The Starlight Children’s Foundation mission is “To brighten the lives of seriously ill children and their families”.
In 2016 the organisation granted 426,238 “wishes“, sent 130 “Captain Starlight” ambassador into hospitals around the country making 58,496 ward visits and bringing fun to kids too sick to leave their hospital bed. The organisation also has “Starlight Express Rooms” in hospitals in every state in Australia to provide a state of the art escape for sick kids and their families.*
Bringing joy to sick kids is a very rewarding job, but the sad stories and reality of the job can be emotionally draining.
In this interview, Deborah Hutton talks to the Louise Baxter the CEO of the Starlight Children’s Foundation about the Starlight fundraising dinners she helps host and how to deal with the stories that drive the need for this organisation.
“I always focus on the positive. For these children and their families they have been thrown into a completely different environment, one they never expected the day before diagnosis,” Louise said.
“We see their fear, their stress, their pain but what we’re doing seven days a week is replacing that with fun, laughter and joy.”
Louise said the improving survival rates of children was encouraging, with fewer children passing away.
“It’s important for us when the child does pass those parents still have positive and powerful memories, and for those children who are now surviving their cancers and cystic fibrous, they are coming back into the hospital, and it reframes their hospitalisation.”
In this next segment of our interview, Louise talks about how she finds her Balance.
Louise said you need to take time out, no matter what you are doing.
“For me, I eat healthily all the time – which is sometimes hard when you’re on the run,” Louise said.
“I really make sure I get my exercise in.”
Louise said it’s important to play to her strengths and appreciate the beauty around you.
“When you do have a full diary, being mindful of the people you’re with when you’re with them is really important,” she said.
“I’m a sports enthusiast, the thing that I like about sport is… you have to clean your mind of everything else.”
Louise said it was important to do things that keep every other piece of clutter out of your mind.
Watch more from our interview with Louise Baxter
Is charity work right for you? Starlight CEO talks about finding passion in your purpose.
About Louise Baxter
Louise has over 30 years experience in marketing, sales and communications including responsibility for a range of blue chip international brands and government projects. Louise was a member of the Sydney board of Leo Burnett Connaghan and May Advertising and was the founding partner of Brave New World Advertising.
Louise originally joined Starlight in 2001 and was the Head of Partnerships for six years. She returned to Starlight from the corporate sector in 2009 to take on the role as Chief Executive.
In her time as Chief Executive Louise has been responsible for significant Starlight program development and expansion funded by sustainable revenue growth. She is focused on delivering results through people. Starlight has been awarded AON Hewitt Best employer accreditation in 2012 and 2014, the only charity to receive this accreditation. Starlight was named in the BRW Great Places to Work, ranked at #7, and the Starlight brand has been recognized as the most reputable children’s charity in Australia*.
Louise is committed to continually improving the impact of Starlight programs, and the two recent social return on investment (SROI) studies have proven Starlight to be delivering between $4 to over $5 for every $1 invested.
*Australian Financial Review, 12 September 2014