Creative leadership case study: Lorraine Lewis
When Lorraine Lewis, co-founder and CEO of a cancer care charity, joined us at HotHouse, she found both the support and direction that she needed to move forwards.
Lorraine felt compelled to set up The Lewis Foundation charity when she and her husband were visiting her mother-in-law in hospital during cancer treatment. She became aware of a real loneliness amongst patients, and had the idea that if they received gifts and support, such as free puzzle books and care packs, they could help provide a distraction during those isolating times, giving people something to look forward to.
Since co-founding the charity back in 2016 with her husband, The Lewis Foundation has grown from providing 80 gifts a month at one hospital in Northampton, to 2,000 free gifts a month to six hospitals throughout the Midlands. Lorraine’s charity has won multiple business and charity awards both regionally and nationally, and many more hospitals have been in touch wanting their support.
But with the charity rapidly growing, where was Lorraine in all this?
‘At the time I discovered Eden’s Nature of Leadership Programme, the charity was going from strength to strength,’ says Lorraine, ‘but with it came so many demands. I wasn’t prepared to admit it; but I was finding it incredibly hard and I felt pulled in so many directions, with so many ideas in my head.’
In September 2019 Lorraine joined a small group of emerging leaders for an immersive journey here at the Eden Project. ‘I wasn’t sure what I would really get out of it other than escapism from the day to day in a beautiful setting,’ she admits. ‘However, I couldn't have been more wrong. That week would not only transform myself, but the charity.
'You changed my life for the better at a time when I needed it the most’
‘I was surrounded by the most fantastic facilitators who taught me ‘lessons’ without me even realising: what makes a leader; how to look after myself; what are my future goals and aspirations... Without me realising I was able to open up and be honest about what I was doing and where I was going. It was such an emotional process, but one of self-discovery and for the first time ever I felt clear on what I needed to do and how I needed to do it.
‘Looking back on the week, with amazing company, good food, fantastic experiences, I am blown away by what I experienced. What it's done for me is driven me to follow my dreams and achieve my goals. Since I’ve come back, I’ve been so motivated, and I can see the difference already: I am moving closer to achieving my dreams.
‘I will be forever grateful for the experience, because you changed my life for the better at a time when I needed it the most.’
Find out more about our Nature of Leadership programme, which next takes place in March 2020 here at the Eden Project, or our Women's leadership retreat in April 2020. Find out more about The Lewis Foundation.