International Women's Day

This International Women's Day, Chief Executive Carol Carter reflects on her journey to becoming the leader of our organisation.

I am always saying, and it’s true, that it's a fantastic privilege to lead Origin - an established, respected and successful organisation in a part of the world which feels like home to me. My background is very relevant to how I got here. I was born and brought up in Hackney and in my early years my parents, sister and I lived in a private rented house in the Clapton area shared with my aunt, uncle and cousins, without central heating or a bathroom. We had a tin bath which Mum filled with water heated in the twin tub washing machine. It sounds like the 19th century, but it wasn’t quite! The council rehoused us as part of local area regeneration and (after my Mum and Dad steadfastly refusing a number of pretty grim offers I recall) we moved to Dalston in Hackney to a new council maisonette with all mod cons (!) and also, still a very mixed community at that time. 

These early experiences left me with an abiding sense that a safe, secure, affordable home and a strong, diverse local community provides people with a vital launch pad for making the most of life's opportunities. And I'm also convinced that making sure that people have a roof over their head and providing support for those who are vulnerable, is essential to the health of the economy and society as a whole.

I started work in the housing sector in local government in my early 20’s. It was important to me that my job was about doing something important for society – and that still motivates me today. In my first housing job in the council’s Lettings Team it was hard to explain to people how long they might have to wait in temporary accommodation, but really rewarding to see the smile on people’s faces as they finally signed up to a tenancy of a home they could call their own. The opportunity given to me to study for the Professional Qualification of the Institute of Housing cemented what became a lifelong enthusiasm. The history of social housing and the interplay of politics, the economy and social change is fascinating.

From then on I moved between roles and organisations gaining experience and thriving on the challenges. It was never my specific ambition to be Chief Executive. Instead I worked hard and looked for opportunities to learn and to positively influence and improve the outcomes for my organisation and the people we are here to help.

I know that gender, ethnicity and disability can all play a part in putting up barriers to success and it has always been important to me to encourage and support young people with talent, drive and commitment to be the best they can be. Role models are really vital. Seeing someone like you in a position of influence is very motivating and strengthens self-belief.

There is a lot still to do create a more equal society where everyone is treated with respect. In spite of discrimination and the structures of wider society which perpetuate disadvantage, International Women’s Day is an opportunity for us all to reflect on and take inspiration from all that women throughout history have achieved.

The challenges we all face in doing what we do – providing good quality affordable homes and landlord services, investing in communities, supporting people – are many and varied, and in the housing association sector we have to continually adapt. That is one of our strengths, and I believe that our sector is a great example of effective social enterprise – independent businesses which exist for a social purpose. We have a duty and responsibility to achieve as much as we can in our sphere by being creative, innovative, focused and efficient and in doing so forging productive partnerships with government and commercial companies. That means using all the diverse talent available to us by giving opportunity to all to do their best.

Posted: 08/03/2018 By Carol Carter, Chief Executive  | 3 comments


I have spoken to Ms Carter before and she did help with lettings but the home I was given was well below par and many jobs are still out standing with 4 different people coming and taking photos of my so called home. I was told that the works would be done before I took over the tenancy but when I came to sigen the tenancy there was still 5 workman in the house and when I started to change my mind I was push hard to sign which I did and then spent a month living at my sisters why we made a bit of a dent in the mess, but there is so much Origin could have done before this property was let and even now jobs are booked and then cancelled last moment or the person comes and does not have the right information. I am writing to the CEO and hand delivering the letter as hopefully she might look into how a house could be let out in such a state or is it as I am told that Origin just has to get them let out how ever they are.

Posted:  18/03/2018 17:43 Name:  Ellen Perrier Website:  Stevenage

Hi Adam, We're sorry about the delay in getting your leak fixed. I know that we now have you booked in and hopefully this will finally resolve it for you.

Posted:  14/03/2018 11:24 Name:  Julie Humphreys

Absolutely amazed and flabbergasted that you Carol Carter can talk with pride of an organisation that is so grossly incompetent, negligent and mendacious. We have spent 6 months trying to get you to address a leak caused by one of your properties. We have called, emailed and endlessly pursued your utterly useless and lying staff. Just look at your reviews online and see if this is an organisation that you can claim pride in leading. Living next door to one of your properties has been a curse for our family, I can only imagine how rotten it must be to actually live in one. If you would like to prove that there is some leadership, someone who can get anything done in your organisation, do feel free to get in touch. Somehow I am sure you will find a way to undercut even our rock bottom expectations. Your PR gloss is utterly disgusting! PS for more details just talk to Daniel Buttterworth, Building surveyor and Anthony Conway in your PR team or Sevinc Mestan in your repairs department.

Posted:  08/03/2018 16:27 Name:  Adam Fulrath

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