Rainbows is on the hunt for new Chief Executive

We are on the hunt for a new Chief Executive as Geoff Ellis retires.

Being chief executive at a children’s hospice is a far cry from where Geoff started as a knitwear manufacturer, managing factories across Leicestershire. As the factories began to disappear in the 1990s Geoff undertook an accounting qualification which brought about his first role at Rainbows.

In 2002, Geoff,of East Goscote, joined us to support the accounts department. It was only meant to be for a short time but Geoff quickly become passionate about Rainbows. In 2004 he was appointedas Director of Operations and to the Chief Executive’s role in 2008.

“I only planned to be at the hospice temporarily on a short term contract”, he admitted. “Before I came to Rainbows, if you had said I would be working in a children’s hospice, I wouldn’t have believed you, especially if you said I would end up being the Chief Executive. But now I wouldn’t change a thing.

“It has been a real privilege to work for Rainbows and I have had the opportunity to meet some amazing people. I have had more job satisfaction in the last 12 years than in anything I had previously done, and feel incredibly lucky. Our work at Rainbows is well known, and the hospice is well respected in the community. We make a huge difference to the children, young people,families and their lives, and that is very rewarding. It’s a great feeling knowing that the job you do really makes a difference. I have also met some incredible parents and their children over the years. Their strength, courage and their appreciation for Rainbows, even in their darkest hours, always overwhelms me.”

During his time in the job, Geoffled his team in the successful £4million Building for the Future appeal, which enabled us to build a new therapy wing, ensuring the hospice continues to care for young people in age appropriate surroundings. The hospice has almost doubled in size since Geoff first walked through the doors.

“When the fundraising team moved to Lark Rise from the original office in Tower Street, I literally shared a cupboard with the Human Resource manager as there was nowhere else for us to sit,” Geoff reflected. “Rainbows has come such a long way since then and I am very proud of that.”

As well as successfully leading Rainbows, Geoff has often stepped out from behind his desk to join in with fundraising efforts and events. He is certainly no stranger to the stage once singing the Gerry and the Pacemakers classic ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’ with Shawaddywaddy and also dressing up and performing as Lady Gaga for a company fundraising event.

For someone whose working background had been in the city’s knitting factories, Geoff’s rise to such an important role at Rainbows came as some surprise to him.

Despite initial reservations that he did not have a clinical background, the former engineering apprentice puts his success down to appointing “good people to vital posts”.

“I have been blessed with an incredibly talented board of trustees, a hugely supportive senior management team as well as a committed workforce across the whole organisation; I will miss them all greatly,” said Geoff.

“I must also say a special thank you to all of the individuals, companies, and organisations who support Rainbows every year; the generosity of the people from across the East Midlands never fails to amaze me. Without them Rainbows would simply not exist.”

Geoff’s final challenge is to assist the Board of Trustees to find a new Chief Executive who will continue to drive the charity forward.

He added: “Healthcare is changing so much right now that this seems like the ideal time for someone new to lead the charity through our next five-year plan and beyond.”

Geoff plans to kick off his retirement by touring around Europe with his wife, Jane, in their caravan as well as spending more time with his grandchildren.

Patricia Brookes, director of fundraising at Rainbows, added: “Geoff’s contribution to Rainbows has been incalculable. He has been a brilliant Chief Executive, overseeing an unprecedented growth in the hospice with the expansion of our facilities. During the Building for the Future Appeal, I don’t think I saw him without his hard hat for about two years. Geoff will be sadly missed by those who have worked with him over the years and it has honestly been a privilege to have worked with him.”

To find out more about vacancies at Rainbows, visit www.rainbows.co.uk/the-hospice/currentvacancies