Karen Walsh

General Manager, Group Business Initiatives SGCH.

I am a housing professional with over 28 years experience. In 2015 I was appointed as General Manager of the newly established Group Business Initiatives Division to lead the focus on business growth and improvement, strategy, strategic partnerships, innovation and impact. I am a motivated, resilient and adaptive leader passionate about making a real difference within the broader system and making an impact.

A former Director, I joined the SGCH executive team in June 2010 as General Manager, Housing Services and Renewal during a time of major change, growth and opportunity in the sector. In that role I led the organisation’s social and affordable housing strategy, policy and delivery; business and service improvement; community regeneration and placemaking. Professional highlights include the title transfer and delivery of almost 1,200 brand new dwellings under the Government’s Nation Building Program and the Contract for the Bonnyrigg Public Private Partnership.

Nation Building grew our portfolio, our tenant base and our balance sheet and created opportunities for SGCH to leverage and develop a pipeline of affordable housing.  Managing the Contract for the Bonnyrigg PPP and leading the seamless transition from a PPP to an integrated service delivery place management project where SGCH continues to partner with Government in planning the future stages under a new vision.

Prior to joining SGCH, my career in Australia includes 12 years in the NSW State Government in senior and executive roles in Aboriginal housing, public and community housing; leading strategy and reform; strategic policy and partnerships; community regeneration; business development and improvement; and service planning and contracting.

My early career in the UK was in child protection and disability services as a qualified social worker. My move to Australia took my interest and focus to community development, social inclusion and policy.  I’ve achieved a Masters in Social Policy (UWS) and an Executive Masters in Public Administration (USyd/UNSW).

I joined the PowerHousing Australia Board in November 2015 and I’m also a Director on the Boards of www.newtowncentre.org and shelternsw.org.au. and from 2008 – 2010 was a Director on the SGCH Board.

SGCH is one of Australia’s largest Community Housing Providers with over 30 years’ experience housing people in need. Our vision “great places for everyone” drives us to work collaboratively with a range of partners and connect people to opportunity. SGCH shapes great places through sustainable, safe and affordable housing, providing a home for more than 8,500 people in over 4,300 properties across metropolitan Sydney.

Offering tenancy management that is underpinned by an early intervention approach for vulnerable customers, tailored support SGCH helps tenants connect to opportunities through education, training, employment and community engagement.

As developers of community housing SGCH has the capability and capacity to lead in broader public policy issues such as environmentally sustainability. Partnering with the Australian Government’s statutory investor in renewable energy, the Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC), SGCH is building over 200 new energy efficient homes, far exceeding the mandated minimum requirements in the building code. Our partnership with CEFC gives us the opportunity to work towards environmental sustainability as our new “business as usual” and deliver benefits for our tenants at the same time.