Q&A with Chief Operating Officer Kathleen Llewellyn-Thomas

Q&A with Chief Operating Officer Kathleen Llewellyn-Thomas

September 10, 2013

Kathleen Llewellyn-Thomas joined Toronto Community Housing on September 3 as Chief Operating Officer. A seasoned and committed senior public servant, Kathleen brings more than three decades of management and leadership experience in municipal planning and design, transportation services, and housing development in Toronto and York Region, as well as her expertise as a professional engineer.

Public Affairs spoke to Kathleen about her new role.

How will your past experience benefit you in your new role with Toronto Community Housing?

I know how to turn a strategic vision into operational reality and that's how I can help implement the vision Gene and the Board have for TCHC. In my view, operations is operations. When I was with York Region, my job was to provide mobility for residents by getting the snow off the road and making the buses run on time; here, it will be my responsibility to provide good homes for residents by getting a door fixed, putting in new lights and responding promptly to people's concerns.

What are your goals as Chief Operating Officer?

I want to help reach our goal of becoming a landlord of excellence. I want to work with staff teams to establish or fine tune our operating practices, deliver on our level of service commitments and ensure that staff are well-trained, properly equipped and understand operating procedures. I want to establish excellent practices that become embedded in our company so that years from now, when this generation of staff has moved on, Toronto Community Housing will still be well run and provide consistent and high service to our residents.

You started your career in Toronto, before joining York Region. Are you excited to return?

I am,a nd I'm especially excited to be joining Toronto Community Housing. I am passionate about building community; the social housing we provide contributes to complete communities which are diverse and inclusive. This company does good work and plays an important role in the city. Returning to Toronto feels like coming home.

What is one thing you hope to achieve at Toronto Community Housing?

Across Toronto and the GTA, there is a housing and employment problem. It might surprise you to hear me say that, given my background in transportation. But I believe that transportation, housing affordability, location and quality of employment, and social equity are all linked to one another.

I think the public sees transportation as a problem for "us" and affordable housing as a problem for "them". "I hope to make a difference in changing that perspective, because as Mother Teresa said, "We can do no great things, only small things, with great love."