Rising Star Rishi third in Harrogate vote
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Bromford neighbourhood manager Rishi Spolia put up a spirited performance in Inside Housing's Rising Stars final - and came third in a nail-biting live vote at the Housing 2011 conference in Harrogate this afternoon (Thursday).
He was one of three housing professionals who got through to the final day of the high-profile annual event organised by the Chartered Institute of Housing (CIH) and faced a fierce question-and-answer session.
The final question was posed by housing minister Grant Shapps who asked 'what one thing would you do if you were me?' To which Rishi replied that he would aim to bring public and private sectors together more effectively to provide more low cost home ownership. And then came the final vote by delegates in the main conference hall.
Rishi came third despite a strong onstage performance, with Exeter Council housing needs manager Chris Hancock coming second and Carla Keegans, head of involvement and policy at City of London Corporation named as outright winner.
Two more Rising Stars finalists failed to make the final cut at the end of Wednesday after two hectic days of private meetings with celebrity guests, top-level briefings and onstage showdowns that ended with live electronic voting.
"Making it into the final three was the big one for me so I am not too disappointed at the final outcome as I did my best and have really enjoyed the whole experience," said Rishi, who manages a team of Bromford Living housing managers in Staffordshire.
"This has been a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for me to network with some incredible people, to speak to huge audiences of fellow housing professionals and to learn."
Typically, Rishi paid tribute to Bromford colleagues and everyone else who voted for him - as well as his fellow finalists. "I've got a lot of respect for the winner, Carla, and the other finalists -including the two who didn't make it through to the final day," said Rishi.
"The competition was tough but it really gave me a boost knowing that I had my colleagues in the Midlands behind me and when it came to today I thought to myself there is no reason why I can't go all the way.
"I didn't quite get there but gave it my best shot and I am happy with that."
Watching Rishi perform today and willing him to win was Bromford chief executive Mick Kent, who said: "I am really proud of Rishi and what he has achieved here at Harrogate. I know that colleagues from Bromford - and elsewhere in the Midlands - have been right behind him.
"Rishi has so many great qualities and one that most comes to mind is his passion. Regardless of the outcome today, he has proved himself to be a real winner."
As well as the honour of becoming the first overall Rising Star, winner Carla gets a career-boosting package of prizes that includes a day shadowing Mr Shapps, an invitation to speak at Housing 2012 in Manchester and £1,000 to spend on learning.
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