After 41 years in housing including 8 years as Chief executive of Worthing Homes Jackie Bligh has decided that it is time to start a new and very different chapter in her life by retiring to Lanzarote with her husband.
Having started with us in September 2014 Jackie was a force of nature that implemented many changes to ensure we were ahead of our time; and indeed this paid off when the first lockdown hit as all of our colleagues were already equipped with laptops, mobiles and had working from home on occasions so there were no interruptions to our business and more importantly our service to our residents.
Jackie said ‘This decision has not been taken lightly, we are now getting to an age where we have lost too many friends before they got to do the things that they had wanted to do ‘once they had retired’! This is not about being morbid but taking the opportunity to start a new chapter in our lives and follow a new adventure, so I am taking early retirement and my last official day with Worthing Homes will be 31 December this year.
I am sad to leave the housing sector as I genuinely cannot think of another profession that would have given me the opportunity to make such a difference to so many people, work with some wonderful people and that has supported me throughout my career.
Having started in 1981 as a housing trainee, my first placement was with the sales team – I loved colouring in the plans! I moved roles and often organisations as my career progressed and became a Chief Executive in October 1993. I was very fortunate to have some brilliant mentors and role models from whom I learnt a lot. These were not always in more senior positions to me but from other colleagues both in and outside the sector – do not forget that leaders and good role models come from all areas of a business.
I believe that housing is a vocation – if you ever feel as though you do not know why you are doing what you are doing – go and visit your tenants and talk to them. New tenants have all the joy of getting a home of their own which is infectious but if we are doing things right, then all tenants will share their story and will remind you that what we do is amazing and makes a real difference’.
All of us at Worthing Homes will miss Jackie’s presence and leadership and wish her and her husband well in their new life.