How four inspirational Scots women beat the recession to become a success

Many people have faced job losses or struggled to find work over the past year as the recession bites. But now with a new year, it’s time for a new you and the chance to look forward.

MARIA CROCE spoke to four inspirational Scots women who show how you can find success either through building yourself up from nothing or landing that dream career after redundancy. It’s time to forget the recession and move towards 2011 career heaven….

fiona bain


When Fiona Bain discovered she was being made redundant, she didn’t waste time – and was on the way to her dream job in 10 minutes.

Fiona, 41, had worked for 13 years as a part-time account manager for a cosmetics firm when she learned she was to lose her job.

“It was a terrible shock,” admitted Fiona, from Glasgow. “Because of the economic climate I worried about getting another job. But my brother suggested I put my CV online.”

Just 10 minutes later, she got a text asking her to call a recruitment firm who invited her to an interview with Transform cosmetic surgery clinic in Glasgow.

Following a second interview, she landed the job as a non-surgical patient co-ordinator, dealing with people interested in Botox and fillers.

She said: “When I heard I’d have to do a presentation for my second interview I thought I couldn’t do it. But I realised I’d just have to challenge myself.”

Now Fiona, who is married to police officer Ross and has a nineyear-old son, Lewis, is over the moon that she landed her dream job in July.

She said: “It’s like a different side to what I was doing before with skincare and I’ve introduced a new range to the clinic.

“It’s a really nice environment, a nice team and a better job with the chance to progress.

“I’d suggest anyone in the same position should stay positive and don’t sit back, put your CV out there as soon as possible.”

Go to or phone 0800 655 6406.

lisa tobias


Former top gymnast Lisa Tobias had a part-time job in a pizza takeaway at 18 but initially thought she wanted to be a PE teacher.

While at Strathclyde University, she continued working part-time in Domino’s but then decided she’d rather concentrate on the pizza business so left her studies.

She hasn’t looked back as now she owns five Domino’s Pizza stores with a combined turnover of more than £3.5 million and employs 200 people.

“All my friends were at university so it was quite a difficult decision to make,” explained Lisa, now 29, who lives in Newton Mearns.

“And my family felt I ought to finish my degree first. But I couldn’t face another four years doing something I didn’t enjoy.”

Lisa became a store manager within a year and at 21 was named manager of the year for the UK and Ireland.

She decided at 23 to buy her first Domino’s franchise and her accountant husband Graeme joined her in the business.

Now the couple have a total of five stores in Kilmarnock, Ayr, Clydebank, Govan and Irvine.

Lisa, who is mum to eight-month-old Naomi, said: “I always wanted more than one store because I always want to push myself to achieve more.

“My advice is as long as you work hard and put the effort in you’ll see the rewards afterwards.”

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isobel mcrorie


Isobel McRorie started managing a slimming club part-time 23 years ago – but now she owns the company which has thousands of members.

“I never had any aspirations of running my own business,” admits the 55-year-old from Denny, Stirlingshire.

But in 2009, Isobel and three of her fellow senior managers bought Scottish Slimmers.

She says: “At times it doesn’t seem that different as we’re all still doing the same jobs. We’re still working a lot of hours – but at least now we have an interest in it.

“During the management buyout we did have a lot of concerns but when you hear the success stories of how people have been helped to change their lives through Scottish Slimmers it makes you think it was something we had to do. It’s so rewarding.”

Isobel was a single mum of two daughters when she decided to boost her income from a full-time job in sales by managing a slimming club back in 1987.

In 1993, she went full-time, running 15 Scottish Slimmers classes a week in Glasgow and East Kilbride. She was promoted to area manager in 1998 and later development manager, dealing with recruiting and training.

Isobel admits she has struggled with her weight and attended a colleague’s Scottish Slimmers class.

She said: “I recommend anyone starting out to find something they believe in and be prepared to work hard. I don’t ask anyone to do anything I haven’t already done.”

For more information contact or call freephone 0800 36 26 36.


Angela MacVicar feared she would lose her home after being made redundant from her job at a charity.

But now she’s driving a Mercedes after becoming a regional vicepresident of botanically-based skincare company Arbonne International.

“I’m not materialistic, but earning the car was a symbol of my achievement and evidence that the business worked. But it’s also thanks to my team and it’s up to me to make it work for them too,” she said.

Angela, 50, from Bishopton, Renfrewshire, had been a donor recruitment manager for the Anthony Nolan charity for seven years.

She’d originally got involved as a volunteer after her daughter Johanna was diagnosed with leukaemia at 16. But she landed a job with them in 2002.

Angela, who is divorced and has three other daughters, continued to dedicate herself to her work for the charity after Johanna died in 2005, aged 27.

But she was made redundant in September last year.

She said: “I wasn’t bitter as I realised my time was spent with Anthony Nolan and it was time to let go and find myself again.”

Angela had been introduced to the Arbonne range by a friend in 2008.

She said: “Arbonne interested me as I wanted to use something pure and I could see there was an opportunity to make a little extra money by selling a product I believed in.

“When I was made redundant in 2009, I just decided to concentrate on my Arbonne independent consultant business. I’m offering people an opportunity to either become involved in a business or to use a good botanically-based skincare product.

“If I hadn’t started my business, I would have been destitute and I would have lost my home. But I still feel I’m in a job that’s helping others.”

By April 2010 – just seven months after being made redundant – Angela was doing so well she became a regional vice-president and earned a bonus to buy her white Mercedes.

She advises: “Nobody can change your life except you and it’s down to how much you want something. I managed to turn my life around by believing in myself.

“Plan A is great but everyone should have a plan B.”


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