As the year draws to a close, we want to reflect on everything we achieved as a network in 2023 and share some exciting plans for next year. Who better to hear it from than our Director General, Alessandro Cesale. Alessandro has been leading the Eurhonet Secretariat since 2016 and is central to ensuring the development of our network and the success of our activities.
We hear from Alessandro Cesale, Director General of Eurhonet…
Alessandro, after a packed year, what have been your top three highlights of 2023?
“Indeed, it’s been quite a busy year! We held many events and set the basis for some collaborations that will develop further in 2024.
However, if I have to shortlist only three highlights, I would say that completing our Structure and Governance Review and adopting our new Statutes was the big task we concluded this year. Clearly, we should consider this as a starting point for our network: innovating and adapting should be an ongoing process. It doesn’t end with a legal formality!
We also developed a new visual identity and launched a new website. We believe that the website and our social media presence will help us in developing Eurhonet as a community, as we will have a better platform to share and promote our learnings and achievements.
Last, but certainly not least, we have reinforced our Secretariat with a new staff member – Rose, our Communications and Outreach Coordinator, who joined us only in April but got up to speed very quickly!”
Planning for next year is already well under way. What are you particularly looking forward to?
“The Leadership Summit and the General Assembly (GA) are, as every year, two key events for Eurhonet. Although it is too early to define the theme for our October GA and Conference, we already plan for the Leadership Summit to revolve around a benchmarking exercise. This will provide us an opportunity to share success factors, offer concrete tips for increasing customer satisfaction, and highlight both the soft and hard values of a tenant-driven approach.
I am also looking forward to the first Council of Administration meeting of the year. It will take place in Valencia and will include a workshop hosted by the AVS (Spanish Social Housing Association) to learn more about the Spanish housing system. It will be great to find out about new countries and potentially expand our network!
This year, we also started a dialogue with Bauhaus Earth and the Disruptive Innovators Network. We hope to build on these relationships further to deliver added value to our members in 2024 and the years ahead.
2024 will be a year for change on a broader EU landscape…
“Yes, being based in Brussels, it’s impossible to miss that next year there will be the EU elections. Our partner Housing Europe is advocating on a policy level to push for the best possible framework for public and social housing providers in Europe. As always, we are keen to support Housing Europe’s work by feeding insights from our members into their evidence-based policy mechanism. Indeed, this year we developed our Best Practice Library and received many new examples from our members!”
What are the main challenges we need to address as a network in 2024?
“Looking back, we’ve done so many things and learnt so much at each meeting. So, our collective challenge is to ensure that more colleagues can benefit from this knowledge. This means making sure all staff members in our organisations know what Eurhonet is about and the learning opportunities available to them, such as our Topic Groups, Talent Academy and Exchange Programme.
It will also be key to engage both our long-standing and recent members to make sure we are responding to their actual needs and expectations. I’ll take the opportunity to thank and welcome again Stadtsiedlung Heilbronn GmbH, Arezzo Casa Spa and ARCA Puglia Centrale, joining us in January next year, for bringing in new perspectives and energy to our network!”
What message would you like to give to Eurhonet members at the end of this successful year?
“First, I would like to thank everybody: our Council of Administration, CEOs, Coordinators, and everyone who was able to attend our meetings and feed into the discussions by sharing what they do well.
Our General Assemblies and Leadership Summits are certainly great opportunities to address strategic issues, report on our work, and network. However, the ‘engine’ of Eurhonet remains the Topic Groups. So, thanks to our dedicated Topic Group Leaders, and all the engineers, architects, social workers, building managers, IT and comms experts, practitioners (the list goes on!) who attended these meetings and brought so much first-hand experience!
Have a great festive season and see you all in 2024!”