A photo of Whitney smiling in a library

Whitney Papa

HeadStart marketing manager

An interview with Whitney Papa

Whitney joined The Challenge in June 2017, after completing her masters. She started as assistant programme manager with HeadStart, before stepping into her current role of HeadStart’s marketing and communications manager.

HeadStart offers young people a step up into the world of work, with interview preparation and volunteering, all designed help them secure their first role.

A typical working day is…

“I’m a morning person so I usually get in early and get focused on updating trackers, identifying areas we need to focus on and getting up-to-date on the HeadStart applications. That means I can work with our calling agents to look at our targets so the programme reaches the people who will most benefit.

Our call agents follow up with applications in-progress by calling young people to see if they need help with finding somewhere to volunteer so they can fully sign-up. I’ll then produce emails, have them lined up and ready to go and create ad hoc emails too. I also look at how we can improve our social media presence and manage incoming queries from our website. It’s really about making sure we’re communicating in the right way to the right audience.”

My favourite thing about my job is…

“I really love problem-solving, it’s one of my favourite things. So when an issue comes up I love solving it and enjoy putting out any fires. I love looking at emails we’ve sent out and see what content got the best results and what could do with a change, to help more people benefit from what we are offering.”

The thing I find most challenging about my job is…

“I am new to the role and this means that everything I do is of equal importance – so I am learning to get my priorities straight!”

When I’m not working…

“I enjoy cooking and baking. I ran my own bakery business for a while here in London, but right now I just bake for fun. My partner bought a house and we’ve been expanding our skills in the garden this summer. The rubble is gone and we’ve planted flowers and tomatoes – it’s been a great learning opportunity.”

What is your favourite quote?

It’s one by William Boyd in his book Any Human Heart.

‘These ten-year chunks that are doled out to you in passports are a cruel form of memento mori. How many more new passports will I have? One (1965)? Two (1975)? Such a long way off, 1975, yet your passport life seems all too brief. How long did he live? He managed to renew six passports.’

The book is my favourite and changed the way I look at life. My passports tell a story of my life – they remind me of my travels and memories, they remind me of where I come from, and each time I renew it I realise that another ten years have passed.”

Interested in working at The Challenge?

Check out our Careers page to find all our latest vacancies. You can also discover more about The Challenge’s people and what it takes to deliver our mission in our other five minute employee profiles.

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