Marketing consultant. Social enterprise founder. Mother. Widow. HIV positive. One person; a myriad of possible labels.
Nearly ten years ago, Lizzie became a mother, a widow and HIV positive all within an 18 month period. Her life was turned upside down, so she moved away from her London fashion career, and returned to rural Lincolnshire to be near her family.
As one of life’s natural networkers, Lizzie has uncovered excellent creative talent locally and so, in 2013, launched Yello Story, her own marketing agency. Flipping the traditional agency model on its head, Yello Story is a family of freelancers all project managed by Lizzie.
Alongside her professional career, Lizzie has, since her own diagnosis in 2006, become ‘one of the UK’s highest profile HIV advocates’; recognised on Mark King's annual global list as 'one of 16 HIV advocates to watch in 2016', been interviewed by Stephen Fry for his BBC documentary ‘Stephen Fry HIV & Me’; worked as an adviser to Gilead and NAM, and as a Visiting Lecturer at Birmingham City University. In 2016, Lizzie became 1 of 3 Patient Public Voices on the NHS England Specialised Commissioning Clinical Reference Group (CRG) for HIV. She has also spoken internationally about her life, experiences and champions effective engagement with stakeholders. She had been featured in The Guardian, The Observer and The Mirror amongst others.
In 2012, as a single mother to a grieving child, Lizzie wanted to find resource and training for her child’s primary school. She struggled. And knew she had to do something about that!
Lizzie recognized the issues and wanted to do something about the ‘uncomfortable silences’ young people often felt when discussing sensitive subjects with the professionals involved in their lives. 18 months of plotting and planning later Think2Speak CIC was founded.
Teachers and staff often don’t have the time, resource or knowledge to handle ‘difficult’ conversations such as the ones Lizzie and her child have had to regularly tackle. Lizzie would like to see young people, and the professionals working with them, have the skills to confidently handle sensitive conversations, to know who to think to speak to and where to go to access further support.