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Challengers Chat: Laura Baxter’s 20 years at Challengers

Challengers Chat: December 2018 image

For the last Challengers Chat of 2018, we celebrate Laura Baxter, our Head of Quality who has been at Challengers for 20 years! Laura Sercombe, our CEO, writes about why she has been such a vital part of our team for the last two decades.

Laura Baxter, our Head of Quality, has worked for Challengers now for 20 years! That’s incredible to be able to work for an organisation for such a long time and be able to bring so much to every day that she comes to work – and she does…

Laura Baxter in office image

Laura leads the Quality Team who are responsible for looking after the very heartbeat of the charity – our people. They recruit, train, induct and support every member of the team before then checking in with them each year to ask what everyone thinks. This is a critical group of people and it needs someone really quite special to inspire and lead them in their work.

Laura has worked her way from the playfloor to the Senior Management Team, reporting directly to the Board of Trustees. In that time she has championed the voice of the child, inclusion and been our lead in delivering, alongside Paul Wilson, MAPA training, so that we can be the very best in supporting children and young people who at times struggle to manage their behaviour. She ensures the teams are ready to be able to include anyone who wants to come to Challengers and so is a real leader in challenging the barriers to play.

However, she also has an incredible impact on those who work alongside her, who are so quick to say how lovely she is to work with because she cares about her team and understands how to get the best from people. She can switch from a social chat to talk about a serious work issue in a seamless and natural way. Laura always thinks ahead of what might happen and what others don’t think of in all situations, and sometimes that feels hard to hear that something won’t work, but it’s helpful because she has got that forward thinking hat on!

She is a brilliant problem solver – if you have a problem she is the best person to talk it through with, which is probably why she is so in demand. With Laura you can be completely honest about anything as she doesn’t judge and is always flexible and open. She is known for being genuine, warm and caring as well as easy to talk to, which is why so many call her their friend.

Laura with Challengers colleagues image

Laura has achieved great things for the charity and for herself in the last 20 years – most noticeably her daughter Alma who, like her mother, is much loved. Laura is quite unique and her heart is with people – the children, young people and the staff and volunteer teams in and around this amazing Charity. We have all been lucky to have worked with her. Here’s to the next 20 years!