Lina Bourdon is the Founder and MD of City & Country Financial Services Ltd, a practice of Independent Financial Advisers based in central London. She has run financial seminars and workshops for a number of years and she was also a part of a project organised by the Financial Services Authority “Money Made Clear”.
Among organisations Lina has worked with are: House of Commons, Ministry of Justice, Home Office, UK Border Agency, John Lewis, Zurich, Sony, BUPA, NHS Trusts and Local Government offices to name but a few. Lina holds two Masters Degrees (in Law and Philology) as well as a Diploma in Financial Advice, several qualifications in sales, and she has undertaken an endless list of courses. Lina is a powerful and charismatic speaker who promotes and supports women in business and supports women.
Originally from the Ukraine, Lina lived in Russia for over a decade before moving to London and quickly establishing herself as a successful business woman and a great achiever. Lina came to the UK in 2001.
She was not able to find a job immediately and was told she was over qualified! Lina decided to take a different approach and set up her own business. In a short period of time and in the middle of the financial crisis she made a career in an industry dominated by men. Apart from running her business and working with clients Lina is well known for providing financial education to businesses and their employees.
If you could write a note to your younger self, what would you say today?
My younger self always knew that life would find her place in the world but even in her wildest dreams she was not be able to imagine how far she would go! I grew up in a country which does not exist any longer – the Soviet Union. The Western world was a scary beast for us when we were kids. So if someone told me that I would be living in Western Europe and running a business in one of the most special cities on Earth my younger self might have had a nervous breakdown! It is good that life does not tell us more than we need to know! So if I was writing a note to my younger self I would probably advise her to enjoy every single moment as it comes, look at everything life throws at you with curiosity and don’t sweat over the small stuff!
How much has your life changed through the years?
My life has changed a lot! I was born in a small Ukrainian town no one has heard of and spent the first seven years of my life with my grandparents. My parents were working so I went to kindergarten. A few weeks after going to kindergarten I got ill. My Granny took me to their village so I could recover, and she never let me back to kindergarten again! I stayed with my grandparents until I had to go to school – this was the best thing that happened to me.
I think. I spent my early childhood surrounded by nature with people who didn`t try to put me “in a box” and allowed me to be myself. Then I moved to the town where my parents lived and spent the next 10 years of my life there. So for the first seventeen years of my life I lived in places where everyone knows everyone. After I finished school I moved to Russia (which was still at the time part of the Soviet Union) to study law at University. Kalinigrad, the city I lived in for the next 13 years of my life, was huge compared to my childhood town – there were over 800,000 inhabitants there – and it was both challenging and exciting to find your own place among all those people.
…if I was writing a note to my younger self I would probably advise her to enjoy every single moment as it comes, look at everything life throws at you with curiosity and don’t sweat over the small stuff!
Today I live and work in London, I call this amazing city my home and at times it does feel like I am in the centre of the Universe! And though my life has changed dramatically I think deep inside I am still the same – a little girl who loves to be lost in nature.
What is the biggest decision you have taken in your life?
There were many but the most challenging was a decision to set up my own business in the country which I knew very little about, in an industry dominated by men and with no experience whatsoever. Add the biggest financial crises the world has ever seen to the mix and you have a perfect recipe for failure. I had many, many opportunities to throw in the towel and do what seemed logical – find a job. But instead I decided to keep going and make my business work. I am glad I did.
What makes you proud of yourself?
I am a very proud mother! My daughter is the best and the most successful “project” I have been involved with so far. She is 21 now and we are more like two friends than a mother and a daughter. From a very young age she called me “an old wise owl” – I can`t say I agree with the “old” part but overall I like the name. Some time ago she said that she had the best mom she could dream about. It brought tears to my eyes. Well, I might not be the best mom, she is biased! But I am definitely the luckiest one!
I believe we should regret things we don’t do rather than the things we do do. If I were to die tomorrow I would have no regrets. So far I’ve lived my life to the full.
Do you blame yourself anytime – if yes for what?
I don’t blame myself but I am very tough with myself! I am very good at acknowledging other people`s good deeds and noticing beauty in every human being. But when it comes to myself… well, I am a human being, a work in progress! I am learning!
Do you have regrets in life?
No not really. I believe we should regret things we don’t do rather than the things we do do. If I were to die tomorrow I would have no regrets. So far I’ve lived my life to the full.
How do you deal with failure and loss?
I believe there is no such thing as failure, there is only feedback from which to learn. If something does not go according to a plan then I see it as an opportunity to change and move forward. As about loss – losing physical things and objects does not bother me much. I freely give away what I have. I do find it difficult to deal with the loss of people I love. I`ve lost both of my grandparents in a short period of time – less than 6 months. It happened quite a while ago. They both lived to a ripe old age, but even so I am still very emotional when I talk or think about them. My parents are still with me but I know the day will come when I will have to say good bye to them too. And I have no idea how I will deal with that.
How do you treat yourself to express self-love?
I buy myself presents – books!
How do you choose the people who are part of your life?
I don’t think I choose people. I rather allow people to be part of my life. Many years ago when I was in my early or mid-twenties I realised that it is impossible to pretend and live the life others expect you to live. So I promised myself to do whatever it takes to discover who I am and to stay true to myself. This discovery is an ongoing process, it never ends! But today I know much more about myself then I did in my twenties. And being myself allowed me attract the right people into my life – be it in business or personal life. I am very lucky, I am surrounded with beautiful people who I love, respect and admire – my husband, my family, my friends, the people I work with, clients and complete strangers.
What dream makes you feel scared?
I take life as it comes – moment by moment. It is probably strange to say something like this but I do not have grand dreams. I live in the present and try to enjoy every tiny bit of it. Huge success probably scares me more than anything but I have long way to go to worry about that! I told you I am very tough when it comes to myself!
Photo by Francisco Cruzat