Interview: Yvonne Brownlie

Yvonne Brownlie is General Manager of Look Good Feel Better. The charity organises free “pick me up” workshops for women undergoing treatment for cancer. During the workshops they get a pampering treatment and a makeover and the chance to talk to other women going through a similar experience. They receive a gift bag full of cosmetics to take home, thanks to the CTFA. The women leave the workshops with a smile on their faces and the strength to face the challenge of a lifetime. Look Good Feel Better celebrates its 20 year anniversary this year.

What was your first job?

My first job was as a hairdresser beauty therapist in the UK, working in one of London’s famous salons in Knightsbridge. 

Where has your career taken you? Which cities have you worked in?

I’ve been very lucky, my career has taken me around the world. Being a fashion buyer was an exciting career move working in leading department  stores, working on the latest trends and having to turn around styles in the space of a week. My love of fashion continues to this day. My hairdressing background helped me get a job with L’Oreal  whom I worked for 15 years. I have worked in Los Angeles, Toronto, Montreal, Melbourne Sydney and I now work in Auckland.  

When did you become involved with Look Good Feel Better?

I became involved with LGFB when I was working for L’Oreal in Australia. The programme was being introduced there for the first time and I was asked to work on the committee to set up LGFB. It was great privilege.  

What inspires you about the charity?

Just this morning a woman came into the office having just been diagnosed with cancer and being told that she will have to undergo chemotherapy treatment. As you can imagine she was extremely upset to learn what the side effects of her treatment would be - changes to her skin, loss of eyebrows and loss of hair. To be able to rekindle the hope in her, that help is at hand through LGFB and just to be able to assure her that there is still hope that she can look as normal as possible – that inspires me.

What gets you out of bed every morning?

I’ve always been a very disciplined person so I tend to plan my day in advance. But knowing I’m able to help other women is very motivating.  

LGFB is 20 years old and has achieved so much. What do you hope the charity achieves in the next 20 years?

Yes it’s quite a milestone for the programme. I would like to see the programme continue its success helping as many women as possible to have confident to face the world while undergoing treatment for cancer.  

What are you reading at the moment?

A book I have been promising myself I would read for some time - Nelson Mandela

How do you wind down at the end of a day?

It depends on the day but three to four times a week I like to visit the gym (doesn’t always work out). Friday nights it’s with a glass of wine.

 
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