Rising Stars 2018 - the final ten: Natasha Jones
As they fight for your votes, each of our Rising Stars finalists has been asked to blog about housing and how they would use winning the competition to the benefit of the sector. Here Natasha Jones makes her case.
When I first read the task, I was instantly worried because for a large proportion of the time, I will be maternity leave with my first child. As you can imagine I am extremely excited about becoming a new mum, but felt sad when I asked myself and colleagues ‘do I mention that am on maternity? Will this go against me?’ Which got me thinking, how awful is it that this fear still exists in today’s modern society.
A recent survey by the Equality and Human Rights Commission stated that one third of British third sector organisations consulted believe that women who become pregnant and new mothers in work are ‘generally less interested in career progression’ when compared to other employees in their company. Well I am proof that is not the case and I aim to tackle that preconception over the next 12 months. I am and will always be an ambitious women in housing.
Don’t get me wrong, yes the next 12 months will have its challenges, I will be tired from sleepless nights, who wouldn’t be, but I am very fortunate to have an extremely supportive fiancé, a compassionate and caring employer and work in a sector that champions and empowers women. #luckygirl
Becoming a new mum has made me reflect on how lucky I am to have a warm, secure home to raise my family. The future of housing is filled with uncertainty, what housing choices will my child have to make? I will continue to be a part of the movement to solve the housing crisis. We all have our parts to play.
If I were to become your Rising Star I would seize every opportunity especially expanding my network and getting to meet other likeminded professionals and inspirational leaders who could help me to develop and reach my full potential. Networking is one of my strengths as I enjoy and thrive when learning from others and taking away ideas that can shape my work and help me to see things from a different angle. This will also help me to identify and achieve a Board position for a small organisation which I am keen to explore, helping me develop my strategic decision making.
Over the next 12 months I aim to further develop as a Senior Manager and become an inspirational leader (and mum), like my role model and mentor, my Head of Service. She too has been shortlisted in the Inspirational Leader category of the Housing Hero’s Awards following my submission. I will complete the ILM Level 5 qualification as well as complete the MHA Management programme. I have nominated myself as a mentor within the MHA Future Leaders programme, which will provide me with an opportunity to mentor the organisations future talent.
I am on a mission to continue to be a good manager. In 2019 I aim to enter my team for Team of the Year in the Women in Housing Awards. I have worked with the team to set challenging performance indictors and set their priorities for 2018/19 in a robust team plan, so I will be utilising my ‘keeping in touch days’ to monitor progress and keep informed of recent changes.
Lastly if I was successful, I would share my story during the global celebration International Women’s Day in March 2019. I would showcase the benefits of being a Rising Star and juggling a work/life balance as a new mum by taking part in the series of events that are hosted by the National Assembly for Wales, across the Senedd estate.
I think becoming a new mum and achieving the Rising Star Award would be life changing for me.
Natasha Jones is engagement manager at Monmouthshire Housing Association and a 2018 Rising Stars finalist
- Find out more about Natasha and how to cast your vote here