11 Sep 2023

Spotlight - Meet our Ireland members: Kath Cottier

First things first, please introduce yourself to our audience

My first proper job after graduating was working with young people in Glasgow’s inner city and I also volunteered at my local credit union that was supported by a housing association. I loved it, and I loved the way the housing association was so important in what was a thriving community that supported and cared for each other. I met an Irishman and moved to Ireland; and because of my positive volunteering experience in Glasgow, I applied for, and was successful in getting a job in a housing association as a community development worker. I have not looked back, and I could not imagine working in another sector.

My time on the frontline has always been the core of who I became as a manager and now a CEO. At every level of my career, I have both taken and been given opportunities to try new things that have enabled me to grow and develop both myself and the organisations I worked for, and I am proud that it has had a positive impact delivering homes and supporting residents and communities.

What do you love most about your career in housing?

What keeps me in housing are committed and dedicated colleagues and residents that I have enjoyed working with and learnt lots from. I also loved the collaboration across many sectors that are vital to the development of housing and supporting residents and communities. Everything from local and national governments, health services, property developers and building contractors, local voluntary organisations, social services and lots more!

What has been your biggest professional achievement?

After leaving an organisation that I had worked in for many years I was overwhelmed by the wonderful positive comments from colleagues and residents. Many people working in housing have such an impact and I am one of the lucky ones to have had the opportunity to get the feedback. It was humbling and helped me recognise my achievements over many years and have confidence about what I can hopefully still achieve.  

What are your future goals and aspirations for your career?

Specialist older persons housing that is sustainable for people as they age is underdeveloped in Ireland and I want to be part of changing this. To respect the rights of people as they age and ensuring that we as a society meet their needs. I’m looking forward to working with my colleagues FOLD Housing to achieve this.

What advice would you give to someone who wants to start a career in housing?

Opportunities often materialise from seizing the moment and being brave, it is about what you do in your current role that makes the biggest difference and can lead to new opportunities. It took me time to find my confidence and voice and that is OK.