Employee Stories – Sheena Bowen
Name: Sheena Bowen
Role: Cardiff Service Manager
Linc Cymru is a Housing Association and Care provider, so as you can imagine, we are all about people and believe in creating the right environment for people to flourish. And the people that make that happen are our passionate and dedicated colleagues.
‘Employee Stories’ will highlight individuals and teams within Linc and shine a light on the incredible work they do within the organisation. This ‘Employee Stories’ will focus on Sheena Bowen, our Cardiff service manager.
Sheena has been working with us for a grand total of 15 years; she celebrated her 15th year at Linc on May 8th 2022, so we ask everyone to raise a glass and congratulate Sheena on such a marvellous achievement!
Sheena has enjoyed a few different jobs while working with Linc, but she’s currently our Cardiff service manager. We asked Sheena what her current job entails, she responded, “I never know where to start with this question! My role is so varied, and I think that’s why I’ve stayed in it for so long because every day is different.” We often find that our employees relish their roles because of the variety that comes on a day-to-day basis. Sheena continued, “So my role as the Cardiff service manager involves looking after our Extra Care services which are Llys Enfys and Plas Bryn.
“It can involve having high-end meetings with social services, partnership meetings with the council, hospital meetings, doing assessments in the community for potential applicants, and so much more. It’s so varied and that is what keeps it interesting.”
As you can tell, Sheena has a very varied role that has plenty of responsibilities, so we wondered what some of the daily important decisions were that she has to make, and she answered, “There’s lots of decision making, especially around allocations and the customers we house in our projects, we need to make sure that we’re taking in the right applicants to make sure they’re cared and supported for appropriately.
“Sometimes those decisions are difficult, especially because of the pressures everyone is under with the hospital discharge team, so it’s important to make those decisions in the right mind and make sure it’s right for the person and not just for the business or the hospital and councils. Sometimes it’s not easy decisions but they have to be made in the best interest of the person.”
Often with important decisions comes great rewards and working in the housing sector reaps many rewards and high job satisfaction. Sheena elaborated, “Speaking for myself and my team, we’re not in it for the job title it’s because we’re passionate about what we do and what we deliver is for the customers. We have their best interests at heart and that’s why we stay in our roles for so long because it’s more of a passion than just a job.” Despite some challenges and hurdles that Sheena and her team may face, they always ensure the best outcomes and decisions for our customers and their loved ones, and this is something that Sheena in particular loves about her role with Linc.
When asked to explain further her favourite parts of her role as Cardiff service manager, Sheena responded, “There are different parts I really enjoy, but ultimately, it’s about job satisfaction and the reward of seeing the customersflourish.”
She continued, “Part of our role is we carry out different assessments in the community and you can be shocked at the way people live, whether that’s by choice or out of circumstance. For us, being able to help that person and give them a better quality of life in a safer, nicer, and kinder environment where they are going to get the right care and support is priceless. We’ve seen some customers where their lives have completely turned around for the better and I think there’s nothing more rewarding, and it’s great to be able to share those moments with your team too.”
As Sheena explains, people are at the heart of everything we do here at Linc, so being able to provide our customers with the best possible care and homes that suit their needs is very important to us. We always aim to put our customers first, and our passionate and dedicated colleagues, such as Sheena and her team, are able to achieve this through their hard work and genuine care for the people and families that they work with.
Even from day one at Linc, Sheena has been drawn to the appeal of helping others. Since first joining the Linc family back in 2007, Sheena has taken every opportunity to grow within Linc and work in roles where she gets to be around people and help others.
So, we asked her how she got into the Extra Care team at Linc, and she said, “Before I joined Linc in 2007 I was in an administrative job, and it didn’t spark anything for me and I was a bit bored! The original job I saw advertised was in the maintenance department, which is completely different from what I do now.
“I worked hard, I used to plan all the new kitchens and bathrooms, and manage all the health and safety contracts, and it got to a point where I wanted to try something different as it wasn’t challenging me. Because I used to have some interaction with the customers and other departments in the extra care and care and support field, I thought I’d like to have even more interaction with the customers and that’s where my interest came from.”
Sheena continued, “I had a temporary post in the contact centre to get more knowledge and skills around dealing with tenancy issues and customers in general. I did that for a bit and I soon realised I wanted to be out in the field with the customers, and that’s how I came into the Extra Care sector of Linc. I was really lucky because the opportunities were there, I took them, and I managed to work my way into the field.”
As someone who clearly has a great deal of ambition and motivation to achieve great things, we were interested to hear if Sheena has any future career goals. She said, “I’ve already made lots of jumps in my career! I feel established in this role, so I’m happy where I am right now, although you never know what might happen next with Linc since there are so many opportunities that come up. I would like to move up in the future, to what I’m not sure, I would like to stay in Extra Care as that’s where my passion lies, the future is always changing!”
At Linc, we love to work with those who enjoy helping people just as much as we do. As well as this, we also want our colleagues to work in sectors of Linc that best suit them and their passions, like Sheena finding her calling in Extra Care. One aspect of Linc that Sheena utilised is the career opportunities we can create for our teams. Sheena explained that “There’s always training opportunities. Linc has always been willing to support me, especially when I moved into the Extra Care field, I found there were a lot of opportunities to engage with training that would help me with my role which I happily took and completed.”
She continued “And further down my career line when I became a manager for Extra Care, I qualified with my Level 5 Diploma in Leadership for Health & Social Care Services (Adults Residential management) in Wales & NI. Even though it was a really difficult course I enjoyed doing it and Linc was very supportive throughout and allowed me to complete lessons within work time if I had the time and capacity.”
We want our colleagues to be in a role that they love and feel passionate about because job satisfaction and happiness are what make for a great work environment and culture. We always want to ensure we have opportunities on offer for our teams, Sheena commented “Sometimes my colleagues say to me,
‘I’d love to try this,’ and I say to them,
‘Well, why can’t you?’
So, I support them by finding out what is available such as grants, funding, or training, and it’s very rare that Linc will come back and say ‘no’ – they might say ‘we can’t do this, but how about we do this instead?’ So they are very good with training opportunities in my experience which is a great value for a company.”
Through grasping the opportunities that we had on offer, Sheena and many others across the Linc have found their calling in a field that they love.
As you can tell, Sheena loves her role in Extra Care, she explained that she relishes this sector because “even though we are one Linc, one team, we are also our own entity which has its positives in that we’re a close-knit team.
She elaborated, “In my immediate team, the work ethic is strong and we’re all in it for the same reason – you deal with customers face-to-face, and you can have an impact on their life, so you have to work as a team and I enjoy that, it’s a nice feeling.”
She also highlighted the benefits of working in Extra Care, “Our Extra Care schemes are in beautiful environments, and we’re so lucky to get to work in them every day and it makes such a difference to work in a nice environment and we have lovely facilities.
Sheena continued, “I like that Linc is trusting with their teams too, I think that’s really important as with Extra Care you’re left to your own devices and the team feel trusted to get on and do a good job and that goes a long way as they feel appreciated.”
Our Extra Care schemes create rewarding yet challenging job roles, but it is often the projects and tasks that are hard work that end up being the most rewarding. So, we asked Sheena would she recommend Extra Care to those in different Linc teams or those who are looking for a career change. She said, “I would absolutely – Extra Care is where my heart is so I would definitely recommend people to apply for roles in this sector. I think sometimes people think when they’ve been in a role, company, or sector for a long time they can’t move into another field, but you can and it’s never too late!”
That being said, we asked Sheena would she recommend those coming out of schooling to join; nowadays, everyone thinks they need a degree or qualifications, but Sheena dispelled this by saying, “I was always very academic at school and I did well in my GCSEs and went to college – I had no clue what I wanted to do and I fell into Linc and had the opportunities to progress and change my career path, so I never went to university.
She continued, “So, I didn’t have any specific degrees and my advice would be to not feel put off if you don’t have a degree because for me the on-site experience was invaluable and there are always opportunities to learn on the job and get qualifications that way.”
“We’ve always promoted across our sites that if anybody wanted to come down and see what a day in Extra Care looks like they’re more than welcome and can shadow a member of the team. It can be quite overwhelming at times as it’s constantly busy, but then you’re not sat at a desk doing the same thing for seven hours straight either – and I think this draws people in.”
Sheena truly lives and breathes for Extra Care, and we are so happy to have had her as part of our team for the past 15 years spreading her enthusiasm and dedication throughout any team she has been a part of.
Finally, we needed to know her secret to finding a job that you want to happily stay in for 15 years. Sheena answered, “Don’t give up! I could have easily been knocked down and thought ‘I’m going to give up,’ but I didn’t give up and kept going. You have to be happy in your role and make the most of it – I have a really supportive team and manager and that helps endlessly too – so follow your dreams and don’t give up until you’re where you want to be in your career.”