“I’ve been working under some incredible leaders who have given me time and space to learn on my own.” Staff in the Spotlight with Eoghan Cregan
July 18, 2023
“I’ve been working under some incredible leaders who have given me time and space to learn on my own. In this organisation, you’re not afraid to make mistakes, everyone has done it at some point, housing is not an easy industry to work in.” – Staff in the Spotlight with Eoghan Cregan, Neighbourhood Specialist
"I started on a graduate programme with For Purpose but have got to the end of it. Now it’s time to play with the big guns! I’ve been working under some incredible leaders who have given me time and also space to learn on my own. In this organisation, you’re not afraid to make mistakes, everyone has done it at some point, housing is not an easy industry to work in. Every day is a learning curve.
I went to NCAD, I’ve always had an interest in design. I was interested in product design, my dad is handy like that so we’d always be making things together. I studied product design in college, came out with a good degree show and good grades. It was a shock to the system coming out of NCAD, it’s great for networking but only the top 5% of graduates really make it. As a designer you need to have a lot of capital behind to set up your own workshop or pay into another. You’re shouldering the costs of a lot of materials. When I graduated, I went into hospitality, and then moved into a management position, which was great because I got to develop my own leadership skills. I was in hospitality for about three years. I wasn’t able for it, the late hours, being in town late at night. Then Covid came along and gave me an opportunity. I was able to stay at home, was able to do a masters online in Sustainable Development with TU Dublin.
I was never a great student, I’d always get distracted but during Covid it was great, there was nothing else to do and I made use of the time. It was good. My thesis was on the impact of professional Irish football clubs on their respective communities so I did case studies on Pats, Bohs, Inchicore, and Cabra. A lot of what I looked into was housing, how the clubs support social housing and how there’s been conflict between the clubs and social housing developments. I came out with an interest in housing. I was frightened nothing would come of my degree, but I applied for the Housing Trainee role. I didn’t really know much about the For Purpose graduate programme. Rhonda Wynne, who ran the programme, really supported me and helped me shape my career. She’s a great champion of young professionals, much like Sharon Hughes from The Wheel’s Leadership Academy. Sharon gave me the opportunity to speak at The Wheel Summit on a panel 'Early Career Professionals: Unifying Ambition and Action'. It was a fantastic opportunity and I got to meet many leaders in the sector. My feeling is that across the Third Sector people talk to you like you know your stuff as well, younger people’s ideas are really valued because they’re new.
Starting off here in CHI, I came in and was shadowing Eimear Kiernan mainly. She took me under her wing. When I came in it was a busy time of the year when we do rent assessments, so I was looking at excel sheets and information I had wrap my head around. I had to understand what voids were and what arrears rates were; it was all new to me. It was great to be able to learn and Eimear was great because she allowed me to learn at my own pace, at the same time giving me support if I needed it. She understood that I didn’t know much about the industry. After three months they gave me my own patch, Weavers Woods, it’s 33 homes; two apartment blocks and 17 three bed houses. I’ve been getting more involved in that estate, it’s my pride and joy. I’ve been doing well with the arrears too, I’ve decreased the arrears by 30%. When you use empathy, and you try and understand where people are coming from it makes the relationship more holistic and you can deal with issues more holistically.
Since the Housing Services restructure, I have gotten this new role as Neighbourhood Specialist which is wanted from the start because it’s probably the broadest role in terms of tasks and responsibilities. For me starting off in my career, it was the best choice because I get to learn the most. Later down the line I wouldn’t mind doing income or ASB, but for now I want to be doing the core job and doing the allocations, being the boots on the ground, that’s the bricks and mortar of the whole industry.
I’ve gotten a lot of exposure and opportunities, through the For Purpose network, my role, activity on LinkedIn and recently speaking at The Wheel Summit. A representative from the Chartered Institute of Housing got in contact with Dave Mayner to invite me to join their future’s board for young housing professionals. It mirrors what their main board does. There’s a good mix of young professionals from the UK and Ireland on it. I’m looking forward to being involved.
I’m also doing a programme through the Wheel and Boardmatch called Future Board Leaders pilot programme. They match your nonprofit interests with a corresponding board. They also provide board training."
Co-operative Housing Ireland is an Approved Housing Body (AHB) and works closely with various stakeholders in the housing sector, including Local Authorities, Government, aspiring home owners, tenants and developers, to provide high quality social-rented and home ownership co-operative homes across the country. CHY 6522 Registered Charity Number 20012182