We had the good fortune of connecting with Margaret Bayston and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Margaret, how do you think about risk?
I consider risk as having the courage to face the fear of uncertainty. I try to think about risk as a chance or an opportunity to give something up in order to gain something better. If I don’t take any risks in my life then I feel as though I won’t have accomplished as much by the end of my life as I could have done. Also, I’m fairly sure I would have missed out on some incredible experiences. In my personal life I would say the greatest risk I took was when I gave up a promising legal career and proximity to my close knit family to follow my boyfriend (now my husband of 26 years) from the UK to Paris, France. We didn’t know anyone, we didn’t speak the language and we had less than 2 months to make the decision. We considered it an opportunity – an adventure if you like and we went for it! It lasted 4 amazing years where we lived in two beautiful areas of central Paris, we made some lifelong friends, learned to speak French fluently and gained more knowledge about food, wine and French culture than we could ever have imagined possible. It was probably one of the riskiest moves, yet definitely one of the best we have ever made. From a career prospective one of the riskiest moves I have ever made was to start a $5 million Capital Campaign during the last financial depression of 2008 to 2010. I calculated the risks of success with my team and decided that the need outweighed the risk of failing and so we had to move forward. We completed the project 4 months ahead of target and $500,000 under our budget.

Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?
Laura’s House is a non profit organization focused on providing programs and services to those affected by domestic violence. We began in 1994 when a local woman was killed in a domestic violence situation and her abuser was never held accountable. Her mother came to our founders and asked us to start an agency to provide support and resources to others in our community who need them so her daughter’s death would not have been for nothing. We started with a small counseling center where we gave therapy and resources to people who were experiencing domestic violence in their life. With the help of a big hearted donor we were able to purchase a property to open an emergency residential shelter within 12 months and we have now grown to an organization with 100 + employees, over 500 volunteers, multiple residential facilities, two counseling and resource centers and two large resale stores. One of the biggest challenges we faced, like many other organizations was how to pivot our services from ‘in-person’ to virtual once the Covid 19 pandemic hit the world. We were able to start this within days and we are now providing all the same services as we were prior to the pandemic online using a confidential platform for our clients. One benefit of the pandemic forcing us to go virtual is that we were able to offer our community training nationally rather than just locally. We are now offering our Domestic Violence Advocate training to students in 18 States rather than just those in Orange County CA. The biggest challenge I am facing for our organization is that we are currently in the middle of a $10 million capital campaign to fundraise for the new building we bought right before the Pandemic hit. The facility will enable us to create a ‘one stop’ location for clients to access all the services they need to recover from their domestic violence situation with greater efficiency of their time and resources and more quicky achieve the goals they have set themselves to enable them to live a violence free life. Even though this is a difficult time to be fund raising we have passed the half way mark now and the needs of our client population drives us to move forward and I am confident we will be successful even if it takes us a year or two longer to complete than we had initially anticipated.

Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
If I had a friend staying in the area I would want to show them the local beaches and trails around my home in the Dana Point area. We could have lunch at several great spots in the Dana Point harbor including The Harbor Grill or JFAT. The afternoon could be spent wandering down the main street in San Clemente where there are many small boutiques and unique shopping opportunities and then some great spots for dinner like Nicks, The Vine or the Fisherman on the pier where you can watch the surfers catching waves and see the most amazing sunsets. Another couple of days would be spent driving or taking the train down to San Diego and staying in one of the wonderful hotels along the coast to enjoy the best of what San Diego has to offer.. This could be done in one day but I love spending two or three days there so I can take the Old Town Trolley tour stopping at all the great sights like Seaport Village, Balboa Park and the Hotel Del Coronado. Visiting the museums at Balboa Park or a visit to the San Diego zoo or Sea World can each take a whole day. Another local treat for a few hours is walking around the Los Rios district a few miles away in San Juan Capistrano. It’s a beautiful, historic district with lots of great little bars and restaurants as well as the Mission and some fun antique shops.Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I have been extremely fortunate in my life to have many fabulous people who have been mentors, coaches and supporters who helped me along my journey and I’m blessed that many of them continue to do so. However my greatest support and encouragement has come from my husband Richard. He is my safety net and confidente when I need to make a difficult decision, my biggest cheerleader and also my reality check. He is an awesome volunteer who never refuses to do anything to support Laura’s House and I am absolutely certain that I would not be the leader I am today if it were not for his unconditional love, compassion and belief that everything is possible.

Website: www.laurashouse.org

Instagram: laurashouseoc

Facebook: Laura’s House

Youtube: Laura’s House

Nominate Someone: ShoutoutLA is built on recommendations and shoutouts from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you or someone you know deserves recognition please let us know here.