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Meet Lizzie Jordan, a mother and widow with HIV, who fought all odds to set up an enterprise

Think Change India
20th Feb 2016
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“Nearly 10 years ago, I became a mother, a widow and HIV positive, all within an 18-month period. My life was turned upside down,” said Lizzie Jordan. Lizzie moved away from her London fashion career and returned to rural Lincolnshire to be near her family. Fighting against all odds, Lizzie turned her attention to social enterprise and set up her very own Think2Speak, an enterprise, which works with young people and schools to tackle difficult conversations.

Image: The Guardian
Image: The Guardian

Lizzie has been in marketing for over 15 years, working with everything from fine jewellery to exhaust systems. She now has two businesses: a marketing agency called Yello Story, which is a collaborative team of freelance creatives that she project-manages and Think2Speak.

“When my child started school, I struggled to find any resources or training to help her primary school support her in growing up without a father. I talked to a good friend of mine, Naomi Watkins, and we decided that we wanted to do something about the uncomfortable silences young people often feel when discussing sensitive subjects with the professionals in their lives. We planned for more than a year before founding Think2Speak”, said Lizzie.

“Juggling my businesses and the HIV advocacy work that I do means that no two days are the same, but I thrive on that and the opportunities it brings. I am one of life’s natural networkers, so every day is usually a mix of tackling the to-do list while trying to spot and maximise opportunities for my marketing clients and for Think2Speak. Being a solo parent, I always try and have either breakfast or supper with my son,” added Lizzie.

Lizzie stated, “The greatest rewards are in seeing someone benefit from the work I’m doing; whether that be a marketing client securing a new contract as a result of a campaign, or a child speaking with confidence for the first time in a class assembly. The worst part is, wanting to help every deserving person and constantly trying to secure funding. There are reams of paperwork involved in funding bids. Resilience really inspires me: seeing people who have had to deal with things that you would never wish upon anyone. Choosing to thrive, rather than just survive, is inspirational. I see that every day in the young people that Think2Speak works with,” said Lizzie.

Lizzie has been recognised as one of 16 HIV Advocates to watch in 2016 on a global annual list prepared by Mark King, renowned HIV activist, for her work with Think2Speak. “The recognition that Mark has given us is a dream come true, but we don’t just tackle HIV and sexual health. There are many other subject areas, such as loss and bereavement, domestic abuse and mental health,” said Lizzie in The Guardian.

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