(Read time 4 mins)
I properly started working in Housing exactly 20 years ago in Eastern Valley Housing. I say ‘properly’ working in Housing because before that I worked for Caerphilly CBC in Finance. So, my step from the council to a very small Housing Association (at the time) was pretty huge!
I started as Finance Manager, but the work bared no resemblance to what I had been doing before and I now had to manage a small team for the first time. But I think I did ok and I obviously fell in love with Housing as I’m still here now and still loving it!
I was a qualified CIPFA accountant and I’d never done anything other than Finance. When I started, there was a team of three of us in Finance, so as you can imagine it was a steep learning curve. The joys of working in such a small team is that you have to learn and get to do pretty much everything. The other joy of working in such a small organisation (there was only about 40 of us then!) is that you also get to know everyone. I’d like to think that I’m quite a social person and absolutely love being around and helping other people, so I loved every aspect of it. I was also going through a difficult time in my personal life, so working for such a supportive friendly organisation that just felt like your extended family, was definitely what helped me through.
My job now couldn’t be any different to how it was 20 years ago! To cut a long story short, I’ve gone through the merger to create Melin Homes, I’ve gone from Finance Manager, to Head of Finance, to Assistant Director of Business Consultancy, to Director of Innovation and Culture and I’ve gone from managing a team of three people to managing a team of 25. I don’t do any Finance anymore, so nothing has ever stood still for me, which is probably one of the reasons I have stayed here so long. Every change that has happened in my role has been for the better and to some extent been driven by my own passions and work ethic.
My current role as Director of Innovation & Culture involves managing 4 teams that continue to support the business – People & Learning, Technology, Sustainability and Communications. I’ve got fantastic Managers and Team Leaders in all these teams, so my role is to support them rather than be too involved in the day to day activities. This then releases my time to get involved and drive a lot of the more cultural and innovative activities, around Zest (Health & Wellbeing), BHeard (employee engagement), Best Companies, Business Continuity, team planning and driving digital enhancements. My biggest passion is around health, wellbeing and employee engagement, so as you can imagine, I am in my element!
There are so many different careers you can pursue within housing, from finance to IT to surveying to community support to electrician to gas engineer. The list goes on. Every single person within housing makes a difference and has a role to play. Housing Associations have such a valuable standing within the community and are respected for the contribution they make, why wouldn’t you want to be part of that?
I love my job, I love the people I work with and I love being able to make a real difference. Melin allows me to work in ways that suit me and my team and you really are empowered to make decisions that will make a positive difference.
Sharon Crockett, Director of Innovation and Culture at Melin Homes.