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A new mentoring initiative by the Australasian Housing Initiative (AHI) is giving junior members the chance to learn from their senior peers. Churches of Christ Housing Services’ Business Development Manager, Andy Denniss has embraced the chance to share his extensive knowledge of the housing industry with members who may be starting out in their career or who have recently stepped up into a managerial role. Elected as Queensland Director of the AHI in May 2020, Andy is passionate about his involvement in the new initiative.
“I’m keen for housing professionals to be recognised for their knowledge and commitment to social and community housing, and I see AHI playing a key role in recognising these skills. When the AHI Mentoring Program was launched, I was keen to be involved,” Andy said.
Andy’s mentee is Brenda Scott, Team Leader of the Housing Services Team at Wentworth Community Housing at Katoomba, in the Blue Mountains. Brenda, who has been in her role for almost two years, manages a team of five people who manage a portfolio of 600 properties.
Brenda applied to be a part of the initiative, with AHI matching her with Andy as her mentor. For Brenda, the opportunity was more than learning from the best.
“For me, the Mentoring Program presented an opportunity to network, and that was appealing,” Brenda said.
While Andy and Brenda have a formal catch up each month (on video conferencing), they also have informal meetings as needs arise. Brenda said this contact has been useful to discuss different work-related scenarios and how she might approach them. Together, they have discussed goals, outcomes and the tactics and timelines, as well as what success looks like for her. Brenda now has short and long-term plans to achieve this success and is working towards achieving a long-term career vision focused on influencing effective change in the housing sector and identifying opportunities to collaborate with other Community Housing providers.
So far, Brenda is seeing the value of taking part in the program and having someone to talk things through with.
“I have been genuinely surprised as to how valuable I am finding the program. I can see how it’s changed my approach to new situations and tasks. There are also clear advantages to having a mentor to talk with. I can be more open about what we discuss. All-in-all, it’s been a uniquely positive opportunity for me. I’d recommend it to anyone.”
For Andy, the sentiment is the same.
“We can get caught up in the pace of our day-to-day work but it’s important to take time out to think about what we want from our housing careers: where are we going professionally and what steps we need to take to get there? Mentoring presents an opportunity to do that. It all leads to better outcomes for our clients and our teams,” Andy said.
AHI Mentoring Program - As Australia’s leading professional association of people working and volunteering in the social housing industry in Australia and New Zealand, the AHI presents members with a range of learning opportunities. The AHI Mentoring Program, launched in June 2020, facilitates mentoring relationships, allowing more experienced members to share advice, knowledge and experiences with members who are less experienced.
Visit the Australian Housing Institute website for further details on the AHI Mentoring Program and other housing related training opportunities.