“It is so rewarding to be able to improve the lives of residents and staff. It is what I love most about working in housing.”

Published on 12th June 2016

Elly HoultElly Hoult – Head of Business Improvement and Development at Orbit Group and Service Matters, and their in-house Lean guru!

Elly gives sessions on Lean Business Improvement, which the sector is starting to pick up on using case studies for support and gives advice that people can take away and implement themselves. Ellie is a member of WISH and fellow of CIH.


“I love my job. It allows me to give free reign to my passion for improvement and efficiency. I’m the Head of Business Development for Orbit Housing’s consultancy arm (Service Matters) which offers professional consultancy services to the housing sector. I lead on supporting internal and external clients improve their business,  customer offer and increase efficiency in areas such as  voids, repairs, income recovery and customer contact. I sit on the board for the CIH South East and really enjoy giving back to the sector in this voluntary role.”


If you weren’t in your current role what would you be doing? 

It would certainly be vocational and a role that made a difference to society. Being an avid Ian Rankin fan, I would possibly be in the police force.


What was your first ever job? 

I had a paper round when I was eleven, which I hated. My first full-time job was as an office administrator. It was before PCs were commonplace and it was all manual processing.


How did you end up working in Housing Sector?

Like a lot of other people, I accidentally found myself working in housing. I started as an administrator in a Supported Housing team and quickly realised that the housing sector was everything I wanted in a role.  Those that work in housing are some of the most passionate and creative people I know.


What’s on your list of things still to achieve in your life/career? 

I don’t think you can ever do too much learning. I would like to continue to develop my education and skills to enable me to achieve my full career potential. On a personal basis, I have yet to visit Russia, which is on my bucket list.


Which 3 people living or dead have influenced you most in your life? 

The people that have had the most influence are all family members:

  • Without doubt my Gramp – he was the most driven individual I have ever met
  • My husband – he encourages and supports me to pursue my goals
  • My mother – she was a shop-steward and taught me to promote and support those without a voice


What’s the superpower you would most like to have? 

Invisibility, imagine how nosey you could be!? I’d love to know if Prince Philip is a secret Hollyoaks fan.


What are the qualities that you most admire in others? 

Fairness, loyalty and honesty


What’s on your desk?

I’m working from home, so a mug of coffee (essential) and my cat (who likes to lie all over my paperwork)


What would be your perfect day away from work?

I love nothing better than a good red wine, some strong cheese and interesting conversation.


What’s the best thing about your job?

Making a difference; it is so rewarding to be able to improve the lives of residents and staff. It is what I love most about working housing.


What was your worst mistake and what did you learn from it?

When I was at school I experimented with fake tan (it wasn’t good back then!). I learned that pioneering and early-adoption doesn’t always work right first time!


What single thing would make your life easier?

More time!


Which 3 celebrities/Politicians would you not want to be stuck in a lift with and why?

  • Jeremy Clarkson – I can’t abide violence or bullies
  • Janet Street Porter – I like what she has to say, but I think her voice would grate on me after a while
  • Shane Sutton – there is no room for sexism and misogyny in 2016


What advice would you give to someone starting out in their career in Housing

Read as much as you can. There is so much to learn about housing and it is all fascinating. As a Fellow of the CIH and a member of WISH I would also recommend joining a professional body. They have so much to offer in terms of networking, events and training materials.



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