Interview with Chair of Poplar HARCA

Interview with Chair of Poplar HARCA

Bernadette Conroy

Bernadette Conroy is the Chair of Poplar HARCA. She has been a member of the board for 10 years and has seen many changes in Poplar during this time. She will be leaving the board in 2015 and Poplar HARCA are currently recruiting a new chair. read more about Bernadette and her experience.


SAY IT!: During your time as Chair what has really stood out for you about Poplar?

Bernadette Conroy: The people! I’ve been inspired by so many people both residents and staff.  The level of enthusiasm and hard work is amazing and everyone has been so supportive.


SI!: If you had 3 words to sum up your role at Poplar HARCA what would they be?

BC: Challenging, rewarding and fun


SI!: What advice would you give to a future Chair?

BC: Don’t mention Spurs to Steve Stride on a Monday morning after they’ve lost!!  Seriously though, sometimes there are difficult decisions to be made but if you follow the values of the organisation, the right answer will be clear.


SI!: What will you take away from this experience of working in Poplar?

BC: More than I can say. I have learned so much during my time at Poplar.  I’ve had a fantastic Board and they have been incredibly supportive.  I’ve been very lucky that in the course of my career I have worked for a number of organisations and across many geographies. But I can say, hand on heart, that Poplar is where I have gained the most satisfaction.  We have achieved so much and although there still a lot to be done, I hope we have set a good course to continue on a path of improvement


SI!: What was the best book you read in 2014?

BC: Well 2014 was a busy year and I can honesty say I didn’t find much time for reading.  But my all time favourite non fiction book is “A woman of Egypt” by Jehan Sadat and in terms of fiction, I loved the Harry Potter books which I read to my kids when they were younger and I thought the imagination in them was incredible. In fact, I’m not really sure whether I read them for my kids or for myself!!


SI!: What are you looking forward to in 2015?

BC: I’m really looking forward to some projects in Poplar getting underway.  The refurbishment of Balfron tower is very exciting and our plans for Chrisp Street are progressing well.  Aberfeldy is also well underway and I’m also hoping we will have a new health centre opening on St Paul’s Way.

I’m not sure that I am looking forward to May.  I think there is always a lot of uncertainty around the time of a general election and politics starts to creep into everyday life which isn’t always helpful. But whatever the result, we will continue to stay focused on our community and the delivery of our strategy for Poplar. 

What I’m not looking forward to is my first time going through GCSEs with my eldest son.  He seems totally relaxed of course whereas I am already starting to get stressed!!!

Have you been inspired by Bernadette? Would you like apply for the role of Chair of Poplar HARCA? The interview process has just started! If you want to know more or find out more contact Fintan on or 020 7510 6505