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Louise Larkins - Soft Services Manager

Name, Job Title, Years in Serco

Louise Larkins, Soft Services Manager, 22 years in Serco

Tell us a little bit about your role?

I manage the delivery of cleaning, waste management and pest control at one of our leading university contracts in Abu Dhabi. I have been in this role since September 2013 and truly love my job despite the challenges. My team and I have worked very hard to meet and exceed our client’s expectations. In the last 2 years, throughout the pandemic, our cleaning staff has been instrumental in ensuring that students and faculty can return to campus feeling safe and protected knowing that full and thorough cleaning and sanitising is undertaken daily. Our efforts have been very much acknowledged and appreciated by them and our client.



Describe your career progression, and what has supported you to progress to a senior position?

I was transferred from the NHS to Serco in November 2000. I worked within the soft services department doing a variety of roles: I was in a supervisory role initially, then in 2002 I was promoted to customer support manager, which led me to be based in Wishaw General Hospital in Scotland. I was able to travel throughout the UK to help with the training of housekeeping staff as we acquired new contracts. During this time, I met Will Goodwin who later took up the role as Bid Director for Serco in the Middle East. He had been supportive of my work and achievements and asked if I could support a healthcare contract in the Middle East. This is the point in my career when I moved to the Middle East and I have been here ever since.

At Serco, 50% of our Executive Management Team is made up of females – how do you feel the business has supported you?

I was given the opportunity to come to the Middle East nearly 10 years ago, during a time when there were very few females in senior roles. This has now changed completely! I’d like our young, up- and-coming female leaders to know that if they work hard, opportunities will be available to them.

What barriers have you personally faced in your career when progressing into senior positions, and what advice would you give to others to overcome these?

Looking back, I see that I created my own barriers – I doubted myself and my ability. I encourage others to have more confidence in themselves and not fall into the trap of self-doubt.

What do you think makes a good leader?

A good leader is a role model who is approachable, kind and respectful of all.

How do you balance work and life responsibilities?

I take the time to enjoy myself when I can. On the weekends I like to go to brunches – socialising gives me the balance that I need to not feel overworked.  

What has been the highlight of your career so far?

Moving to the Middle East will always be the highlight of my career. It gifted me with so many opportunities and I am thankful to Serco for that.

Who inspires you and why?

I am inspired by numerous people who have overcome many personal obstacles and continue to make the most of life. This includes myself!

What advice would you give to the next generation of female leaders in Serco?

Work hard, aim high and enjoy!