Just A Minute with Heather Kiteley at Port of Leith Housing Association
In partnership with our sister publication Scottish Financial News, Scottish Housing News is running a series of Just A Minute profiles of housing association finance directors. We kick off with Heather Kiteley, finance director at Port of Leith Housing Association.
Why did you chose to work in the finance sector and how did you get started in the sector?
When I was 17 and working in a hotel, a job was recommended to me in the hotel’s finance department - until that point I had not considered working in Finance. After working in various positions in the finance team I was persuaded by my boss to work towards a professional qualification and soon became hooked on the sense of achievement and ambition. Whilst in the early stages of studying I looked for a job that would broaden my experience and I made my first move into the not-for-profit sector where I was exposed to a wide range of activities and objectives that are not typically found in the private sector.
Why Housing and how does it compare with other sectors?
After having worked in the not-for-profit sector in various types of organisations I realised I preferred it to the private sector. I like the sense of purpose, the values and the focus on people rather than profits. I enjoy the Housing sector, there is a lot of joint working and sharing of knowledge and ideas between housing associations in Scotland who share common objectives and ambition. I haven’t found that in any of the other sectors I have worked in.
The best advice you received?
To have a five year career plan and to develop a personal strategy.
What has been your best professional experience?
Doing my MBA while working within a diverse organisation where I was able to apply and consolidate my learning in a practical way on the job. Closely followed by the process I am currently undertaking to arrange a private placement for the Association.
And your worst?
My first few months in an organisation where I arrived after a redundancy exercise had just completed.
What advice would you give to anyone considering a career in finance?
Try it out, get some work experience through an internship. In my experience it is best to work and study at the same time as you need both practical and theoretical knowledge and experience.
What do you like most about your job?
The variety of work and being able to see results from the projects that I undertake. I enjoy working in a people focussed business and influencing and developing our strategy which contributes to the wider community.
Do you read a daily newspaper?
Not hard copies, I look at news websites and receive daily newsletters from various housing sector organisations.
Which social media sites do you use?
LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook.
Hobbies and interests:
I enjoy travelling, spending time with family and friends, cycling and walking my dogs and I am a volunteer Committee member for the CIMA Edinburgh Branch and the CIMA Scotland Board.
Favourite holiday destination:
Kenya, I have only been once and would love to go back.
Dream job outwith your career in finance:
A tourist fishing boat operator in the Maldives.