The CEO Magazine: Tell us about City West Housing and what you do.

Janelle Goulding: City West Housing is a not-for-profit organisation celebrating its 20th year in providing affordable housing to people on low to moderate incomes living in the Ultimo, Pyrmont, and Green Square suburbs of Sydney.

I joined the organisation in June 2012 as CEO and have over 30 years of experience in the residential property sector, both in the private and public housing areas. I am responsible for the overall business strategy and direction of the organisation, and its 16 employees, with an emphasis on growing the company’s portfolio through development activity and providing ongoing affordable rental housing.

What does it take to be successful in your role?

Enthusiasm, passion, determination, and the ability to trust and empower my staff to do the best job they can—which they do, every single day.

What is your advice to others wanting to take the same journey?

Believe in your own values and convictions and surround yourself with people who have the same passion as you do.

What has been a key challenge and how have you overcome this?

When I first joined the organisation, the key difficulties faced were resistance and building trust. To combat this I surrounded myself with the right team to take the organisation forward. Another issue was accepting the fact that as a woman working in the construction and housing sector, I have had to work a lot harder for the same recognition as that of my male counterparts.

Who helped you get to this position?

I was actually headhunted for this position after a few years in the affordable and public housing arenas. I like to think I got the position based on my reputation and past success for driving business growth and change.

What does it mean to be a finalist in the Executive of the Year awards?

I am extremely proud and passionate about the work I do, the people I work with, and the lives that we improve. Homelessness in Australia is increasing at an exponential rate and affordable housing is a huge issue in Sydney, which is only going to get worse.

Every day I go to work with the sole aim of inspiring my team to help improve people’s lives and provide a roof over their heads, and under my guidance, we’ve been able to do that for more than 1,400 people in Sydney and for that I’m extremely proud. If I were to win this award, I would be honoured that the work my team and I do day in, day out has been acknowledged.