This year’s Rising Stars winner reflects on the experience, and challenges ahead
Getting down to business
I begin to put pen to paper on this blog at a desk in one of Parkway Green’s local neighbourhood offices. I’m well and truly back to reality and getting on with the day job. My current environment is completely different to the hotel room where I wrote the last one. As are my feelings. The nerves are gone and have been replaced by optimism for a challenging and exciting year ahead.
Although it was only last week, the finale of the Chartered Institute of Housing’s conference seems such a long time ago. I can still hear [CIH chief executive] Grainia Long announcing me as the winner and it still sounds great!
The final day began with me posting my last blog, before jumping in the shower, changing and getting ready for a busy day ahead. Apart from the keynotes, where I heard our housing minister speak, I sacrificed attending sessions on that last day, in favour of using the time to talk to fellow professionals and promote my idea.
Source: Lorne Campbell&Gabriel Szabo
When it came for the finalists to come on stage for one last time, I was nervous but felt the same momentum of confidence that had been with me since about half way through the event. I felt I handled the questions well from Grainia, (2011 Rising Stars winner) Carla Keegans and (architect) George Clarke. However despite being confident, the wait while the judges counted the votes was the longest in my life! George’s presentation on housing was really interesting and radical but my concentration kept drifting.
Grainia’s announcement came and my time on the stage, collecting my prize and speaking to the panel now seems like a blur and I wish I had been able to savour the moment a little longer.
Following a slightly boozy celebration with my colleagues from Parkway Green that night, reality has slowly hit day by day. However for me the hard work begins now. I said throughout the competition that winning was secondary to the opportunity for getting my ideas heard and I still mean it.
My journey for this year begins next week at the UK Housing Awards. Next I intend on pushing my idea through the Runway Group, a network of fifteen landlords representing approximately 400,000 tenants across the UK ahead of spending time with the housing minister, seeking a mentor from the sector and engaging in as much activity as I can in order to put my ideas forward and try to influence the sector.
I am keen to speak to as many tenants, landlords and professionals as possible so please contact me via twitter @Parkwaydean
Dean Slavin is a resident involvement manager at Parkway Green Housing Trust and winner of Rising Stars 2012 - a competition run by Inside Housing and the Chartered Institute of Housing to find the most talented young housing professional in the UK.