“I feel like I’ve come home”

14th December 2018

Horseracing Membership Manager Louise Harwood and Membership Secretary Gaby Maxwell tell us about their long-serving careers at Goodwood and what they love most about their current roles.

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What do your jobs entail?

Gaby – A large part of my job entails facilitating the Goodwood Racehorse Owners’ Group (GROG), including the admin work behind it, speaking to the Members, working on newsletters, renewals, updating the website and arranging and attending the social events. In terms of the Horseracing Club, I assist Louise in all aspects, such as renewals, email communications, helping out with events such as the recent Christmas Ball and organising trips.

On a raceday I will be the point of contact at the West Entrance, before joining Louise to provide for the Members in the Members’ Bar.

Louise – I am responsible for looking after the GHRC as a whole. I’m always looking to get insight into our Membership experience and understand what our Members want. That may mean talking directly to them, or trying to experience the Racecourse from their perspective - For example I have used the shuttle bus service to the Racecourse from Chichester. When I started, we surveyed the Members and I constantly revisit the results to see how we can improve.

I also look at other Membership clubs to see ways we can improve. For me, it’s about ensuring our Members have the best experience we can give them, it’s a club and we want them to feel that they are part of something special!

Louise, what would say has been the highlight of this year?

It was great to introduce the new picnic berths in the car park, as this offered something really lovely for the Members. However, the thing that has pleased me most is the feedback that we have received. There has been a real sense that our Members know that we have listened and they can see the improvements that we have made. That for me is so satisfying.

Another highlight of my year was attending The Racing Industry Course, which was a week residential course, run by the British Racing School in Newmarket. This has helped me develop a greater understanding of the industry and its intricacies. What I found particularly interesting was the insight into the racing element of the course including a visit to Sir Mark Prescott’s yard and an early morning start on Warren Hill to watch the horses ride out on the gallops.  

Gaby, how have you found your new role so far?

I have been in this position for just two and a half months now and already I can say I’m loving it! It has been great to have a new perspective of Goodwood and great to be working with people, which is my passion.

Something I love about horseracing is that it is enjoyed by people from all walks of life. Our Members come from many different backgrounds, but are united by a shared passion.

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You have both worked at Goodwood for a few years in different roles, describe your time here.

G – I have been at Goodwood for eight-and-a-half years. I started as a temp in reception in the House and loved it, and before long the chance came up to join on a permanent, part-time basis. That lead to more part-time work as an Executive Assistant for two people, followed by some company secretary work and eventually a position with the legal team, which I have now done for five years. When this position came up, I jumped at the chance. I get the best of both worlds now; up at the Racecourse in the mornings then back down to the House in the afternoons.

I'm always happy to come in to work, what makes Goodwood special is the sense of family, which filters down to everybody.

L –I started 27 years ago covering Racecourse reception on racedays, based in the old weighing room. I joined the ticketing team, doing some admin work with them, before switching to work on the Festival of Speed as part of the PR team. I then began working in exhibitions as the Exhibitions Sales Manager.

I had always wanted this Membership Secretary job as it involved working with people. When it came up a few years ago, I wasn't in a position to take it as my son was still at school, so when it became available more recently, I felt like it was just meant to be. I feel like I’ve waited 27 years to get this job and now here I am! I feel like I've come home.

What excites you most about working here?

L – For me it is all about the Members, all about ensuring that the members have the very best experience that we can give them.

G – It’s the most beautiful racecourse, other courses don’t compare and I think to be a part of that, part of the community, is particularly special.

For anyone who might be considering joining the GHRC, why would you recommend it?

L – Our Members gain access to facilities that you wouldn't ordinarily have access to on a raceday, with the chance to enjoy the Richmond Enclosure facilities during the Qatar Goodwood Festival. But as much as that, it’s about becoming a part of the Goodwood club family. Plus, there are so many benefits, such as access to The Kennels, Festival of Speed, Revival, county cricket matches, polo, Hickstead...

G – I hadn't realised how much there is to Membership – 40 reciprocal events as well as the opportunity to enjoy the best facilities across 19 days of racing here at Goodwood.

What can Members look forward to in 2019?

L – We're excited about the next phase of developments taking place in the March Stand, which will build upon the improvements already made to the betting and café facilities. In January, we are taking Members to Ireland to enjoy a day’s hospitality at the races, as well as a visit to the Irish National Stud and the internationally-renowned Coolmore stud. Plus, there will be more top-quality racing here and hopefully much more sunshine!

If you are interested in becoming a Member of Goodwood Racecourse, you can sign up to the Waiting List by following the link below:

JOIN THE WAITING LIST

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