Our Stories: Toni Fyvie

Written by NZBWN.

Toni Fyvie Profile Picture

Toni Fyvie first came to the UK on a two-year visa thinking she’d return home after one. Little did she know that she would land herself a job in the music industry, promoting the Rolling Stones and Madonna, and meet her Canadian boyfriend, now husband. Suffice to stay, she extended her visa. 

After five years in London, Toni worked in Australia, Amsterdam and Vancouver, before eventually settling in Montreal for the next 8 years with her husband. In Montreal, Toni worked in property marketing for a company that sold property in resort destinations throughout North America and prided itself in being the leader in selling property before it was built.  But after the global financial crisis struck, they were asking themselves: ‘how do you sell real estate at a discount without losing the value of what you’ve created?’ This was Toni’s challenge for the next year and a half. 

In 2010, Toni’s husband was head-hunted for a role in Paris and they decided to continue their nomadic lifestyle by making the move back to Europe. For the duration of the next two years, Toni was unable to work due to visa restrictions. Instead she made the most of the experience by learning the language and immersing herself in French culture. However, moving straight from a demanding job in Canada to a supporting role in Paris caused Toni to suffer from an identity crisis. Almost overnight, she was no longer a career woman. She was a 40-year old woman asking herself ‘what the hell? Who am I?’ She had to find ways to work through it and so Toni set up a blog and wrote about her experiences in France. She had befriended an American lady with a food tour business who was looking for someone to try new restaurants with. Toni wrote articles such as ‘How to do a 1 Michelin Star Restaurant on the Cheap’ for family and friends. Initially she found writing challenging. Despite a notable career in marketing, Toni’s strengths were in strategy. She had never considered herself a creative-type, certainly not a writer. That was always something she could brief on, but not something she thought she could do. But she enjoyed it.

After two years, Toni and her husband moved back to London – the city of her past life – and Toni had the opportunity to get back on the career ladder. However, London was a very different city to how she remembered. She had to learn to love the city again. Returning as an ‘adult’ in her forties, it was the English class system that struck her. In her twenties, she had been part of an industry drawn together by one passion, music, regardless of social or ethnic background. Now, despite her resounding experience, she struggled to find work in real estate due to the old school nature of the industry. Given her lack of local experience, she agreed to work for an ex-colleague from Montreal and found herself commuting to and from Geneva to sell lake-front apartments to the rich and famous. But one year of being back in property marketing (with an international commute) was enough. 

Our Stories: Bridget Walsh

Written by Linda Rose.

Bridget Walsh bw 2 GIMP smallMiss Bridget Walsh – as she is known professionally – has an impressive tour history. She has performed with bands in Italy, Germany, Switzerland, France, Mexico and the Czech Republic to name but a few. Bridget got the touring bug early - she travelled with her school choir from Westlake Girls in Takapuna to both Hawaii and Vancouver.

But, of course, the music began before that. On her mum’s side, Bridget is the oldest grandchild in a large family of Irish heritage, and says her grandmother played the piano and her mum has a beautiful singing voice. “And I was bossy and a bit of a show-off, clearly destined to be on stage.”

A degree in Music at Auckland university seemed appealing, but at age 16 Bridget found she just didn’t have a passion for classical music. A paper in pop music led to an invitation to audition for the university’s pop programme, and after a quick six-month trip to the UK (where a job at Clare’s Accessories nearly derailed her into retail management) Bridget took up her place on the programme and completed a Bachelor of Performing Arts in 2005, majoring in voice and piano.

Our Stories: Linda McDougall

Written by Emma Bell.

Linda McDougall bw GIMP“I used to believe I could do everything, what a silly idea. I’d never think that again.”

Linda McDougall describes that she ‘leaps out of bed at 5am’ not only to tend to her latest manuscript, but also her house renovations and her voluntary work with the Barbara Pym Society, an organisation that celebrates the work of one of her favourite novelists. At 77, she doesn’t appear to be showing any signs of retiring from her work yet.

“Sometimes I lie on my back and tell myself that I don’t have to do anything, but I still don’t believe it.”

Linda first arrived in the UK in 1961 as a 19-year-old aspiring actress on a NZ Government bursary to attend the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama. It was upon her arrival in the UK that she watched television for the very first time, unaware that she would go on to spend her entire career behind the cameras as well as in front of them.

Our Stories: Bridget Winstone-Kight

Written by Linda Rose.

Bridget NZBWN Head Shoulders small rev 2Bridget Winstone-Kight would be the first to say that she wasn’t totally overjoyed to be leaving London after eight years away and returning to New Zealand in time for Christmas 2017. However, her husband, Sam, was to take over the management of his family business and so they returned to Auckland with one-year-old, Ted.

Bridget, an investment manager, says: “I was very nervous about going back. I am career focused, had just finished an MBA to advance my career, and believed I was cutting off my options. I thought life and work would hit the ‘Pause’ button in New Zealand, but I shouldn’t have been so nervous. I was guilty of assuming that everything would be the same as eight years ago but things have changed. There is an air of excitement around early-stage tech businesses and greater awareness in our home-grown companies: people are talking about them, investing in them and working with them.”

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