Our Stories: Fiona Watkins

Written by Ruth Keeling. Posted in Our Stories.

FionaFor more than twenty years, the UK has been Fiona Watkins' home as well as the main source of inspiration for her high-end interior design studio in Cheshire. Fiona draws on quintessentially British influences to create calm and elegant modern spaces, which seamlessly integrate period elements with the local landscape and the existing building substance. Fiona’s love of Britain’s heritage is matched by her passion for European design culture and her down-to-earth Kiwi business acumen. Her warm, straightforward approach with clients cuts through any Old World stuffiness, although she doesn’t believe this is out of the ordinary for a Kiwi. “As a nation of people, we’re just dead-friendly and approachable,” she says. 

Our Stories: Bianca Robinson

Written by Ruth Keeling. Posted in Our Stories.

Bianca Robinson1“Thriving is not a straight line, it’s always a wiggly line”, says Bianca Robinson, chief executive of CEO Sleepout, a UK charity which gets business leaders involved with initiatives fighting homelessness. “You have to be resilient and crack on… until the right thing finds you.” Bianca, a Kiwi from Wellington who has lived in Saltburn-by-the-Sea for more than two decades, found her purpose leading CEO Sleepout’s city-by-city campaign that encourages business leaders to rough-sleep in the open for a night for sponsorship. As the organisation’s only full-time employee, she fundraises more than half a million pounds annually from events held over the UK, from Northumberland to Portsmouth. Funds raised through high-profile ‘Sleepouts’ go to grassroots initiatives which improve rough sleepers’ access to opportunities, role models, education, housing and the mental health care system. 

Our Stories: Bex Smith

Written by Ruth Keeling. Posted in Our Stories.

Bex Smith 1Many Kiwis watching the FIFA Women’s World Cup co-hosted by New Zealand and Australia this year were swept up for the first time by the high performance level, the worldwide media interest, and the sheer entertainment value of women’s football. Retired NZ football star Bex Smith has long been convinced that the women’s game has even more global potential than men’s football. Now living in London, Bex has built a second career beyond her personal sporting success. She has promoted women’s sport internationally as a FIFA executive, media producer and now through her global consultancy Crux Sports.

Rebecca Smith played for the Football Ferns for more than a decade, and was captain of the NZ national team for the Women’s World Cup 2007 and 2011, and at the 2012 Summer Olympics. In parallel, she played professionally in the US, Australia, Sweden and Germany, finishing her club career in 2013 winning the Triple UEFA Champions League, German League and German Cup with VfL Wolfsburg. At the same time, she completed degrees at universities in the US, Germany and New Zealand.

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