Business

HR manager cuts job, starts her own firm

Lisa Soares Lewis aims to drive regional businesses to heights of athletes, musicians

BY JULIAN RICHARDSON Assistant Business co-ordinator richardsonj@jamaicaobserver.com

Friday, December 20, 2013    

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THREE months after leaving Red Stripe, human resources expert Lisa Soares Lewis has launched her own HR consultancy aimed at driving performance among Caribbean businesses and individuals through first- world people solutions.

Soares Lewis formed Great People Solutions (GPS) in October 2013 -- a month after demitting office at Red Stripe after serving five years as HR director at the brewery — to offer the full range of HR and performance management consulting services to corporate clients, business owners and individuals through face-to-face and online channels. She officially launched the company earlier this week, highlighting in a newspaper advertisement her intention to help grow the region's leadership and business performance to world-class levels.

"I have a strong belief in unlocking the potential of talent and raising performance by shifting thinking, behaviours and ways of working through coaching and embracing technology," Soares Lewis told Caribbean Business Report.

"Like our Caribbean athletes and performing artistes, who benefit from great coaching, I know that businesses and individuals can benefit from 'A' class coaching and tailored interventions to be as good as the best in the world," she said, adding, "I believe GPS can be instrumental in helping more businesses and individuals to deliver on their ambitions to be the best."

In addition to senior management roles in human resources at corporate giants Red Stripe, Cable & Wireless and Scotia Jamaica, Soares Lewis has extensive experience in corporate and commercial banking and corporate governance.

Ironically, she has positioned GPS to capitalise on a changing market for HR services that led her to be out of a job at Red Stripe. She co-led the end-to-end organisation design in the formation of Celebration Brands, the joint venture between Red Stripe and Pepsi Jamaica, a process that included downsizing the beer maker to be more efficient.

"My first recommendation was to cut my own job and downsize the residual organisation to deliver the new business model which needed to be more fit-for-purpose," Soares Lewis said.

Against that background, GPS has been modelled to deliver fit-for-purpose, on-demand HR and performance management solutions. In addition to diagnosing performance issues and designing solutions, its product offering to corporate clients includes talent recruitment and selection, leadership development and coaching, relocation support and virtual programme management office (PMO) services. Individuals — executives and non- executives — can benefit from performance coaching, or a personal rebranding and resume advice excercise for as low as US$120.

The company's team of consultants is comprised of highly qualified and diverse professionals with international experience. Indira Couch, a Trinidadian-born strategic planner and communications specialist; Patrick Parks, an American leadership development and coaching expert; and virtual PMO consultant Celia Gibbings, a Jamaican living in Trinidad, complete the team.

"I enrolled my team as I wanted alliances with outstanding individuals who were top-class talent, who also shared the GPS values that were at my core," Soares Lewis said.

She added: "We work seamlessly and inter-dependently, relying on some great tools using cloud-based technology. My team is energetic and innovative and they totally get what GPS is all about."

According to Soares Lewis, the company's purpose, brand and package of offerings is unmatched at this time in the Caribbean.

"We will bring trusted, fit-for-purpose, on-demand, HR and performance management solutions, once only available to Fortune 500 companies, to Jamaica and the Caribbean," the GPS founder said, particularly describing the company's virtual HR and PMO as "game changers".

"Our commitment is to 'light touch' consulting and we will work seamlessly with clients' teams to ensure that there is participation and capability-building during all of our assignments. We must leave sustainable solutions," she said.

The company is already working with two large corporate clients on talent benchmarking, several small and medium-sized enterprises — some with a regional footprint and global business reach — and a number of individuals for personal rebranding, résumé/profile development and global benchmarking, according to Soares Lewis.

She added: "Our website was launched last week, with our holiday gift cards for 1:1 services, and our social media strategy is already driving work into our pipeline. We are looking forward to 2014."

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