My Other Life with Greg Lewis

PM360 recently spoke to Greg Lewis, Managing Partner / President at Calcium, about working with an organization that helps children to grieve.

PM360: How did you first get involved with Imagine?

Greg Lewis: I was in my early 30s when my dad passed away after a really brief illness. At the time, a former client was sitting on a board of a Philadelphia-based foundation called Family Lives On, which helps families celebrate a tradition of a loved one who has passed away. So I joined their board, but the geography had been a little tricky since I lived in northern New Jersey. Then one day, I was sitting in my dentist chair back home and talking about going to one of their board meetings and it ended up his wife sat on the board of Imagine (www.imaginenj.org), which was a similar organization but based in New Jersey. Imagine supports children following the loss of a parent and helps them express their emotion and understand their grief. It was a perfect match and I sat on Imagine’s board for about five years and I’m now on their Emeritus Board.

What kind of things do you do for Imagine?

I’m a senior consultant who has helped support the organization through creative work and marketing, hosting events, growing outreach around New Jersey, and making donations in honor of people in my family who have passed away. Eventually I want to work directly with the kids, but first I need to be trained as a grief counselor. It’s definitely still a priority, but between work and having five kids, I just need to find the right moment for the training.

Just working with the organization, have you learned anything about helping people with grief?

Absolutely, and I have seen their work first hand. Unfortunately, when I was running Grey Health Group’s Summit, NJ office, one of my team members fell, hit his head, and died a few days later. The first call I made was to Imagine. Mary Robinson, who is the founder and then held the role of executive director, came to the office with three grief counselors. We took the employee’s desk, put memorial items there, and dedicated a wall in the office for people to put ideas up about him or our business. I learned that it’s important to let people grieve in their own way, but to also create a moment of commonality that allows people to bring their grief out and hopefully learn to look beyond it.

How else has your involvement in the organization impacted you personally?

About six years ago my sister lost her husband from a heart attack, leaving behind five kids. Everything I learned from Imagine about the support structure needed and addressing grief, I took to my family as they approached their journey in recovering. Grief never goes away, but there are healthy ways to deal with it. That is what makes Imagine a great organization to be a part of, and I plan to continue to support them and help as many children as possible.

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