Trustees’ Week 2023
6-10 November is Trustees’ Week, and Trustee Joseph Ogundemuren discusses his work with us
Joseph Ogundemuren joined Your Place in 2022 through the Housing Diversity Network’s Board Excellence Programme. We believe strongly in the need for our Board to be representative of both our community and our residents, so through this initiative we are ensuring that the voices of the next generation are heard. We spoke with him about how his experiences growing up in East London and working in the Housing sector have led him to his Trustee role at Your Place.
Why did you want to become a Trustee at Your Place?
Born and raised in East London, I’ve been fortunate enough to take advantage of opportunities to succeed in life, and only felt it right to give back to a diverse community close to my heart. I relish taking on new challenges and had extensive experience of working in and delivering services to customers. Deciding to become a Trustee was an opportunity to showcase my professionalism and comprehensive community engagement and employment law knowledge, to go that extra mile for Your Place and our residents to really make a measurable difference in people’s lives who’ve been let down by the homelessness crisis.
Which qualities would you say make a good Trustee?
Becoming accustomed to feeling uncomfortable! To provide exceptional customer-focused services while working in culturally diverse communities, one must possess emotional intelligence and diversity of thought. You have to always be adaptable and flexible to changes. Effective communication and integrity are also valuable qualities to make a good Trustee. Being able to recognise the importance of leadership in promoting the values of Your Place to improve the lives of our residents and ensure we meet our ambitious strategic objectives are vital to being successful within the role.
How does your work, both as a Trustee and through skills you’ve developed elsewhere, contribute to our mission of ending homelessness in East London one person at a time?
Having spent over twelve years working in the Housing sector, I’ve had the opportunity to build lasting working relationships with its key stakeholders. Through this, I gained the understanding of the vital role Your Place plays in meeting the needs and requirements of our residents in-line with our strategic objectives within the London Borough of Newham.
Growing up and being housed on a Council estate within East London, I’ve witnessed the violence that affects people and communities as a lived experience. I believe this gives me an advantage to succeed as a Trustee at Your Place because I am an example that living in a low socioeconomic environment does not need to define you as a disengaged unsuccessful member of the community. Working with people that have challenging and complex needs can be highly pressured, and requires patience. Additionally, my lived experiences have proven effective in being able to relate with people I look and sound similar to. My skills in code-switching to communicate with a diverse range of people allows me to effectively communicate with them in an understandable way which eventually draws them out of their respective shells to improve their confidence.
Which element of Trustee work do you find the most enjoyable, or rewarding?
Every day is different, and I love the challenges that come with it. I always collaborate with Trustee colleagues to make sure the accommodation we provide is safe, hygienic, and well-maintained. It is satisfying to have a shared responsibility in making sure Your Place has a strong performance management structure and culture in place, in order to achieve our ambitious objectives.
Your Place is a charity with a social purpose. Understanding its regulatory responsibilities regarding Safeguarding and ensuring reasonable care is taken when supporting vulnerable residents from violence and abuse, so they can live as independently and safely as possible, is a rewarding privilege to have.