How inspirational Burnley businesswoman is coping with loss of her parents, major surgery, a road accident and covid /Burnley Brand Manager Rachel Bayley

Is Lisa Sourbutt’s Burnley’s most resilient businesswoman?
Watch more of our videos on Shots!
and live on Freeview channel 276
Visit Shots! now

“All eight airbags went off and there was a five-mile tailback as a result. The car shunted my legs, and my wrist went into my arm. I’d only earned £400 by this point, and I could have so easily just packed it all in.”

Lisa Sourbutts is describing to me the terrifying car accident she experienced on her way to see a potential client, just four months after setting up CUBE HR. She’d walked away from her high-flying corporate HR career, where she’d earned a large salary and bonus every year, after realising she no longer felt like that world reflected her values. She set up CUBE HR (based at Business First off Liverpool Road) in October 2017. The accident happened in February, 2018.

Read More
Shops and flats plan for former Burnley pub the Victoria Inn
Inspirational Burnley businesswoman  Lisa Sourbutts has coped with with the loss of her parents, major surgery, a serious road accident and covid since she launched her own businessInspirational Burnley businesswoman  Lisa Sourbutts has coped with with the loss of her parents, major surgery, a serious road accident and covid since she launched her own business
Inspirational Burnley businesswoman Lisa Sourbutts has coped with with the loss of her parents, major surgery, a serious road accident and covid since she launched her own business
Hide Ad
Hide Ad

“Despite only earning so little, I’m stubborn so I carried on,” said Lisa. And, still in her first year, Lisa began to grow, after finding a gap in the market for personal HR services, especially for smaller firms who didn’t want to speak to a faceless person in a call centre. After a rollercoaster first two years in business, which included major surgery for Lisa, CUBE HR continued to grow, and Lisa was able to recruit. Over a quarter of CUBE HR’s business comes from client referrals and Lisa was beginning to feel like she was getting somewhere in building her brand. Then COVID hit.

“We’d just got to a level playing field and we went from steady to horrendously busy – I’m talking 140 calls a day busy. We were working all hours, I was trying to home-school my then six-year-old daughter Naomi and my husband Dale worked in the travel industry, so he was firefighting – it was chaos,” Lisa explains.

But Lisa’s resilience didn’t stop at covid.

The future was looking great for the business, but then the next challenge came in August 2021. Lisa had returned from holiday to the news that her dad, Jim, had been taken to hospital. There, she learnt that with no prior health issues, her dad, 82, was sadly dying.

“They told him they had found a mass in his stomach and they could operate, but he would have a five per cent chance of survival. My dad being my dad, told the doctors to save the time and money and use it on someone who could be saved. That was my dad, he never had much but would give you the shirt off his back. He was so selfless,” Lisa explains.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Jim made the decision that he wanted to come home to die, but he refused to take his medicine. Lisa decided to take the matter into her own hands in the only way she knew how.

“It sounds awful, but I told him if he took the medicine, I’d get him home in time to watch the Burnley match. I’d also been toying with the idea of getting my dream car, an Audi R8, and I said I’d show him the photos. As a child, our thing was to look through The Loot together and choose which sports cars we’d buy if money was no object. But I knew he was unwell, as all he said was ‘that’s nice love’. One morning, he got up, went to sleep in his chair and peacefully passed away.

“In the meantime, we’d found out CUBE HR were in the BIBA finals, which would have been three days before the funeral. I told my mum I didn’t think I should go,” Lisa reveals.

However, her mum’s response convinced her otherwise. “She said dad would have told me to get my slap on, get a frock on and put a smile on my face. So, I did, and we won. It was a lovely night actually, as it distracted me for just that short time.”

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Dale and Lisa decided to go on a cruise to help reset before Lisa returned properly to work.

However, on the first day of the holiday, she received the devastating news that her mum had had a fall and, despite not showing any signs of illness, was diagnosed with COPD and heart failure.

Lisa was left reeling from the call and immediately came home. After weeks in hospital, her mum started to improve, with the right medicine and physiotherapy in place. After finding sheltered accommodation close to Lisa, Trudy was excited for the future and the family planned for Naomi to pop round when she was old enough too to help her grandma with cooking. But then, just as Trudy was about to be discharged, Lisa received a call to say her mum had sadly passed away at 73.

“I just think she never recovered from losing my dad, they did everything together, they were a team. The saddest thing about it all is she was just getting some optimism back for the future and was looking forward to moving closer to us.”

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

It’s certainly been a more than challenging five years and it would be completely understandable if Lisa walked away from the business.

“I took the whole team away to Menorca in May as a thank you and to celebrate five years of CUBE HR. We’ve not had a single year of stability, but we’re also the most honest team I know. Being vulnerable with one another helps a lot and I think people can see the amazing work environment we’ve created. I’m sent CVs on LinkedIn from people wanting to work with us,” Lisa proudly details.

“My dad would be so proud of his little Lisa. There I was thinking I would just be self-employed for a few hours a week so I could pick up Naomi from school.”

You can read the full interview in InBusiness Burnley Magazine here

Related topics: