I have an MBA and the professional qualification, FCIH. I know housing, having worked in the sector for almost 30 years.
I know leadership, having been a chief executive of a small, but growing housing association in West London for over 15 years and before that as a director of housing.
We have almost 1300 homes, have a diverse development programme and good housing management performance.
I know many leaders across the sector and chair the group of 14 BME Landlords in London. As a board member of a for-profit registered provider I also know the private sector.
Many colleagues like me from BME backgrounds, all of whom are dedicated to our sector, would make great leaders either of BME Associations or be senior managers in mainstream Associations.
But I don’t know many who are. And I don’t know why not.
This was the question I and a small steering group sought to answer.
We acknowledged that within our sector, as within any other sector, there are some written and unwritten rules for entry to the most senior tiers of leadership.
You might be groomed for leadership; selected because you are known to those who are doing the selecting; know how to operate effectively in a Board room; understand the politics and style of leadership that will attract interest; or might be visible in a positive way.
If you don’t know those rules, our conclusion was that we’ll continue with the poor representation of senior managers from BME backgrounds within our sector.
So we’ve spent the last 9 months pulling together an intensive leadership programme that will draw on both the strategic learning that Roffey Park Business school offer to leaders across all sectors and to tailor it with specific learning about our sector and supplemented with a great list of coaches and mentors, who like me believe there is a problem and want to do something about it.
If this programme had been around 10 years ago, I would have jumped at it. For our sector, it is specific, tailored and relevant.
Probably more relevant than the MBA, which was interesting and useful, but not nearly as directly focused on our sector as this programme is.
I hope that many of my colleagues and the next generation of leaders will step up to take part in the programme, supported in their ambitions by their employers.
Our ambition is to have a pool of talented leaders in our sector from BME backgrounds, recognised for their leadership qualities and pushing for opportunities to be leaders across of our sector.
Our sector’s challenge is to respond positively to this ambition.
To find out more details about the programme, please click here.