11 Dec 2023

As we say goodbye to Helen Sullivan as she moves on from her role as Breathworks CEO, Founder Vidyamala Burch rejoices in her achievements and time at the organisation.

On 20
December, we bid farewell to Helen Sullivan who has been an integral part of the Breathworks team for almost a decade.

From a global pandemic to the cost of living crisis, she has certainly led us through some interesting times and I can think of no one better suited to have guided us through the highs and lows. 

Helen Sullivan, former Breathworks CEO, leads a meeting

Pictured above (second from left), Helen Sullivan leading the team in her role as Breathworks CEO.

Helen started 9 years ago as a volunteer, which speaks volumes about her innate generosity and wish to align herself with work that is meaningful and has a positive impact in the world. She heard we needed help with our internal systems and database and immediately jumped in to offer her expertise.

Since then, Helen has steadily had an enormous impact: moving from volunteer, to member of the operations team, to interim CEO, to CEO. When she moved into leadership she scanned all the books in the office and noticed several that looked pristine and unread, they were in the “business for dummies” range. Luckily those books have been left untouched in her capable hands. 

Team members have shared touching words about her, such as ways that her warm and trusting leadership has helped them grow and find their voice, and the sense of fun that she brought to team. 

Helen is an enormously capable and intelligent individual, who thrives on challenge. She took on the CEO role alongside completing an MBA (and was awarded a Distinction no less) and had led us through huge milestones with Breathworks' mission fully in her heart. 

Helen and Vidyamala at the BLSM conference in 2023.

Pictured above from left-to-right; Breathworks former CEO, Helen Sullivan; Breathworks Founder, Vidyamala Burch; and GP & Gut-Health Specialist, Dr Siobhan McCormack at the British Society of Lifestyle Medicine 2023 Conference.

Helen was ordained into the Triratna Buddhist Order in 2021 where she was given the name Sripaksini which means “she who has the radiant and glorious wings of awakening”. I see her as an eagle. She flies high, she’s magnificent and beautiful, and she has clear vision that can take in the big picture while honing in on fine detail. Not many people can do that with good grace.

Not to mention, I am deeply impressed by her stress relief technique of going on long walks. She completed the Yorkshire three peak challenge (a 24-mile round trip route with a 1585m ascent) without seemingly breaking into sweat!

We will be welcoming a fantastic new CEO to lead us into a new chapter next year, who we are excited to bring on board and introduce in early January,

For now, we wish Helen all the very best in her new role in an environmental sector charity, where they are incredibly lucky to have her. She is leaving behind the legacy of her brilliant work, and a team with very full and grateful hearts.