You’ve been working in the sector for over 25 years. Tell us about your background, education and experience. What inspired you to join the sector?
I have discovered over the years that a career in the affordable housing sector is not often top-of-mind for most people, who tend to “fall into” the job. The same was true for me.
In 1995, I was working in retail and looking for something different. As it happened, a friend of mine, who was managing a 20-unit non-profit housing project for persons living with HIV/AIDS, was looking for an assistant. I landed the position and in less than a year, my friend left his role as manager and the board offered it to me. I oversaw the running of the building for 5 years.
In 2000, the Ontario Non-Profit Housing Association (ONPHA) advertised the position of Local Networks Coordinator and I got the job, which entailed coordinating representatives of the 47 service areas, whom we referred to as Local Network Liaisons. These housing providers gave ONPHA important regional updates and we, in turn, shared the “intel” about local policy that we gleaned from all of the networks.
From there, I went to the Social Housing Services Corporation (now Housing Services Corporation ) as a member of a team that coordinated various energy-management incentive programs for housing providers. The program was called Green Light on a Better Environment, or GLOBE. We successfully arranged for hundreds of thousands of dollars to be distributed to housing providers that completed energy-saving retrofits. While I was there, I moved onto the newly formed Client Services department, first as manager and then as director. In 2013, I moved to SHSC Financial as Manager of Client Services. SHSC FI became Encasa Financial in 2014.
What does your role as Manager of Client Services entail?
Meeting with housing providers, both in person and virtually. Of course, the in person aspect has diminished greatly in 2020! I often liaise with service managers and provide them with semi-annual reports on the capital reserve balances, investments and spending for the prescribed housing providers in their respective areas. I also work closely with Encasa’s investment team to ensure we provide superior client service for our valued investors.
What is your favourite part of your job?
My absolute favourite part of the job is meeting with housing provider staff and boards. I often give presentations about Encasa and attend conferences and trade shows. I can’t wait to be able to get back to in-person meetings!
You’re an advocate of the investment of capital reserves for affordable housing providers. Why is this important?
Affordable housing is a multi-billion dollar asset and needs to be treated as such. Operating and capital budgets are tight, and the only way in which limited resources can be maximized is through investment. Encasa has the expertise to help housing providers make the most of those resources.
If you weren’t working at Encasa, what would you be doing?
Most of my friends know that I am an avid Star Trek fan. If I weren’t working for Encasa, I would love to be an extra on a Star Trek series and living the dream!
Thanks, John! Visit our Encasa Team page to learn more about the Encasa Financial team.