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LORRAINE WRIGHT IGNITING A GENERATION TO PRAISE & WORSHIP WITH UGCY
Films are a powerful medium and for Lorraine Wright her vision of creating the UK's biggest University Gospel Choir Competition (UGCY) started with inspiration from the popular movie Sister Act 2 - Back in the Habit. Whilst at Brunel University she identified a gap in the market for University Choirs that needed opportunities to perform outside of their rehearsal rooms. This idea sparked a desire to research further and she discovered other University Choirs had the same dilemma. It dawned on Lorraine as she the watched final scenes of the competition in Sister Act 2, that she thought why not recreate this in the UK. Driven by her passion for worship music Lorraine created a platform for University Choirs to perform and showcase their talents.
Three years on The Multi Award Winning UGCY (University Gospel Choir of The Year) is a manifestation of a dream and more. The annual competition is a fast growing profile backed by the Mayor of London and the former Higher Education Minister - David Lammy. In 2011 UCGY had the chance to perform as part of the X Factor finals and last year attempted to achieve a world record in the 2012 uplifts. It's fair to say Lorraine is indeed a visionary and thinking big is definitely the way forward to good success. In this interview TNBTMAG speaks to the Founder of UGCY where she reveals the realities of turning a good idea into a phenomenal and inspiring movement.
UGCY WHERE SISTER ACT 2 MEETS X FACTOR
When you had the vision for UGCY did you imagine it would be so successful?
If I said no, I would be lying. I took a step of faith knowing there was a reason why God laid the idea on my heart. What I didn't realise is how fast it would grow - that is something I was surprised by.
What motivates you to keep going?
I am motivated by the vision that was laid on my heart to keep going, first and foremost. In addition, the UGCY team inspires me to keep going. The people around me, my friends who are also very successful inspire me to keep reaching! Above all, seeing the work we are doing have a positive impact on the people who take part is really what keeps me motivated.
What setbacks have you had and how has your faith helped you to overcome?
We have had financial setbacks mainly. In our first year we were fully sponsored but 2nd year it was hard with obtaining the funding we needed to keep the show going. Nevertheless taking the step of faith, through prayer and trusting in the Lord we were able to deliver our 2nd show.
HOW TO MAKE YOUR VISION A REALITY
What advice would you give to someone who has an idea to start something of their own but is not sure how?
Get it on Paper
1."Write the vision and make it plain on tablets that he may run to who reads it" Habakkuk 2 v2. That passage from the Bible is so clear, the idea must first be written down. Find people that they can trust and have skills that they can leverage. Either bounce ideas of them, get their opinion or get them to support you.Share the vision and burden. No man is an island so finding someone or a team who can support with realising the vision always helps. I owe a lot of the success around UGCY to the team.
Research & More Research
2.The next step is to research, research what else is out there. Do you have competitors? Is there a market for this? How much will it cost to set up. When all those questions are answered, I would leverage online resources, books and business centres to work on your next steps.
Put it into Practice
3.Next steps could be setting up a website, registering the business, buying products, renting a location, raising capital/funding for example but the research needs to be established first. British Library, University career centres, and online resources have an ample amount of information.
LIVING OUT A DREAM
What was it like seeing your Choirs on X Factor?
An incredible experience. When I was young, I had dreams of being a singer and wanted to be a singer so badly but I can't sing. When they say God works in mysterious ways it is true! God laid it on my heart to establish UGCY. So far we have supported them for 2 years. I give all the glory to God! To see the excitement on the members of the choirs faces however meant the world to me to give them that opportunity!
You have some amazing achievements so far how do you stay grounded?
I try to keep grounded in the word. The Bible says "When pride comes, then comes shame but with the humble is wisdom". God rewards those who are humble and grounded, the blessings will continue to flow. I try to inspire others through my journey so that others may also share the same experiences that I have had. I see my friends and see how much they have achieved. They inspire me and in order to reach to their levels, I must remain grounded and keep going!
How would you define success?
Success is something you cannot achieve on your own, you require people around you that believe in your vision or people who can inspire you. In my professional life, being young, black and female, some would say, the odds of excelling are against me, but through my faith and the company I keep – challenges are turned into opportunities. My desire to achieve my own goals, only the best and grasp all opportunities, has paved the way for me to excel at whatever I put my mind to. This is what makes someone successful. Being able to set THEIR OWN target, recognize an opportunity when it comes and grasp it.
The only place where success comes before work is in the dictionary I live by this.
GHANA INFLUENCES AND OPPORTUNITIES
Has your Ghanaian heritage helped you in any way to fulfill your ambitions?
My heritage has meant that achievement was a must largely due to coming from a poor background and my mother wanting things for me that she never had the opportunity to do. Failure was out of the question. Although I was not pushed in any particular career or business direction by my family it was innate to me that what ever I do, I must succeed.
What do you love about Ghana and how was your recent trip there?
I love that Ghanaians are entrepreneurial. Almost everyone is an entrepreneur in their own right and everyone knows how to sell. The mentality is very much one where anyone can run their own business. I love that Ghana is developing extremely fast and every time I return there is something new! Investment opportunities are lucrative at the moment and urge all Ghanaians in the diaspora to look at ways they can support Ghana through investing.
If there is one thing you would advise young people to improve their lives what would it be?
Put faith first and the rest will follow. Take opportunities as and when they come. Look for a mentor, someone who is in a position that you would want to be in so that you can learn from them and they can provide guidance. Surround yourself with motivated people who inspire you.
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