Story 27 - Blog

Claire's Story

Claire is our Director of Governance and Assurance. She has worked at Look Ahead for a combined total of over 15 years and plays a vital role in ensuring the organisation is accountable, transparent and well governed.

I first joined Look Ahead in 1999. I had always wanted to have a career with a social purpose, that improves people’s lives. I was determined to do just that by giving the voluntary sector my all. That was how I felt back then, and I still feel that way today.

Before I started at Look Ahead, I had worked in a couple of other not-for-profits, and it was in one of these roles that I discovered my passion for governance. I was able to put this to good use at Look Ahead later on, where I was a Performance Review Manager for over six years. I had the pleasure of working closely with our former CEO Victoria Stark CBE, and I enjoyed being a part of the valuable impact that good governance can have on an organisation, how it functions, stays accountable, sustains itself, and grows.

I spent six fantastic years at Look Ahead, before moving on into new roles, one at a different housing association and another at the Care Quality Commission (CQC). I stayed in touch with Look Ahead colleagues even after I left, and one day, ten years on, I saw a senior governance position advertised. I applied and the rest is history.

Someone reminded me that Look Ahead was the only place where I felt truly happy in my career, so I went for it. I got the job, and nine years on I’m still here, feeling inspired by my colleagues as ever. For me the best thing about Look Ahead is that the organisation genuinely eats, sleeps, breathes and lives its values. It’s a place that welcomes fresh talent and skills, but also keeps the door open for former staff like myself to return with new experiences of our own and make an impact.

Day to day, I work closely with senior leadership, heads of services, directors, and the board around decision-making, delivering on our objectives and strategic plans, and staying on the right side of regulators’ rules, including the CQC. I enjoy getting involved with almost every department, and I love working with customers and staff and making sure their voices are heard.

I’m also there to help put things right where they’ve gone wrong, and I manage Look Ahead’s insurance processes and claims, and crucially, I lead on whistleblowing, which gives individuals the opportunity to raise concerns.

For me, listening is key, and I have also qualified as a counsellor since I re-joined Look Ahead. Though it’s not part of my role, being a counsellor allows me to better understand and empathise with both staff and customers, and to reflect on what they may be going through when doing my own work, which inevitably affects them too.

Look Ahead is an innovative organisation, and, while the supported housing and social care sector is facing many challenges, I’m looking forward to being a part of how we overcome these, while continuing to provide the quality support our customers deserve in the years to come.