Breaking the mould
By launching private rented sector arm Fizzy Living, Geeta Nanda has led Thames Valley Homes in an ambitious new direction. Here she tells Jess McCabe why she’s not worried the move will change the identity of the sector as a whole
Geeta Nanda is walking out the door of the Twickenham offices of the housing association where she presides, when she spots a new receptionist. ‘Hello,’ she says, approaching the desk, ‘are you one of the new apprentices?’
‘Yes,’ the young man confirms shyly, as the silk blouse-clad chief executive shakes his hand. I get the impression he’s only the latest to succumb to the open face and friendly manner of the Thames Valley Housing boss. This encounter is typical of the 48-year-old Londoner: she is a people person, but also a bit of a political operator, deftly highlighting the fact that TVH employs apprentices. Three, in fact.
Perched atop a branch of Waitrose, the 14,500-home housing association – which operates across London and the south east, and which Ms Nanda has led for five-and-a-half years – has recently had a thoroughly modern makeover. We sit down to talk in ‘the hub’ – what in less public relations-obsessed times would have been known as a staff room.