When Fernanda Correia-Sefzick moved to England in 1990, she had to start all over again. From working in the fashion industry in Mirandela, a city in Portugal’s northeast, she became a preschool teacher in London.
Married to a German, Fernanda always struggled to keep her Portuguese identity. But after working with the Portuguese Community Centre – an organisation aiming to improve the quality of life of Portuguese speakers in London – she reconnected with her old self. She explained:
“I have found my roots again, I have found myself again, and I am very proud to be who I am and belong to the country I belong.”
Since then, Fernanda has worked at the Lambeth Council, where she used her skills to help over thirty-five organisations to fulfil their business goals, and at Croydon Council, where she ran a project training volunteers for the Olympic Games.
Most recently, Fernanda launched the Business Women Network UK, a project building bridges between women – both from Portugal and other countries – who run their own businesses. She said: “The idea is that those who are already successful will be mentors to those who are starting, or to those who would like to start but are experiencing challenges.”
In the future, Fernanda, who is passionate about digital technology, wants to carry on her work as a businesswoman, and hopes to encourage other Portuguese-speakers to get involved.
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