E154 - Ensuring the best beginning with Alison Baum
Updated: Aug 16
“From adversity comes the opportunity to make a difference.” - Alison Baum
In this episode, we speak with Alison Baum, CEO and Founder of Best Beginnings, a charity dedicated to supporting parents, co-parents and care-givers to give their children the best beginning in life. This podcast explores several themes including Alison Baum’s inspiring journey to CEO and Founder of Best Beginnings, the organisation's vision & mission, The Baby Buddy app, the impact of the pandemic, EDI and ‘The Babies in Lockdown’ report.
1. Alison Baum’s inspiring journey
Alison Baum shares that there are three things that led to founding Best Beginnings organisations. First, Alison’s inspiring uncle David, who was a pediatrician and believed that you should always make a difference when you can. Secondly, Alison has two sons, both of whom were born early and required care. This resulted in raising Alison’s awareness of the health inequalities across the UK. Alison wanted to set up a charity to improve the outcomes for families, parents and children across the board.
2. Key findings of ‘The Babies in Lockdown’ report
Alison said that it’s clear from the report that the pandemic is exacerbating existing inequalities. The report highlighted the lack of face-to-face provision which is allowing children to ‘fall through the cracks’ in the system.
Other charities helped to shape the survey and Best Beginnings worked hard to ensure representation. “Collaboration is one of our guiding principles, it’s not just working with other parents and professionals but also charities.” - Alison Baum
Alison highlighted that the pandemic and the event of the Black Lives Matter movement means that no one can deny the inequalities that exist in the UK.
For Alison, it is clear that everyone can ‘always do better’ when it comes to EDI. It’s important to highlight that there are different aspects to EDI, diversity in all its forms and intersectionality. As CEO and Founder, Alison is proud of diversity in the Best Beginnings team. A diverse team allows the charity to benefit from diversity of thought. With her team she has created a safe space where people can share when something doesn't feel right.
Alison believes that people should be provided with healthcare information to make their own informed decisions, rather than being told what to do. Too often inequalities look within a deficit model, however the team at Best Beginnings follow an asset approach, because they see the strength of families from different backgrounds.
4. The key opportunities the pandemic brought for leadership
Despite the many challenges the pandemic brought us, the team at Best Beginnings found themselves in an advantageous position, because digital and innovation is at the heart of everything they do.
Alison has also put measures in place to support the team’s mental health, such as mental health first aid training and making the team feel connected during home-working. Alison believes that you should not lose sight of your charity’s journey because this helps the team to move forward collectively.
We hope you enjoy this week’s episode.
This episode is brought to you by our platinum sponsor Charity People.
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