March 2, 2024 - Industry News

IHM Celebrating International Women's Week - Heidi Billyard - AIHM

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Heidi Billyard - AIHM

Director - Tenant and Housing Services
Good Shepherd Non - Profit Homes

The key responsibilities as the Director is managing and overseeing the success of 25 ( and growing) team members. As a dept.  that is responsible for over 1000 tenants and 38 properties, this dept. provides maintenance services to apartments, shelters, administration, hospice, and health clinics.  Ensure that all life safety systems are functioning as well as maintaining the properties in a safe, clean manner.  Responding to the needs of the tenants/people we serve on a daily basis. We also ensure compliance with all legislative requirements and provide reports to our funders which include Service Manager, Provincial and federal governments. 

What led you to a career in property management?

I really "fell into" property management in 1980 when I was home after the birth of my son.  I was getting bored being home so I volunteered for the Board of Directors of the Co-operative where I lived.  That led to developing a Training program for Housing Co-ordinators and becoming a certified instructor for CHF Canada.  I worked in the co-op sector for 18 years then started working in the Non-Profit sector where I have been for the past 26 years.  

How many years have you worked in this profession?

44 years in total 

What was your first job?

My first position in the Social Housing Sector was the Director of the Golden Horseshoe Co-operative Housing Association (previously known as the Co-operative Housing Association of Hamilton.)

What is your proudest professional moment?

Being nominated for the YWCA Women of Distinction Award for my contribution to Non-Profit Housing.   Although I was not the recipient, it was an honour to be recognized and acknowledged.

What has been your biggest challenge?

I believe the biggest challenge for anyone working in the Non-profit sector is balancing the needs of the tenants we serve.  In my role I work with people who have Mental Health and Addictions issues and there is always a delicate balance between peoples Human Rights and responsibilities of tenants.  Managing expectations of tenants, staff and stakeholders is an ongoing challenge.

Who do you consider a mentor or hero?

I have had many mentors and heros throughout my career.  Everyone I have had the pleasure of working with has had an impact on my continued growth as a leader.

What is the best advice you ever received?

Don't sweat the small stuff.

What advice would you give to those entering the property management profession?

Be open minded, open to new challenges and ideas.  There is no "one size fits all" - and most of all - DON'T SWEAT THE SMALL STUFF.

What changes have you seen in property management in recent years?

A greater focus on Human Rights.

What changes do you see facing this profession in the future?

The current housing crisis will only continue to get worse.  This will present a challenge for Property Managers.

Fun fact you wish to share:

I vacation in Aruba every year for a minimum of three weeks... I have an aspiring Olympic champion soccer player in my middle granddaughter, my oldest granddaughter will be attending college in the fall and my only grandson has committed to looking after me when I'm old.