All female senior management team at the helm of Homes for Good

Scotland’s first social enterprise letting agency Homes for Good (HFG) celebrated this year’s International Women’s Day by unveiling its all-female senior management team as part of its ambitious growth plans to grow to 1000 homes within the next four years.

All female senior management team at the helm of Homes for Good

(from left) back row: Susan Aktemel, Kara Reid and Karen Leigh Anderson. Front row: Joey Lawrie, Lorna Wylie, Alice Simpson and office pup Lance!

The HFG group, Scotland’s only private sector lettings agency specialising in providing homes for people on low incomes or benefits, has over 500 properties under management and works with around 130 landlords and 800 tenants in and around Glasgow and the West of Scotland.

Since 2014, HFG has raised around £12 million investment to create its own portfolio of high-quality homes for people in housing need. The social enterprise has recently been awarded £2.4 million by the National Lottery Community Fund to roll out its successful model across the UK.

Executive director Susan Aktemel founded the Glasgow-based company in 2013. An experienced property developer, Susan combined these skills with her commitment to improving people’s lives to create Scotland’s first social enterprise letting agency and social landlord in the private rented sector.

Susan previously created and grew Impact Arts, now a leading Scottish arts and regeneration charity, from 1994 to 2012. In 2017 she received an Honorary Doctorate from Strathclyde Business School for achievements in social enterprise and was inducted into the Strathclyde Academy for Distinguished Entrepreneurs in 2019, when she was also awarded the Cambridge Judge Business School / Trinity College Social Innovation Prize. She has also recently been appointed as Visiting Professor at Strathclyde University Hunter Centre for Entrepreneurship.

Alice Simpson is director of assets & governance and company secretary. Alice joined the team in 2014 and has played a key role in helping to grow the business group. Her key focus is on managing the organisation’s assets, strengthening the core business operations of the group, ensuring HFG is fit for sustainable growth, and that the group works to best practice guidelines and legislation.

Committed to social change, prior to joining Homes for Good Alice worked with Orchard and Shipman and Ypeople supporting vulnerable people to access emergency housing.

Director of operations Kara Reid joined Homes for Good in December 2019, after 15 years in management roles within the private rented sector, including working on the national asylum seeker accommodation programme. Kara is responsible at Homes for Good for the day to day running of core business activities, including business development, lettings, repairs and maintenance, tenancy support and ensuring compliance across all aspects of property management and overseeing the growth of the staff team from its current size of 22 to 40 over the next 18 months.

Joey Lawrie, head of tenancy support and partnerships, joined the team in 2015 and has been central to the success of the unique approach Homes for Good has developed in working with tenants and supporting them to feel secure in their homes and improve their lives.

With a background in psychology and mental health, Joey is leading a growing team of tenancy support officers and specialist advisors, as well as developing partnerships with organisations such as The Wise Group to enhance the services offered to tenants.

Karen Leigh Anderson joined the team in September 2019 as programme director for replication and learning, enabling other social enterprises across the UK to learn from the Homes for Good unique approach to providing homes for people who need them. Karen’s career spans both the private & social economy, with significant experience in social franchising, replication & growth though her work with more than 80 organisations considering social franchising.

Karen is a member of faculty at the University of Cambridge Judge Business School in the Centre for Social Innovation and is also a Churchill Fellow for Enterprise for 2018.

Lorna Wyllie joined the team in October 2019 as part-time finance director with the Homes for Good Group. Lorna is a former partner with Glasgow-based accountant Wylie & Bisset where she headed up the business advisory services team and managed a large portfolio of clients. She has worked across a wide variety of sectors including third sector and commercial organisations.  

Homes for Good founding director Susan Aktemel said: “I am really pleased to have built this six-strong female leadership team, who have first class experience and a strong track record in their respective fields of housing, care, social business and finance.

“Over the next four years, we planned to grow to 1000 homes under management, raise a further £20m investment and work with over 300 landlords and 1500 tenants, providing quality homes for people who need them. We are extremely well placed to achieve this with this excellent team of professional women. I am lucky and proud to have them on board.”

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