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Equal Housing - A Conversation with Chantelle Miller

With the Equal Housing event on the horizon, the third instalment of our campaign focuses on Chantelle Miller to discuss how got into Social Housing and her views on diversity. Chantelle was a NHF Future Leaders conference guest speaker 2018, an active CIH East Midlands member champion. Chantelle will also be an advisory board member for the NHF Future leaders Conference 2019 and on the panel at the Equal Housing event in February.

BF: Why did you choose to work in social housing?

CM: "I graduated in 2004 and started a career in Banking. I quickly realised that banking wasn't a good fit for me and researched other career options. I came across an organisation called PATRA. At the time PATRA were offering two-year placements with various housing organisations and the local authority. I was successful in my application to access the trainee scheme and chose a placement with Tuntum housing. I chose Tuntum because they had a clear social purpose and the organisations values aligned with my own. I wanted to make a difference and help bring about positive change within the most deprived communities throughout the UK and after 10 years working in the sector, ‘making a difference’ is what continues to motivate me."

BF: What has been your biggest achievement since joining the sector?

CM: "My biggest achievement since joining the sector is speaking at the NHF Future Leaders Conference in September 2018. I was pleased to share my experience of leadership, in particular, some of the steps I have taken to develop my leadership skills and the impact I've had within my organisation despite not being in a senior management position. I offered tips on how to make the most of opportunities inside and outside of the sector to lead and develop, as well as how to remain resilient during times of challenge. Over the past year, I have made a conscious effort to develop my network and raise my profile through social media platforms such as Twitter and LinkedIn. The conference producer came across a blog I had written for the CIH and invited me to deliver a session on leadership."

BF: I noticed that following the event a number of people were making career pledges, did you make one and what was yours?

CM: "Yes I did, mine was to move into a senior management position and to continue to support, coach and empower my colleagues and others to reach their full potential."

BF: After delivering the session at NHF Future Leaders Conference, what advice would you give to your peers?

CM: "Take ownership of your own training and development. Put yourself forward for courses or events that will aid your own personal development as well as the organisation. Be willing to learn and apply what you learn to the day job. Do not be afraid to show your ambition to your line manager and don’t lose sight of why you joined the sector. Use your ‘purpose' or 'why’ to drive every decision you make. If you do this, you are likely to make a positive impact."

BF: What challenges have you faced since joining the sector?

CM: "I have developed a range of skills and experience at Tuntum Housing over the course of my career, but even with this being the case, I have found the limited representation of BME female senior professionals within the sector a challenge. It is important that young BME professionals joining the sector can see that they are represented at senior levels both within and outside of their own organisation. It is also important that we develop and mentor these professionals to ensure that representation at this level is embedded."

BF: As an individual who is aspiring to get into senior management, do the figures representing a lack of BME leaders concern you?

CM: "The current figures are a reminder that we still have a lot of work to do to ensure that there is equal representation at senior levels within the sector. Whilst I do not allow the figures to affect my drive, commitment and ambition within the sector, it is a harsh reminder that the inequality still exists."

Chantelle's Twitter

Check out our previous installments of the Equal Housing blog series:

Diversity in Housing Volume I with Aileen Evans: Link

Diversity in Housing Volume II with Faisal Butt: Link

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