Profile Stories

Heather Gibson

Heather Gibson is Our featured member this month is Heather Gibson, Heather joined Opus Matrix two years ago and has since benefitted from all the great advantages that Opus Matrix can offer. Here is her story:

I am Heather Gibson and I am owner of HGArts (www.hgartist.com). I am a watercolour artist and crafter based in the Scottish Borders, drawing inspiration from the surrounding rural landscapes of Scotland and Northumberland. Alongside my artwork, I create original jewellery, stick-dressing and needlework. I set up my business in order to fulfill a lifelong ambition of having my own business and become more independent and after receiving initial commissions for my work. This year I also have my first solo art exhibition entitled 'labour of love', which is being held over the summer.

As well as running my own business, I am also administrator at Duns Castle where my duties include organising and managing all the weddings and events at the castle. My other interests include training/working gun dogs, motorsport media, clay shooting with the Chelsea shotgun and bun club - which is a national club promoting and encouraging women interested in countryside pursuits - and I am looking forward to being involved in the First Ladies national clay shooting day in June this year.

Jacintha Canary

Jacintha Canary is a trained teacher and basketball coach who recently ran her own counselling practice. This year she decided to take on the challenge of the role of Customer Advisor at Kleen Cleaners in St Mary’s Street, Edinburgh. In 2011 she wrote a book, Peppermint Bon Bons; this follows the journey of her having survived child sexual abuse and growing up in South Africa. One of her passions is to write about women of colour and help them realise their potential. Look out for her blog posts of 12 of these women whom she wants to get noticed.

Tricia Munoz (PaciaFest)

I’m a Press and Public Relations Officer, but my practice includes graphic design, marketing and events management. I produce visual arts events and work with individuals as well as companies.

I see the creative industries and manufacturing as the makers of our environment and adore being part on a huge network of people who constantly ‘think outside the box’ and I take all manner of risks to make their ideas come true. To me, there is evidence of people’s ingenuity and brilliance all around. Furniture, textiles, lighting, utensils, and technology: were all thought of by someone. Even the bus stop and the cup you drink from, had to be the product of someone's idea first.
Not knowing what will happen next makes for a very interesting life and I’m always excited and driven by the passion and commitment of the people with whom I work.

I’ve been Self-employed most of my life and have various skills that I can turn to. I’m analytical as well as creative and can switch from design to writing press releases or managing the direction of projects and events to ensure their success.

At the moment I’m working for Quartet, a contemporary dance piece by amazing dancers Jack Webb and Rosalind Masson. We are doing shows in Edinburgh Festival Theatre Studio and the Lemon Tree in Aberdeen, so I’ve been designing and making posters and flyers, as well as adverts and PR-ing the show.

This month, I also start work with Cultural Enterprise Office. They are an excellent company for anyone starting out in the creative industries, or even for old hands wanting to develop their practice. I’ll be working with creative’s, inventors and innovators from across Scotland, as part of the Starter for 6 Programme.

Lastly, I am a founder member of Opus Matrix, and have been since Debbie Davis first came up with the idea. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed helping the company grow and develop to an international level and look forward to making it bigger, stronger and more successful.

Anne Reid

I’m “The Story Lady” or Anne Reid, MD of SpeakingLives® & Senior Life Interview Consultant. I was so named by a 93 year old client with Dementia while I was recording his 3-hour Life Story interview because he couldn’t remember my name. As an Oral Historian, “I do what you always mean to.”
Having been made redundant for the third time in my 50s, I was looking online for part-time work and came across SpeakingLives : my instant reaction was, “I wish I’d known about that before my Mum died - she was an only child and stories about her early life are all lost.” I then thought, “There must be hundreds of others in a similar position – maybe by doing this I could get to them so they didn’t have to say... if only.”

Anne says : Members of Opus Matrix should believe in their worth by acknowledging their existing skills and experience – you too can go from being “an over-qualified job-hopper” to “I have the best job in the world!” I believe opusmatrix.com is an excellent forum for women and businesses to share their skills by encouraging others to do the same. The bonus is - expanding your career horizons without spending time travelling to networking events and paying meeting fees. Like SpeakingLives – you can do all this from the comfort of your own home. No more... if only! Read more here

This is what one of her many clients says about Margot:
“Anne's personable charm and ability to respond to her client's needs with empathy and discretion makes her the perfect moderator. I employed Anne to interview my grandparents in Yorkshire, unused to strangers in their home. Typical of Anne, she put them immediately at ease and allowed them to tell their stories at their own pace, resulting in a fantastic personal legacy for our family. As a Life Interviewer Anne delivers results, as a businesswoman she is great to work with: organised, an excellent communicator, with a 'can-do' approach to her work. A highly recommended individual”

Nicola Warwick

Nicola Warwick inspires people to grow by showing them how to communicate their message to the world. As a translator of dreams into reality, she's guided others to share their passions through their online presence using her own brand of unconventional techniques. When she’s not helping her clients use technology effectively to grow their business, you can find her indulging her love of tree photography, buying stationery or baking lush cakes. Discover how to put heart and soul into your life and business at www.nicolawarwick.com.

Grace Black

Grace is a vocalist and has been performing semi-professionally since 2007. She has appeared at various festivals and venues around Scotland, but most of her time is taken up staging fundraising events for cancer charities. Grace, herself a breast cancer survivor, underwent 7 months of treatment after diagnosis in October 2006.
On 1st October this year, Grace released on CDBaby and iTunes, a new version of a Stephen Schwartz tune called, 'When we believe'. You can hear the song here >>
Link to Grace's Facebook page >>.
To buy now click here >>
"October is Breast Cancer Awareness month and a relevant month for me, since I was diagnosed with the disease in October 2006, so I wanted to release this single to help raise funds for the charity that supported me and many others through a very difficult time, with advice and support on the countless issues that face us when dealing with cancer...."

Karen Barr

Karen Barr is the owner of Beswitchedon, a life coaching company that specialises in helping women attract love.
Karen has a BSc (Hons) in Psychology, a PG Diploma in Mindfulness, is a qualified coach, and is accredited in many therapeutic techniques such as counselling, hypnotherapy, NLP and EFT.

Karen started Beswitchedon after searching for answers to her own challenges in finding love, coupled with an enthusiasm to utilise her strengths and experience and a desire to make a difference.

She enjoys yoga, learning and skiing and is never happier than when out walking Ellie her cocker spaniel (except maybe when enjoying a glass of wine with her friends – in a dog friendly pub of course!).

She is also the Members Secretary of the Edinburgh Businesswoman’s Club, a role which she enjoys enormously.

Maureen Evans

In October 2010, I had just started an interesting new senior management job in financial services. I liked my job but something kept telling me to do something different. So, after plucking up the courage, I started training to become a Pilates teacher in January 2011 with one of the best Pilates schools in the world.

I’m now a qualified Movement specialist and Pilates teacher. I look at, and help change, detailed movement patterns of people’s bodies. And I love it! It hasn’t been an easy ride - the level of depth and complexity that I’ve had to learn and understand has been mindblowing. To add to that, I'm not naturally sporty and I've had back problems most of my life. However, all of these challenges allow me to more easily help and relate to others. I love helping people. And, I have a whole new perspective on life and on the way that my body works - helping me both in sport and in everyday life. I’m delighted that I’ve made the change.

Gail Neckel

"Next year I'm going to be 50 – wow 2 that! On my best days, I realise what a lot I have achieved to date and on a bad day, I just temporarily forget....and feel not 'good enough', yet".

Eldest daughter of a Perthshire entrepeneur, I schooled in the local village and then went to an all-girls school in Edinburgh. Went to art school, worked in the Contemporary Art World, Designed men's cashmere suiting in Saville Row, accessories for Tie Rack, Johnstons of Elgin and Holland & Holland Gunsmiths. Switched to Complimentary Health in the 90's, studying Holistic Aromatherapy with Robert Tisserand, touring with him and independantly introducing Aromatherapy to the Womens Professional Golf Tour.

I started a family during this time and continued my alternative focus by home-birthing both my children, not innoculating them and avoiding medical intervention where possible.

Married for over 25 years- to the same man – I have two self-educated kids, 2 dogs, a cat, 2 horses and some aged goldfish! Currently, I have a clinic in central Edinburgh and at The Bield Reteat near Perth, where I offer Holistic Aromatherapy and Body Detection sessions.

I held my first BMe Event in May, introducing guests to eight different therapies, their skills and tools, to empower and support them to BE more of themselves, more of the time – the key to happiness and success in my book.

More of these events to follow and a 4-day festival coming soon to take it to the next level I hope!

My university has been living the above!

Embracing all the lessons, processing them and expanding my own awareness and sharing that awareness, through my work, with my clients......and remembering to keep dancing, laughing, singing like nobody's watching !" Please contact Gail if any of this is of interest to you - she'd love a coffee and a chat... Mob 07703 262722 or [email protected]

Lorna Pellet

A serial entrepreneur, creating & developing many significant brands within various industry sectors. Revolutionising the café culture in Edinburgh with Patisserie Florentin. Nominated for Entrepreneur of the Year. After selling the company with a turnover of £1.5 million she went on to commercialise Graduates for Growth from Edinburgh’s Chamber of Commerce addressing a significant influence on addressing university-to-business gap in the market.

Laterally, Lorna launched Love Pure Cakes, the first free from cake company in the UK that incorporates superfood and ‘Guilt Free Cakes’; gluten free, vegan, sugar reduced, lactose free cakes, all with significant health benefits which include products like seaweed and algae.
An active promoter and international speaker on women in business and entrepreneurship.

Past and present involvements:
Committee member Women in Business – Chamber of Commerce
Non executive director, Women onto Work
NXD Shelter Scotland
Business partner, St Thomas of Aquin’s
Committee member, Strategy and Policy Group for Skills and Training
Committee member, Friends of Inverleith Park
Advisory group, E-Skills Scotland

Cynthia Gentle

Cynthia Gentle, originally from Zimbabwe, has been in Scotland for 13 years. She went to Napier University where she studied languages and business studies.
As she needed flexibility to look after her son, she also trained as a beautician and so became self-employed 10 years ago. Cynthia has found the salon to be a very rewarding experience, meeting women from many different backgrounds. It was important to her to create a relaxing atmosphere in which she could help women to look and feel their best.

Her salon offers a wide range of treatments from health supplements and skincare to tanning and nail extensions. Looking good doesn’t have to cost the earth, and she reminds women that we come in all shapes and sizes. The aim is to bring out the best in every woman. Cynthia is excited about Opus Matrix as it is an opportunity to meet other women in business and to network. She says, “Experience has taught me that word of mouth is the best way to advertise and I am looking forward to future networking events.”

Lorna Wheelhouse; Web Developer and Head of IT

After being let down twice, once by a supposedly reputable Web Design company, we at wow are so proud of our excellent web designer – a single mum (40+) who made our dream come true by designing the original site - wow-a2z.

Lorna lives near Eyemouth, Scotland with her young son, partner and terrier, Sooty. She loves being near the sea.
Lorna looks for humour in everything and in her free time she doesn’t like to sit around indoors – she prefers the great outdoors including sledging with her young son, walking, organic gardening and body boarding (in the summer). When the weather is bad she likes to bake, make soft furnishings and research her ancestry. She also loves music and is part of a local singing group and vows one day to learn the piano.
Lorna is an enthusiastic and passionate web developer and database designer who designs intuitive and fun to use bespoke websites and applications by discovering how users really think.

With an MSc in Information Technology and over 15 years experience of designing and developing websites and web applications, she has a wealth of experience in interpreting business requirements and has gained an excellent understanding of how technology can be used to encompass the requirements of both the business and the customer. Lorna has a professional understanding of creative design and layout with a sound grasp of web development utilising Microsoft technologies such as ASP.Net, SQL Server (and T-SQL), together with a front-end technologies such as Adobe Photoshop and Javascript. Such technologies enable her to design sites which will withstand time and offer a large degree of flexibility and growth.

Lorna began her web career working for a large web design agency in Edinburgh where she enjoyed the role as project manager with additional web development and database design responsibilities on some of the larger projects. She served as the primary contact to many high profile clients. As team lead she was responsible for managing the developers and designers and monitoring of projects and timelines.

Lorna now runs her own web design agency (Shand Online Solutions) and has done so for 11 years, building up a successful client base. She is able to offer high quality and innovative design solutions and website marketing for a wide range of clients covering all industries, from new-start owner-managed businesses through to large corporations.

In short "energetic, dedicated, analytical and creative" would aptly describe Lorna and she applies these qualities to her work and business. Lorna's realistic and down to earth approach is what gets the job done right, and efficiently.

Miriam James-Griffiths, founder of Generation Edinburgh

Miriam, a professional dance teacher began dancing at the age of 3 starting with Ballet. Miriam took part in various shows and examinations within the I.S.T.D and U.K.A. before moving onto teaching in Edinburgh, Scotland. She has been teaching professionally since 2007, supporting her pupils in shows and examinations that have developed their skills and confidence in dance. She holds a U.K.A Associate Teaching Qualification in Tap and Jazz and also an International Instructing Certificate in Bodyjam.

Miriam studied Education at Moray House, Edinburgh University for three years and obtained a Bachelors Degree (BA). It is her dream is to see dance making a positive impact on the lives of her pupils within school education and also the local community. Her dance school, Generation Edinburgh (founded last year) caters for all ages and abilities.

Miriam is a great believer in the vision of WOW and the positive impact this will have on women of all ages across the globe. She became involved with the WOW team in the early stages by helping them with advertising and giving suggestions to help see this project succeed. She loves to network, to help build community and hopes that linking with WOW will inspire others to step out and share their visions. This is what she says:
"I think WOW encourages every woman to think outside the box, allowing them to dream big and providing the tools to see their dreams implemented. It has the capacity to grow and help many people on a large scale, not simply from a business point of view, but also by recognizing that we are all in the same boat and, as times are hard, we can make a difference by sticking together."

I would like to use this website to connect with others who have visions, especially in the Arts, to see what is happening around the world and be encouraged by the success stories.

I also love finding cute little shops which sell the most beautiful handmade items and hope to see many of these appear on the website - the best things always come from tucked away places which are usually discovered by word of mouth.

Keep a lookout for those shop windows!"

Cornelia-Maria-Groebe, wine-maker

Cornelia Maria Groebe is a remarkable woman who, after her husband’s tragic accident in 2001, took over her husband’s wine-making business in Germany and built it up more or less single handedly. Here she tells us her story:

I was born on 3rd April 1959, the fourth of five children. After my graduation, I worked in research for BASF,Ludwigshafen, for two years at the university in Munich. In 1983 I married Paul-Gerhard Groebe. After the birth of the first of our three children, I resigned from BASF and made the decision to get involved with my husband’s wine-making business. This meant marketing the product, customer service, hosting wine tastings at the vineyard or at the client’s place of choice.

However, in 2001, my husband suffered a severe aneurism, which left him fighting for his life with only a 5% chance of survival. This illness adversely affected both our lives, as well as our business.

My other passion and outlet is my work in the local church, where I help, speak in services and am sought after as a Counsellor for people who also face life-threatening situations.

I recently learned about the work of www.opusmatrix.com. It struck a chord with me as I came to appreciate the value of networking and fellow support of other women through my own experience.

I think' wow' is a great agent to assist in empowering women to work together and to be there for one another. It also does not discriminate in any way. Any woman can acquire an income through this site, even if all you can do is a hobby craft. What a fantastic idea to have one site, which incorporates all. This is truly unique!
Similarly, if you want to be successful in Germany, you need to network. This is extremely important – especially for women. I am confident that opusmatrix.com will enjoy great success and can’t wait for it to extend to Germany. I will be the first to sign on there and help it on its way.

Lola Ajivo - Singer and Freelance Journalist

My name is Lola Ajivo, but most people call me 'Sophie'. I was born into a family of five, as the first and only girl. My passion for show business started three years ago, with a yearly Live Gospel concert, tagged MARANATHA CHRISTFESTIVAL. An award winner of 2011 in the UK as an upcoming female promoter, winning the award really gave me the motivations and encouragement needed to move on with what i love to do.

As a prospective freelance journalist, i am looking beyond being that embodiment of that aspect as entertainment.
Honestly, I only have just heard about wowa2z. When I went through the site, I found the concept brilliant with an atmosphere, which allows you to interact with all women from all walks of life, discussing business business propects,exchanging ideas and meeting people. I will say I have more commitments now, because I am kind of 'nosy’. I am an inquisitive person who loves meeting people and sharing ideas!

What really captivated me most of all, is the fact that you meet different people, and exchange ideas. This life is a learning ground, and sharing experiences with others is another way of learning. Very cool!!

Basically, because of my specific interest in show business I will definitely be glued to the site, as I will always want to get more people involved in what I do. I want to let them know how and when I do it. It is just one life! We have no resentments or indignation, let us use it to the fullest! I love life and happiness. I will invite my other friends to be part of this 'LADIES THING too!

Natural Connection Enterprizes Limited

Ferial Puren is multi-talented and her skills have been honed through years of varied experiences, education and a continual hunger to learn and upskill. The Wife and mother of two is a traveller at heart and this passion has taken her to many different countries where she has learnt much from the indigenous cultures. She brings this international flavour into any task or project that she tackles. She was born and raised in Cape Town, South Africa where she met and married her husband of 15 years. The two finally settled in Scotland in 2006. Natural Connection is the culmination of her journey towards fulfilling the dream that she believes she has been born for. Her absolute passion for seeing people become all they are meant to be, her inspiration she finds through the creative arts, her love for fashion, respect for our planet and her faith in the Divine is Natural Connection.

Dorota Alimowska was born and raised in Poland, where she graduated in 2000 from the Academy of Fine Arts. After successfully completing her degree in Fashion Design, she went on to study fashion design at the International Academy of Design & Technology in Toronto.

Dorota moved to Edinburgh in 2010 where she began to collaborate on an eco-fashion label, Nayane with Ferial Puren. This partnership eventually culminated in the formation of Natural Connection.

Natural Connection is a hub for, and referencing point to trusted green, natural, alternative therapies, products and acclaimed alternative health therapists in order to educate, encourage and promote a natural, organic and earth friendly, holistic lifestyle. We offer, A retail and online shop selling a large range of essential oils and many other natural and organic skincare and personal hygiene products as well as an eco fashion range called Nayane and a holistic therapies clinic, called, Natural Touch. We are a team therapists facilitating, aromatherapy, reflexology, physiotherapy, shaitsu, natural beauty therapy, life, career, business, health & nutritional coaching. We also offer a whole host of massage techniques.

WOW: How long have you been involved with the wowa2z team and in what capacity?
We have been involved right from the start in the capacity of friends of wowa2z because we really do believe in the vision and we hope that we can be a very active part of seeing this vision come to fruition in the future because it aligns so much with our own vision of empowering people to do successful life.
WOW: What excites you most about the project?
Connectivity because in community we flourish and divided we fall. We have been created for community and sharing and wowa2z is a tool that facilitates this community among women that is so amazing and can works so well if we utilize it.
WOW: How are hoping to use the website in the future?
We hope to use the wowa2z platform on various different levels in the future, such as:
networking
building community
offering jobs & business opportunities
communicating special offers and information in order to educate the ladies about their health & total well-being
provide self development training programmes

Lorna Brooks

Lorna Brooks is a professional musician, vocal coach and singer-songwriter.
Lorna has been keenly watching the site develop since the very beginning. "The idea of having a platform for women to visit for information on women in business and offering professional services is something that makes me very excited. I believe that there is a lack of information available for women by women."