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of The Riviera Woman

Hello. My name is Anna Fill and I welcome you to my website. If you’re a woman living or working on the Riviera or if you are just visiting, this is the place for you. My site is full of inspirational people and interesting articles, so keep coming back and let us help you live your Riviera life to the full!

PS Men: don’t feel left out; you are very welcome here too!

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Career Women

Career Women; that’s what we want to call these columns as it just about covers everything we want to encompass. You could be employed in a large corporation or a small company, you may be a managing director or CEO, you could work at home, work for yourself, run a peripatetic business, spend your time on the road as a representative, you could be running an internet business from a home office or thinking of starting for one – yes, we also want to include articles of interest to women who are just starting out, looking for work, searching for the right career, wanting to set up a business…

I could go on, but I think you get the idea. Just about anything that relates to business and to women can be included, if not by me, then by one of our other members.

So who am I?  I come from a background (long time ago) in local government in UK where I worked on women’s development and assisting women gain qualifications and confidence in their working roles. I started my own training company in 1986. Since then I’ve worked as a trainer and coach for in many different sectors in a variety of countries in Europe and the Middle East, providing training in areas of management, leadership and communications. I have also worked coaching teams and individuals, helping them to resolve challenges and move forward. I also write training books and training materials for use by managers, trainers and coaches in different countries.

Apart from what I’ve gained in satisfaction from helping people empower themselves, I feel privileged to have worked across cultures. I have spent time working alongside local people, a much more satisfying relationship than the usual superficial tourist contact, in Egypt, Jordan, Romania, Macedonia….  I spent a month in Cairo working on a project to create training opportunities and promote enterprise in what is, essentially, a poor country with many problems.  I had the rare opportunity to work with two fantastic women; Nagla a young, educated woman wearing western dress and with western ideas but who did not see this as being against her Muslim faith and Azza, older, mother of three, educated by nuns who wore traditional Muslim dress at work and who would, at specific times of the day,  turn quietly to the wall behind her desk and say her prayers in a completely  natural, matter of fact way. I talked to them both about what it meant to them being Muslim women today and had a rare insight into someone else’s world.  I also spent some time in a village just opposite the pyramids (fabulous!) where the custom is still for men to have more than one wife and there is little education available to girls, and where families look for good husbands for their daughters, marriage being their only opportunity (in fact they tend to look for good mothers-in-law as there is a real problem of young wives being physically and psychologically abused by their husband’s mothers). The contrast between city and country life is very marked.

In Romania I worked with local managers to assist them improve their management skills and management practices before this country was accepted into the EU. It was at that time (2004) a country very conscious of its communist past and still very influenced by a mentality which did not call for individualism and where drive and motivation were frowned upon unless used for the ‘common good’. One of my senior agricultural managers had run a state farm under Ceausescu and found it very difficult to adapt to a ‘new’ way of seeing things. I saw few women managers though I know that some of the older women were very well qualified as engineers, scientists and the like.

These are just a couple of examples where I was able to work with, speak to and observe women (and men) from cultures unknown to me except from the media; a very enriching experience I can tell you (and I was paid for it!).  

I’ve been in France for 13 years and wouldn’t change that for the world. Now I’m developing an exciting part of my business: executive and life coaching. I have discovered from my experience of working with managers and executives, that coaching is The Key activity individuals can engage in to make powerful changes in their lives. For this reason I recently went back to study and am currently working towards ICF accreditation (if you aren’t familiar with it, the ICF is the International Coach Federation which is the leading global professional standards body for coaching). I believe that my own personal development is important and that in continuing to work on myself and my skills, I am in a better place to assist my clients more effectively.  In essence I work with business people and individuals who need a short term ‘thinking partner’ to boost them on their life journey.

So you see I’ve had a varied experience in business – employed, self employed, student, company director, virtual team leader, 6 years president of an association and thus manager of volunteers (I didn’t mention this but it is a whole other experience!!). I might not have been exactly where you’ve been or currently are but I expect I have an idea of what it’s like. If not, I’m sure you’ll tell me! We want these articles to be launching pads for discussion and for sharing opinions and ideas so I hope you’ll feel totally involved and will want to participate!

The first article will be:  Motivating Yourself To Go Back To Work.

If you would like to discuss or for further information, please contact:

Kate Cobb -

Tel. 00.33 (0)4.

Sunday, 14 June 2009    Section: Careers    Author: Kate Cobb
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