The co-founder of Women in Social Housing (WISH) is set to step down from the role of chair after 20 years’ service.

WISH, which champions and connects women who work in the UK housing sector through bespoke networking events, announced that Debra Constance will be retiring and handing over the reins to Tracey McEachran, who will be taking up a newly created role as president.

It’s over two decades since Debra Constance and Nicola Dibb set up WISH with an aim of attracting new female talent into the sector, supporting women’s career progression, working towards gender equality and reducing the gender pay gap.

Debra became chair of the group in 2019 after it become a community interest company (CIC). Over the years she has seen the group grow from a small gathering of people based in London to over 500 subscribed members spanning across 10 regions in the UK.

Debra said: “It’s been an honour to be involved from the start of WISH to the present day. I have made so many friends as a result of our networking and received the most amazing support, camaraderie, advice and love from many of the people I have met over the years.

“I feel proud to be stepping down at a time when WISH has successfully evolved into a CIC and is being managed by a strong team of women regionally and strategically.

“I know that the CIC and regional boards will join me in supporting our new President in this new role and we wish her all the best.”

Debra is planning to spend her retirement doing some of the things she loves – travel, spending time with her family and friends and fulfilling her ambition and passion to master sign language.

Tracey McEachran takes up her new role but is not new to WISH. She was previously a director of the WISH CIC and was chair of the London regional board from 2018 until late 2022.

Tracey comes from a commercial background and currently runs her own business, Curious Minds Consulting. Her first coaching clients were in housing and this is where she developed her passion for social housing.

Tracey said: “I am absolutely delighted to have been appointed to the new role of WISH President. I look forward to starting my role in earnest and to engaging and collaborating with other board members to establish my priority areas for the duration of my tenure.

“It’s an exciting time for WISH, whilst we know that gender equality has come some way, there is without doubt work still to do.  I look forward to leading WISH’s amazing network of committed women to making a positive difference.”

To find out more about Women in Social Housing or to join forthcoming events, please visit www.wishgb.co.uk