Lizzie Jordan describes herself as “one person, a myriad of possible labels”.
Nearly 10 years ago, she 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 Lincolnshire to be near her family.
Lizzie has two businesses, a marketing agency called Yello Story, which is two years old, and a social enterprise working with young people and schools, Think2Speak, which launched in November last year.
Lizzie said: “I’ve worked in marketing for 15 years now.
“Yello Story came about from a lot of of networking and the excellent creative talent I kept meeting locally - I knew that there was an opportunity to create a virtual marketing agency where everyone works independently, in an agile manner, without the overheads of a traditional agency setup.
“Think2Speak came about from my child and my personal challenges.
“I was widowed 10 years ago now and as such my child has had to tackle many difficult conversations.
“Conversations that teachers struggle with and I recognised that something needed to be done about that.”
Lizzie says no two days are the same in her job which can make it challenging but that is also what she thrives on.
She said: “The greatest rewards are in seeing someone benefit from the work I’m doing, whether that be a marketing client securing a new contract for their business as a result of a campaign we’ve worked on or a child in a school beaming in a class assembly with confidence, who may have not felt able to do so previously.”
Lizzie says after having worked in marketing for 15 years it is great she now uses those skills to not only help other businesses, but to actually make a difference to young people.
Lizzie said her biggest achievement was when she was recognised as “One of 16 HIV Advocates to watch in 2016” on a global, annual list prepared by Mark King, who is a renowned HIV activist, for her work with Think2Speak.
She said: “After only launching in November, the global recognition that Mark has given us is a dream come true.
Alongside her professional career, Lizzie has, since her own diagnosis in 2006, become one of the UK’s highest profile HIV advocates, been interviewed by Stephen Fry for his BBC documentary “Stephen Fry HIV and Me”, worked as an adviser to Gilead, who are workigng to develop medicines, and NAM, which originally stood for National AIDS Manual, and as a visiting lecturer at Birmingham City University.
She has also been featured in The Guardian, The Observer and The Mirror among others.
In 2012, Lizzie met Naomi Watkins, Director of Naomi Watkins Consultancy (NWC), and the pair became great friends and respected peers.
As a single mother to a grieving child, Lizzie wanted to find resources and training for her child’s primary school. She struggled so Lizzie turned to Naomi for help.
The pair both recognised 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. And 18 months of plotting and planning later Think2Speak CIC was founded.
Looking to the future, Lizzie’s ambitions are to mobilise Think2Speak nationally and thus enable the young people of the UK to confidently handle sensitive conversations.
Lizzie said this week: “Outside of work I love weightlifting with my trainer Chris Barnacoat of Satori Health several times a week, balanced with time with friends, usually involving steak and wine.
“I’d also like to learn to rock climb.”
For more about Lizzie’s work visit www.yellostory.com or www.think2speak.com.