Staff in the Spotlight: Inspiring Women Leaders with Development Officer, Claire Poole

March 15, 2023

“I want to do my job as best as I can and make it easy as possible to access the information necessary for us to do our job in development. Knowing at the background that you’re helping families, children, makes a huge difference.” —Development Officer, Claire Poole

I’ve been in the role six years this April. Initially I came in to cover three months maternity leave and, in that time, I set up a system of sorts, realistically there was very little on paper. Three months maternity cover turned into six years! I had worked for twenty years in the same safety company from credit control to sales to becoming a manager to becoming a rep. When I had my second child, I didn’t go back to work for ten years although I had planned to go back once he was in primary school!

I was happy with how things turned out when I took the role. If it had been a permanent position from the offset, it would have been daunting. I thought to myself ‘It’s only three months, this will ease me back into the workplace’.  

When you’re at home you’re not interacting with different characters and that was one of the most interesting adjustments I made; working with different personalities in the office. It was something I had done for years, but it was a readjustment getting back to it. During my years at home, I had worked freelance creating catalogues for products; I did a course in Excel Structure and design. It had been a whole new skillset but very enjoyable and easy to manage around my family. I enjoyed it because I didn’t have the pressure of sales, which I had previously worked in.

So, initially because the role was three months, and I was familiar with spreadsheets I felt fine about it. Coming back to work full time after ten years was strange. When I look back on that time, I realise our daily routine was carried out with military precision! It took a lot to adjust to being at home during the pandemic, especially since kids were there too. I love working from home now, I get so much done.

As a development officer, we get information from Danny, the National Operations Manager, and Padraic, the Director of New Business, and put together CALF (Capital Advance Leasing Facility) applications which are crucial to funding our projects. There are about five phases to that process. Once the information is processed it will go to the local authority. They fill out their fields and send it back to then be sent to the Department of Housing. Once the application is fully approved, we contact the Housing Finance Agency for funding. They lend us the majority of finance for our developments.

In between approval and receiving funding, you may have people looking for information on the  project. We have projects coming in thick and fast, our Development team will take them on and work them through the system. As it comes closer to the project closing, we then have to gather all documents for the legal team.  Once finance is drawn down for the project, CHI’s finance team will check everything and then transfer the amount to the developer.

After closing the units, we have to send a lot of information regarding the development to the housing team and to our legal team and the council. Then we look for rent details from the council to pass on to housing. There are many steps. The process has changed a lot from when I started until to now.

I’ve grown with CHI. When I came in, it wasn’t as structured but since then it has grown exponentially, and our team has grown with it.

Before working here, I spent a lot of years being a manager. I was director of a company which I grew with others. Sales was such a huge job and responsibility so being in development is a refreshing change . I’m happy doing what I’m doing. I’m ambitious in the sense that I want to do my job as best as I can and make it easy as possible to access the information necessary for us to do our job in development. Knowing at the background that you’re helping families, children makes a huge difference. You don’t really see that when you’re sitting at a desk working day in day out. It is vital to remember the importance of what we do.

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