone so please stop to say hi to a few people along the way, you never know where it could take you.