Karen M.

Chief executive
Happy to mentor
Happy to be contacted

About me

Karen M.
Politics with economic and social history
United Kingdom

My employment

Chief executive
Southway housing trust
United Kingdom
Charity and voluntary sector
Medium-size business (50-249 employees)

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A day in the life of a Chief executive in the United Kingdom

Our values are about kindness, commitment and being successful together.

Briefly describe the organisation you work for

I work for a social housing provider. We are community based and have social objectives at our core.

What do you do?

Run the organisation, reporting to the Board of management.

Reflecting upon your past employment and education, what led you to your current career choice?

Wanted to make a difference and work with people. Learnt about early days of housing for workers as a public health issue and got interested in the role of government in providing decent homes.

Is your current job sector different from what you thought you would enter when you graduated?

Wanted to work in local government which I did for many years until social housing was gradually transferred to housing associations, who actually do a much better job!

Describe your most memorable day at work

Completing our first new build homes in 2012. 14 flats for affordable rent above a new community centre, youth zone, and library.

Are there any challenges associated with your job?

Varied. Busy. Challenging to balance different priorities. Government policy sometimes limits our ambitions. Reducing homelessness. Providing homes for older people.

What’s your work environment and culture like?

Our Values are about kindness, commitment and being successful together. We trust our staff to do the right thing. People work in social housing because they care about others.

What extracurricular activities did you undertake at university and what transferable skills did you develop through these?

Community decorating. Saw how people sometimes need support, and very much value it.

What would you like to do next with your career?

I want to make sure Southway is making a big contribution to providing much needed affordable homes for people who need them. And that we protect our ethos and values, and keep focused on our communities.

What top tips do you have for York students preparing for today’s job market and life after graduation?

Think about what is meaningful and important to you in life. Make decisions and keep trying if you don’t get what you want first time round. Work hard. Be genuine.

What topics from students are you happy to answer questions on?

Applying for jobs. Working in the housing and public sectors. How to Manage and motivate staff and lead an organisation. Women in the world of work.

Is there anything else you’d like to tell us?

I loved my time at York and feel it gave me the skills and interests I needed to choose and then find a fulfilling career. I am very happy to share my experiences with people taking that journey today.

Next steps...

If you like the look of Karen’s profile, the next steps are down to you! You can send Karen a message to find out more about their career journey. If you feel you would benefit from more in-depth conversations, ask Karen to be your mentor.

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