G15 Ethnicity in Housing Awards: Words from our Winner - Bukky Awokoya (A2Dominion)

At this years’ G15 Ethnicity in Housing Awards that took place on 25 May 2022, A2Dominion’s, Bukky Awokoya, won the Future Leader Award. We caught up her to see how winning the award made her feel.

Congratulations on your award. How did it feel to hear your name read out as the winner of the Lifetime Achievement Award?

"It was a big surprise. Listening to other colleagues' achievements being read out for the different awards, I really didn’t think it could be me. I thought, oh, I have only been at A2Dominion five years, I haven’t achieved enough. So, it was a big shock and a wonderful surprise that really validated my accomplishments."

Please tell me about your career in housing so far.

"I joined A2Dominion as a Housing Assistant five years ago. I attended one of A2Dominion’s drop-in recruitment workshops for various roles across the organisation. After attending this interview and group activity I got the call that I had been offered a job in the housing team.

I worked as a Housing Assistant for a year when an Income Officer role became available. My manager encouraged me to apply even though I was hesitant. I went for it and got the role, which I did for three years.

The role that I am in now, a Senior Income Officer, came up a couple of times and I was not successful at first. But then, I partnered with a mentor through our internal mentorship programme, she helped me with my application and the presentation required for the interview. This support was really helpful and gave me a lot of important insight for the role. My mentor really helped to learn how to sell myself and believe in my skills, which is essential for an interview. And that’s how I got here."

Is there a particular colleague or experience that was a game-changer in your career?

"My previously manager once said to me in a one-to-one, “I see you as a future CEO.” Even though this was a passing comment, it really stuck with me. To know that she saw certain leadership skills in me was very inspiring.”

What qualities do you think make a good leader?

"I am currently partaking in the G15 Accelerate programme, and there have been some really interesting sessions on leadership. I think my favourite topic has been on emotional intelligence. As a manager, the most important part of your job is supporting and managing colleagues, and emotional intelligence is essential to this. Being able to build strong relationships is key to being a leader."

As a G15 Future leader, what are your ambitions for your future career?

The award has really inspired me to see that anything is possible in my career. It really affirmed that I am doing my job well and I have the potential to be a leader. I really would love to be a director one day. We need more women, particularly from ethnic minorities in these senior roles. I want to be one of these people and I would like to inspire others to achieve this too.

Where is your award kept now?

At the moment my husband has put it on our table, but I’m worried it’s going to get knocked over as lots of kids visit our house. I’m hoping to get a shelf that I can display it on – out of reach but for everyone to see!