#GreatHires – Memoria Lewis, recently appointed interim CEO, successfully led the Society of Antiquaries through a critical leadership transition, securing its long-term future

The Society of Antiquaries was founded in 1707 and was granted a Royal Charter in 1751. There is some evidence to suggest that a precursor to the organisation began in the 16th century. Based in the heart of London at Burlington House, as a royal learned society, their Fellows have been inspiring scholarship, debate, and research for several centuries.

Russam was contacted at a delicate time in the organisation’s history and tasked with sourcing an interim CEO who would support the staff team during a vacuum of leadership, continue to develop relationships with the Fellows and take forward the new strategy. Crucially other officers of the Society were at the same time working to secure the long-term future of the charity’s home.

We introduced Memoria Lewis,  someone with 20+ years of CEO and Director level leadership experience including interim management/consulting. She has worked with a variety of purpose-driven organisations including professional membership organisations (built environment, accounting, health, actuarial science); charities; and clean technology and systems. With experience in large and small organisations, ranging from the Institution of Occupational Safety and Health, the National Landlords Association, and the Young Camden Foundation, Memoria brought a range of skills to the role.

Memoria quickly established a great working relationship with the team and began implementing key elements of the strategy. Crucially, after successful talks with The Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, the society and the other Learned Societies of Burlington House have been granted a 999-year leasehold agreement, securing their base for the next millennium.

“I am grateful for this opportunity to work with such a dedicated team and Trustees. Together, we have laid a solid foundation for the Society’s future success and have started to deliver on our new strategy.” Memoria reflected on her tenure.

Professor Martin Millett, President of the Society, praised her contributions: “Memoria brought a fresh perspective and a dynamic approach that has been crucial. Her skills, outsider’s insight, and vibrant enthusiasm have been tremendously valuable over her 11 months with us.”

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