Our Stories: Bridget Winstone-Knight

Written by Linda Rose.

Bridget NZBWN Head Shoulders GIMPBridget 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.”

Our Stories: Jackie Smith

Written by Linda Rose.

Jackie Smith bw namedNearly 25 years ago Jackie and her husband David opened the first Caci beauty therapy clinic in New Zealand – now there are nearly 50 franchised clinics throughout the country. Last year the Smiths started their global expansion with three Skinsmiths clinics in London and, true to ambitious form, they plan to have 40 Skinsmiths clinics in the UK by early 2019.

“The aesthetic sector can be a real tangle for consumers,” says Jackie. “How to find ‘what is right for me’ in retail skin treatments and products is complicated and so some women opt out. We see an opportunity to provide simplicity.” The Smiths also know who their target customer is. “She is 42-years old with a partner and two kids as well as a full-time job. She has a lot of balls in the air but she also wants good skin.”

So where did it all start? Jackie is a Waikato girl born and bred and was part of the first intake of student nurses at what was then the Auckland Technical Institute. In the mid 80s Jackie and husband David decided it was time to try out the Northern hemisphere, specifically Jersey in the Channel Islands.

Our Stories: Adrienne Pitts

Written by Tracy Goodall.

AP smallAdrienne Pitts visited London for the first time at the age of 16 and knew it was never a place she could live. Cold, grey and unwelcoming were the abiding impressions of her six days there during an arts and classics tour of Europe.

Fast forward 25 years, a slew of design and photography awards, an enviable Instagram following and a successful career as an internationally renowned photographer, and after a decade of calling London “home” she can’t imagine living anywhere else. Her original plan, when she headed there after a relationship ended, was to stay for maybe a year, but as many readers of these pages will know from their own experience, that infamous “just one year” vow is made to be broken.

Although it’s her work as a photographer she is best known for today, she has also forged a reputation as an outstanding art director, even if initially she assumed this field would play second fiddle to a career in photography. Graduating from Massey Wellington with a Bachelor of Design, a photography major and an alarming student loan, her timing was distinctly off. It was the very moment when digital photography was exploding, but her degree had been film-based and she couldn’t quite rustle up the $100,000 necessary to set herself up with the latest digital gear. Always pragmatic, she set about putting her design degree to good use, working as a graphic designer for a Wellington agency, before moving to the Bay of Plenty to take up a dual role as graphic designer-cum-photographer on the magazine Uno.

Our Stories: Vikki Coombes

Written by Emma Bell.

Vikki Coombes bwVikki Coombes is a woman of many titles and many talents. She isn’t just a kiwi, but also a self-confessed hummingbird. Having enjoyed five different careers encompassing 20 different roles, Vikki now works with other hummingbirds, coaching them to weave their multiple passions into a life that they love, alongside her management consulting contracts.

She describes hummingbirds as “people who have varied and ever-changing interests; they are frequently changing jobs, flitting from one hobby to another, starting projects and then dropping them, moving house often and always leaping into new learning opportunities. Each time they take on something new, they bring with them the wealth of experience from their previous endeavours. They’re the cross-pollinators of the world.”

As the ‘Queen of Hummingbirds’, Vikki describes herself as living a life of “constant curiosity, always on the move, growing and pushing my boundaries.” With each new role, project or challenge she takes on, she brings new ideas and challenges the status quo.

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