Kathy Ellis - Research and Customer Insight Manager
What is your current role?
I’m the Research and Customer Insight Manager. I deliver and commission research projects that support the strategic goals of Clarion and help the organisation to better understand - and therefore better serve - its customers.
How has your career developed with Clarion?
About 10 years ago I secured the job of Policy Officer at Affinity Sutton and was tasked with collating some customer profiling data. My interest in who our customers were, and how our policy should incorporate their views and needs started from here. I started to take on a more market research approach to understanding customer views (my Masters was rooted in research and data so it was a neat fit) and I became a member of the Market Research Society. My manager at Clarion gave me the freedom to explore this area and really make a case for the importance of robust customer insight to the organisation. Eventually the post of Customer Insight Manager was created for me to step into and when Affinity Sutton merged with Circle, I was promoted to Research and Customer Insight Manager for the Group. I’m currently being supported by Clarion to study for my MBA with the Open University, so who knows what next…
What do you enjoy most about your job?
I know it’s a cliché, but no two days are the same. One day I might be creating a research design brief and commissioning a longitudinal study, the next I may be briefing a Group Executive team member on rent policy or providing evidence for use in a Select Committee. But mostly, I’d have to say, I enjoy the people. I have the privilege of working with many teams across Clarion, and I’m always impressed by colleagues’ enthusiasm for what they do, and commitment for making things work. Special mention to my own team too - the expertise available in the SPAR team is incredible, but you’ll never find a more inclusive, supportive and dedicated bunch of oddballs.
What is your favourite work memory?
It has to be ‘dancing’ (trying not to fall over) on the Clarion float at Brighton Pride. As an active ally in the LGBT+ network it’s really important to me that Clarion staff and residents can see that we stand shoulder- to-shoulder with them in the fight against all forms of discrimination. Overhearing a local resident on the route proudly telling their friend, “That’s my landlord there!” as we danced past was a particularly special moment.
What advice would you give to someone looking to join your team?
Be yourself. That’s so important – if you are trying to be something that you’re not, you won’t be happy.
Tell us an interesting fact about you.
Hmmm. Not sure what constitutes interesting. I’m quite into my music, so when not studying I would most likely be spotted on the dancefloor or at a live gig in Brighton. While in lockdown I’ve been dancing around the kitchen to my 1951 AMI Jukebox (bought with the money I was saving for my first car – I still don’t have a car…)