There were plenty of new faces to meet in Dundee as staff from across Perth & Kinross, Dundee, Fife, Angus and the Highlands attended the first ever Caledonia Housing Association Staff Conference themed around, Team Caledonia - Going for Gold and even featured one of the 8,000 torches run by one of their tenants Emma McIntyre, who kindly donated the Olympic torch for the event.
This year's conference, which will take place every year, provided an opportunity for staff to meet their colleagues and to celebrate their success and learn more about the strategic direction of the organisation following last year's merger. The conference took place in Dundee College's The Space Conference Centre in Dundee.
On the main stage, Chief Executive, Julie Cosgrove started the day by welcoming staff to the conference. Julie's themed presentation, Team Caledonia - Going for Gold, highlighted the similarities of how our merger journey was much like the journey of the Olympic torch or training for an Olympic event. She said:
"It's a long and dedicated process, it requires careful planning and designing, a great deal of time and energy is invested, it takes years to accomplish greatness and you have to be highly competitive."
Julie spoke passionately about the role all Caledonia Housing Association staff play following the merger last October between Perthshire and Servite Housing Associations. Julie said:
"Just like many sportsmen, you need to communicate and work together as a team."
Julie talked about how members should focus on Caledonia's strengths and the confidence about Caledonia's future.
Alan Ferguson of CIH Scotland gave his perspective on the changing political landscape and the challenges facing Caledonia and other providers. More than 150 members of staff then took part in workshops and breakout sessions where each directorate gave individual presentations on the functions of their department, the services they provide and how they operate.
Proving very popular was people development workshop presented by Insight's Louise Abercrombie. Entitled Knowing Me, Knowing You - Effective Communication, Louise delivered an animated session on how to understand more about ourselves and our colleagues, how we work as individuals, how we are seen to others and how we are all different in our approach to certain tasks. Once identifying these similarities and differences, how we then learn to adapt in order to become more effective as a team.
Following a further few breakout sessions, which focussed on specific services of the organisation, the day was finally wrapped up by Julie who issued everyone with a gold medal to reinforce the message, Team Caledonia - Going for Gold.
A big thank you to all of our speakers on the day as well as a massive thank you to Emma McIntyre who kindly donated the Olympic Torch for the day.