Professor Denise Barrett-Baxendale MBE
Denise is a prominent woman in the world of football, and previously held the positions of Director and Chief Executive Officer at Everton Football Club and Executive Chair of the club’s official charity, Everton in the Community.
It wouldn’t necessarily have to follow that Denise would be a huge Everton fan, but she does come from a long line of Blues. As a child one of her past times was making Everton rosettes with her sisters, while on the wall of the family home hung a poster of the iconic centre forward, Bob Latchford.
Growing up in the South Liverpool suburb of Aigburth, Denise went on to graduate from Manchester Metropolitan University and studied for her doctorate at LJMU for a thesis entitled: 21st Century Headteacher: Guardian of Pedagogy or Visionary Leader?
In 2017, she was inducted into the LJMU history books becoming an Honorary Fellow in recognition of her outstanding contribution to charity and community engagement in Liverpool.
In the midst of the global Covid-19 pandemic in 2021, Denise delivered the second only virtual Roscoe Lecture to an online audience in the 24th series of the lecture programme. She spoke from the heart about "Sport at the Service of Humanity" and how the work of Everton in the Community uses the power of sport to motivate, educate and inspire some of the most vulnerable and hard to reach people, improving their life chances.
“For 365 days a year, we are the People’s Club, embodying everything that means. If we can support members of our community in having access to the most basic human needs, such as shelter and food, then to me, we should reach out and offer that support.”
– Denise Barrett-Baxendale, 2021
Before venturing into the charity sector and the world of sport, Denise spent 16 years working in education, fulfilling a variety of academic and leadership roles which focused on change management through delivering intervention or engagement projects in areas of high deprivation. Notably she worked with young people and adults impacted by harsh social conditions, and armed with such a range of vital experience, in 2010 Denise joined Everton with the aim of developing and leading a transformation strategy for Everton in the Community.
Denise more than exceeded this objective in her appointment to the charity with it receiving around 100 local, national and international award wins in recognition of its life-changing and life-saving work. This work includes providing routes into education, training and employment, steering young people away from crime and anti-social behaviour and engaging children and adults, regardless of ability, in physical activity and away from isolation. In addition to helping individuals, Everton in the Community also helps other charitable groups to improve the lives of local people.
Denise’s outstanding work with Everton in the Community was recognised in 2014 when she was named a Member of the Order of the British Empire in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List for services to the community of Merseyside.
Alongside her work with Everton in the Community, Denise was appointed to the Club's Board of Directors in July 2016. In 2017 she said: “I’m an Evertonian and I’m proud to have been born into the Everton family. For 365 days a year, we are the People’s Club, embodying everything that means. If we can support members of our community in having access to the most basic human needs, such as shelter and food, then to me, we should reach out and offer that support.”
In April 2019, Denise was appointed as a Deputy Lieutenant in the County of Merseyside.
In June 2023 Denise left her roles at Everton after the club narrowly avoided relegation for a second consecutive season.