Ever since I started as a young graduate in housing (I’m talking 1990s), we’ve been having the same conversation about how we empower the next generation of leaders in housing. As a black woman myself, I’ve watched colleagues struggle their way up the career ladder, facing obstacles that my white allies could not even begin to understand. We have to turn this tide.
As visible senior executives in the prime of our careers, the question we should be asking ourselves is:
“What can we do to foster and develop the next generation of leaders in housing?”
If we are to change the nature of our leadership structures, we have to take a good look at the cultures we build in these organisations and assess whether they actually do celebrate diversity and inclusion. For the most part, I’d argue that they don’t.
The common narrative is that underrepresented people need to be ‘fixed’ or ‘developed’ if they are to be successful at the very top. This is simply not true. It’s a mindset that pervades our past and one that we need to remove as quickly as possible. With new people comes fresh ideas and different perspectives on what leadership means. If we can leverage this, it makes for a much stronger industry and one where anyone can become a leader if they put the work in.
The way we do this is by intentionally working to improve the corporate culture around the industry, help to support those who can become role models and mentors in the future, and change the dialogue surrounding what it means to put in place leadership succession plans. If we can look broadly at the issue and work together, we can make progress. But if we stand back and wait for things to happen – we’re going to be disappointed.
This is something that we’re very passionate about at Connex Leadership Networks and that’s why we’re very excited to be hosting a roundtable discussion to tackle exactly this point. Join us and our panel of esteemed speakers to discuss the importance of role models, mentors, and the breaking of stereotypes as we seek to make the leadership structures in our organisations more inclusive and representative of the people they serve.
On the panel, we’re excited to hear from some very wise and thoughtful speakers:
- Pam Dusu – Senior Project Development Lawyer at Globeleq
- Olu Olanrewaju – Chair of Leadership 2025
- Kate Philpot – Senior Director of Global Sales Enablement at Getty Images
- Tracie Downie – Executive Director of Housing Management at Homes for Haringey
Come join us to participate in this crucial discussion and share your insights as to how we can best foster and development those young leaders who have never had the opportunity to have their voices heard. It’s time to change the direction of this industry and it starts with you and with me.