Alice Laugher

'I'm proud of CTG's amazing staff – who put cause before personal risk.'

What has been the most interesting/challenging moment of your career? 
It’s been both growing a diversified business and unique business model from concept, to seeing our operations spread around the globe to 25 different countries from the Americas to the Middle East. CTG’s expansion has been enthralling to watch. We’re the market leader in many fragile and conflict-affected environments, including Somalia, where we have the largest number of clients and have been operational since 2010 – a seriously challenging country to work in.

The quality you most admire in others?
Service-based industries, particularly one involving people, always presents unique challenges – I admire our managers’ speed of problem solving and implementing new performance matrices based on lessons learnt.

How do you describe your company’s purpose?
From an operational perspective, we actively seek out and solve problems, run impressive humanitarian programmes and provide comprehensive project support for clients’ challenges in fragile and conflict-affected countries and disaster environments. We believe that sustainability is key to running a successful modern and responsible business; to that effect, CTG’s corporate governance structures, goals and aspirations are aligned with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and its 169 targets. CTG plays an active role in the implementation and achievement of SDG 16 and the United Nations Global Compact Business for Peace programme. We recognise the importance of peace and stability as a long-term foundation for development.

What are you most proud of with regard to CTG?
There are three key moments in our history: in 2007, we expanded CTG’s existing contract and operations from Afghanistan and our client base to include international humanitarian and development aid organisations, and governments, across 25 countries. In 2010, one of the biggest contracts for CTG commenced when we entered into a five-year Long Term Agreement with one of our clients to provide humanitarian project field support and human resources services globally. Subsequently, in 2015 this contract was extended through to 2022.

But the most important one for me is CTG’s amazing staff who put cause before personal risk, working in the extremely dangerous locations which need life-depending humanitarian assistance. For example: our staff who worked in our three ebola treatment clinics in Liberia, directly caring for patients with EVD, and others who distribute food to thousands of beneficiaries in dangerous locations such as Darfur, Helmand and [ebola] quarantined areas of Sierra Leone. Also, our incredibly hard-working and diligent core staff work 24/7 in the field to support these amazing humanitarians. This doesn’t cover all of our staff, however, it paints a picture as to what kind of risks these people take.

What have clients come to expect from CTG?
Honesty, transparency and consistency with responsive practical solutions towards their project deliverables. 

What do you believe sets CTG apart from its competitors?
Since the beginning, we have supported large organisations and humanitarian missions. The diverse client base means we work in a combination of remote, austere, conflict-prone and post-disaster environments. We have spent years developing our grassroots networks and local relationships, allowing us the ability to provide the highest level of duty of care for our staff. CTG’s combination of resources, proven methodology and technology support results above those of competitors, evidenced by the retention of numerous long-term client relationships. I believe we are unique in the sustainable business services we provide our clients.

The most important focus for CTG going forward?
There are a few key focuses:

  • To cement our reputation by continuing to develop new relationships and strengthen existing client engagements for long-term support.
  • To provide best-value options through innovation and collaborative partnerships with our clients.
  • Continual improvements of state-of-the-art support systems and technology for our staff in the field.
  • To raise awareness of the SDGs within our own networks, deepen our own engagement and foster humanitarian action.

Five years from now, what do you want the company to be? The go-to specialists for implementing development projects in fragile and conflict-affected environments and a leader in supporting migration and other humanitarian emergencies.

How does CTG complement the other offerings of the Chelsea Group?
The Chelsea Group offers a holistic support to any donor or aid agency in fragile and conflict-affected countries; CTG is an integral part of this with our turn-key project management and human resources solutions. Specialising in emergency and crisis response, CTG can be on the ground anywhere in the world within 24 hours. Our grassroots networks support the Chelsea Group’s international community requirements in high-risk areas through the recruitment and management of teams from a wide range of professional disciplines, from doctors to drivers, election monitors and engineers, to administrators and architects.

What do you believe is the strength of the Chelsea Group?
The Chelsea Group — with over 17 years’ operational presence and a proven record of high-end services and products across public and private sectors as well as NGOs — is well established to provide full end-to-end solutions in over 48 countries involving complex and often custom requirements. Whether these requirements involve risk/threat assessments, security infrastructure (including AVSEC) and specialised staff, or the mobilisation and installation of community power-generation needs and professional operators, to accommodation and catering capability — the Chelsea Group has a core strength in its mobile capability to understand and tailor client-integrated solutions, deploy worldwide, and deliver.

What have you learnt from your tenure as CEO of CTG?
Complacency is counter-productive; as CTG grows year-on-year, it is important to keep motivated to constantly evolve. Evidence of this is regularly presented through our humanitarian aid agency clients and their unique requirements, demanding innovative solutions. The world is approaching 7.5 billion people. There is currently the largest generation of young people than ever before, but also more economic inequality — this, along with sharp increases in migration, with 60 million people displaced by conflict, including 19.5 million refugees, and a cost of violence at 13.4% of world GDP, creates a demand for the private sector — in particular, the humanitarian project implementation capability of CTG’s networks and staff.

How does CTG contribute to the communities that you work within?
CTG, since its inception in 2005, actively engages and supports communities primarily in fragile and conflict-affected states (FCAS) through employing, training and mentoring thousands in a highly diverse workforce, ranging from professional academics, architects and engineers, to vocational and support staff in collaboration with humanitarian aid agencies. CTG staff continue to be a driving force in civil stability and direct and measurable local economic growth. The work CTG’s staff do directly impacts on and supports the local communities we work in, whether it is providing policy advisory to local governments and enabling a fair and equal right to vote, or building schools and clinics, enabling local education and healthcare, or reintegration programmes for displaced persons.

We have also created our own in-house charity initiative called CTG Giving that covers a broad range of community development.

  • Alice has 17 years’ experience in international HR management, and continues to provide recruitment support to NGOs, governments and commercial organisations on a global scale.
  • Taking over the company in 2007, she quickly expanded the existing operations from focusing solely on Afghanistan to include international humanitarian and development aid organisations worldwide. Today CTG are operational in 25 countries.
  • Alice is a Steering Committee Member for the UAE Network of the United Nations Global Compact and is proud to be an advocate for the Women’s Empowerment Principles and the Business For Peace Programme.
  • Her vision is for CTG to be a world leader in the provision of humanitarian and development project support in challenging environments globally.