18 Feb Interview – Margaret Gibson – OBE
This interview first appeared in 2013 as part of a ‘Women in my life’ blog series which I created to shine a light on inspiring women. Margaret has since won The Queens Award and was awarded with an OBE for her services to Business and Entrepreneurship.
Margaret Gibson has a penchant for brightly coloured tights, funky shoes and is a secret fan of wrestling. Well known for her hard work ethic and passion for helping others to achieve their full potential, Margaret genuinely cares about people and is a great listener, which possibly explains her phenomenal ability to remember names and faces. She is living testament to her mantra of ‘be kinder than people expect you to be’.
My first job was helping my brother with his paper-round, he was 12 and I was 10, we were both cute kids so we used to make a fortune in tips. I’ve always had some sort of job since then, ice-cream van assistant, shop girl, gallery attendant, barmaid, telephonist, nanny, singer and loads more, they all helped me to get me through college. I’ve paid my own way from the age of 14. I’ve always been an independent spirit.
Growing up I dreamed of being a home economics teacher from about the age of 11. I thought that it would be great cooking and sewing all day. In sixth year I gained a place at the old ‘dough school’ but two months before I was due to start I changed my mind (much to everyone‘s surprise including mine) and decided to keep cooking as my hobby. Instead I enrolled onto a Marketing and Communications course and loved it.
The achievement I am most proud of is working with young people who thought they could not do anything, then watching them start businesses, create jobs, make profits and then helping others to do the same thing. I was also chuffed to complete a 5km swim with my son to raise cash for a cancer charity.
The best advice I ever got was ‘You have two eyes, two ears and one mouth; therefore you should listen and watch twice as often as you speak’. I cannot tell you how important that has been to me. I’ve been told I have the best ‘bullshit detector’ ever and combining the above advice with watching who pushes their chairs back under the table after a meeting is always a clear sign. (Those who do are generally good guys!)
Change is painful, revealing, scary, exciting and rejuvenating. I have just been through the biggest year of change I have ever experienced in my life. I encountered all of those feelings and sometimes all at once. I’m happy to report I have survived and thrived though!
I’d be lost without my fantastic husband and two children, they make me laugh, (a lot of the times at myself), make me feel loved and appreciated and very, very lucky.
My goal for the future is to continue to help people reach their goals, travel more, see my kids taking strides ahead with their lives and cuddling up with my husband to watch a great film or the next episode of ‘Breaking Bad’. I think it is good to have goals but don’t get too caught up thinking they have to be life changing or gigantic.
In the public eye…. I believe that Dr. Maya Angelou is a great role model for women because she overcame so many challenges in her young life and used them in a positive way to create a life filled with great things – everyone should read ‘I know why the caged bird sings’. She is now 85 years old and still producing wonderful work. She is a poet, educator, activist, historian, producer, actor and director and a total inspiration to millions of women all over the world.