City West Housing CEO Leonie King recently delivered a graduation day speech to UTS Business School and Faculty of Design, Architecture and Building students in which she made the connection between a stable home, education and career success.
A graduate of the UTS Business School herself, Leonie said the environment in which young people are raised matters “because experience shapes us and adversity creates resilience, while education creates a platform upon which we can succeed”.
“In my industry, we talk about having a safe, secure and affordable home as a foundation for setting people up for a better future. Stable housing doesn’t just provide shelter but provides greater opportunities for young people to stay enrolled in education and a safe environment in which to study.”
Leonie also highlighted that career paths aren’t always clear from the outset. After joining a graduate program at a Big 4 accounting firm, she moved to the public service, where she found a sense of social purpose. As CEO of City West Housing since 2018, she said: “The impact my organisation makes on people’s lives is tangible”.
However, with limited funds, community housing providers are always juggling their commercial, environmental and social purposes. “As a community housing landlord, do I spend money retrofitting solar to our buildings to address energy poverty for many of our residents, even though there is no direct financial return to the company, or do I spend the money on building more homes?”