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Fiona Smith

Fiona Smith

Introduce yourself to our audience. Tell us who you are and what you are currently focused on.

Hi Ellevate community!

My name is Fiona; I’m an English Lit and Drama teacher by training, with a passion for the joy that good literature can bring! I taught in Australia and then London and finally Kent, UK; where I was head of the “pregnant at GSCE (yr 10)” program. I have always kept a space in my heart and mind for helping women of all ages etc who’ve experienced “coercive control”: psychological and mental abuse... the most destructive of all forms of abuse, the least understood, the most shameful, and I believe the hardest to overcome.

After divorcing my coercive and narcissistic ex husband in 2013, leading to my eventual exit from America, I’ve focused solely on “recovering my identity” and healing. I was diagnosed in 2018 with aggressive breast cancer (now in remission!), but my goal is to help women who, in any context are proud, perfect, smart and good... end up in the bed next to me in the Oncology Ward. These abnormally beautiful, educated, well-mannered women who daren’t slurp their tea or use the wrong knife:.. somehow had all the same pattern or abusive relationships with powerful or “partners” in their life.

My mission now (apart from the whole beating cancer thing) is to train to be a social worker and help change the future for victims of narcissistic abuse, coercive control, breast cancer (and other “lifestyle” diseases) and to raise awareness that abuse via manipulation or coercive control is lethal, under-diagnosed and under-recognised. It’s often put in the too hard basket, to society’s detriment. Ergo: does abuse lead to cancer in women? That’s my focus right now!

Tell us about your favorite Ellevate Network memory or success story. Why are you a member?

I’m an honorary member. I was around at Goldman when 85 Broads was in its infancy. Sallie Krawcheck made MD the year I made VP. Not really sure other than that.. Ellevate has always been in my consciousness.

How would you define your professional mission?

To help others in needs with the tools I have.

What qualities does it take for someone to be successful in your line of work?

Consistency Compassion Humility Resilience A history of being a victim of: violence, rejection, neglect, coercive control, sexual abuse, parental mental illness leading to trauma, and beyond.

What is one of your most memorable career accomplishments?

Being accepted as a Masters’ Student at the University my sister couldn’t get in to.

What are some career challenges on your radar?

Changing career at 48 is hard. Also I have cancer.

What project have you worked on that you’re most proud of? Why?

Myself :)

Because I’m alive!

We’d love to hear more about your career path. What led you to where you are today?

I chose life over death because death would’ve left my family hurting more than I could ever imagine.

Also, I needed to prove to everyone that I am not a Fuck up.

What legacy do you hope to leave through your work?

Caring for others and putting my past behind me

What advice would you offer future leading ladies wishing to break into your industry?

Hmm. Fail a lot and say “no I don’t want tea” even more!

Have more questions? Follow up with the expert herself.