Reflecting back on the Rising Stars competition over the last couple of months, I have learnt so much and had my eyes opened to the bigger picture beyond Dorset, for which I am so grateful. I’ve met some amazing people, had my network grow, and even started blogging! I applied originally as I am ambitious and passionate about what we do as a sector and my small part in it. I’m always looking to learn more and better myself as a professional, and this experience has certainly done that for me.
The three tasks have been challenging but really enjoyable. The Twitter Q&A was an absolute baptism of fire, just down to the pace of the questions coming in! It felt like the quickest hour ever and I was a little ‘housing’ star struck by the tweets coming in from the figure heads of the sector.
The visit to Incommunities housing in Shipley to present to a group of GEM students our strategy to encourage young people into housing was my favourite task. It was great being able to talk about my experiences. Working with Evie making it a ‘boys versus girls’ challenge, added an extra bit of competitive fun. This was the first time that we as finalists all met each other, which was when I realised how tough a competition this was. I actually felt a bit out of my depth at this point. We are all so different but have one thing in common, which is that we are passionate about housing and want to make a difference. I don’t think it’s just a job for any of us.
The third task was an ethics interview in London which was tough, with lots of difficult questions being asked that certainly challenged me! I had no choice but to be myself and told the interviewers about what I class as my defining moment in my career so far. It’s quite personal and hard to tell, but it’s important to recognise that we face many challenges in this sector day to day. I’ve come so far in myself since then and the competition has pushed me even further.
I’ve been blown away by the support of everyone at Spectrum Housing, and feel proud to be representing my employer – I’m certainly not the only rising star that works there. Even if the work intranet is now known in the local office is ‘It’s all about Alice’!
Of course I’d love to win the competition as we all would. To be honest, there’s no one that doesn’t deserve to be here which makes it a hard choice. But my shameless plug is to ask you to #VoteAlice, as I’m not quite ready for this journey to end yet.