Dina SonVisible Start Graduate

If part of the challenge of being a midlife woman is reinvention, Dina has experience of it by the bucket load!

Determined, curious and positive: three words Dina uses to describe herself.

If part of the challenge of being a midlife woman is reinvention, Dina has experienced it by the bucket load!

Having been born in Russia to Korean parents and moving to Kazakhstan when she was 10, she has a truly fascinating background.

Taking a degree in English held her in good stead when Kazakhstan opened up to foreign investment and Dina became a translator at an American-owned power generation plant. Due to cost cutting, she was asked to take on responsibility for a wider remit of disciplines including legal translation, office management and team leadership – an amazing example of her adapting to circumstances as they arose and learning new skills on the job. All this whilst raising her daughter, Nadezhda, as a single mum.

Her second job was at one of the main oil and gas fields in Kazakhstan. Again, Dina had to be flexible as her role changed greatly over time, with responsibilities covering everything from industrial and environmental safety and marketing as an interpreter for oil transportation logistics coordination.

Six years ago Dina moved to the UK to be with her husband Neville. Not only did this decision mean adapting to life in the UK but having to give up a career – and a big part of her personality with it. Looking for her next path, she embarked on something completely new, enrolling herself on a pottery course!

Parallel to this, an opportunity in her old field presented itself and she took a job which she held until redundancies hit last year, at which time she and Neville left London. With friends still in city, Neville travelling a lot for work, and finding herself in a much smaller community, the transition to village life has in some ways been one of her biggest challenges yet.

But once again Dina is reinventing herself: (pot!) throwing herself into her ceramics and planning a strategy to grow it to be a business in itself.

In one of our chats, Dina commented on feeling nervous about approaching people about her business – a new concern for her. We discussed the security of working for a company in that when you are operating and reaching out to customers and colleagues you are of course doing so as yourself, but with the mantle and support of the company and its reputation, and that it’s at that crossover point where the organisation you work for and what it stands for becomes part of your personality. Which is why when redundancy hits at the midlife point it can have a far greater negative impact than at another time.

Now for Dina, building her business will be based on her own personal brand, both in the plan she sets up and the relationships she builds – growing it in a way that will greatly help her get to know her new neighbours.

Dina is fantastically optimistic and grew up with the saying ‘Live to see a better tomorrow’. As she quite rightly says now: “This is my better tomorrow!”

Positive, clever and warm: three words I would use to describe Dina.

A resourceful woman who has reinvented herself several times and will do so again with aplomb – her amazing ceramics are available just in time for Christmas!

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Anna RooseveareDebbi Francis