We’re delighted to be supporting the Women for Women International Charity and to bring you this interview with it’s Executive Director, Brita Fernandez-Schmidt.
A little introduction about who you are & what you do…
I am the Executive Director for Women for Women International (UK), a charity that helps women survivors of war rebuild their lives. I am incredibly passionate about providing support for women in countries affected by conflict, women who have experienced unspeakable trauma and who are struggling to survive on a daily basis. I spend a lot of my time talking to people about the work we do in countries like Afghanistan, Rwanda, Congo, Iraq, South Sudan and Kosovo. I feel privileged to be able connect people in the UK and Europe with women in those situations through our sponsorship programme http://www.womenforwomen.org.uk/sponsor-a-sister who then inspire each other. And I love seeing the difference and impact we can have on women’s lives, but also the lives of their children, families and ultimately communities.
How would you describe your lifestyle?
I have a really busy lifestyle. Every minute counts. I get up super early for my run with my dog. I often have back to back meetings. If I don’t have evening events, I will make time for my family in the evening but I also often spend a few hours checking my emails and just playing catch-up. Weekends are a bit more relaxed and I love to play tennis or read when I am not spending time with family or friends.
What are your non-beauty essentials?
I always have a lemon in my handbag because I love a hot lemon first thing in the morning and I don’t have time to drink that at home – I often get a few funny looks though…. The other key item is my phone – I take any notes or to do lists on my phone – I never use pen and paper anymore so it’s all in there.
What are your beauty handbag essentials?
In my job, I often go from one meeting to the next, often very different in nature. I always have a few different lipsticks in my hand bag – no matter the time of day – just putting on a bit of lipstick makes me feel fresh and renewed and ready for the next meeting or challenge.
What is your favourite Bagsy product?
My favourite product is absolutely the Bronzed Brilliance – I love bronzers and this one is the best – because of the inspiring message in it and because 15% of profits come to Women for Women International. I am so grateful to Bagsy for this generous support and for helping to spread the message about the work we do with women in countries affected by conflict. I really hope that many Bagsy customers will be inspired by our collaboration.
Your one tip for busy women?
Stop at least once a day, take a deep breath, spend 10 or 15 minutes being mindful – it was transformational for me when I started to do that – sometimes the stories that I hear about the women we help can make me feel very sad, and taking the time to stop and appreciate all that I have and all that I can do to help others, gives me the energy to give my best every day.
Best bit of advice you’ve been given?
I am so lucky to have an amazing family and many wonderful friends and people who support me and give me advice, so it is hard to choose, but one of the most important ones that come to mind is: to know that you are enough and that you are doing your best. I have a tendency as many of us do to always push myself harder and focus on the things I have not yet done or not yet mastered and so now my new goal is to know that I am enough and that I am doing my best and that is all that anyone can do.