Ready To Change Direction? Five Women Who Made A Career Pivot

The holidays are a time when we reassess our lives and careers.

If you’ve come home ready to make a change, here are five successful women whose stories should inspire you.

When Prime Minister Boris Johnson asked Kate Bingham to head up the Government’s search for a Covid-19 vaccine, she was unsure whether to accept.

The venture capitalist and biochemist had spent 30 years developing drugs for autoimmune disease and cancer but even so, said she felt out of her depth.

Photo: Kate Bingham Image Source

Undecided about whether to take on the role she admitted to feelings of ‘imposter syndrome’, experienced by even well-qualified and experienced women in business. Encouragement from her daughter was a factor in persuading her to put her life on hold and say yes.

When the first vaccine was administered at the beginning of 2021, Kate stepped down as the chair of the UK vaccine task force, having been widely acclaimed for her role. Boris Johnson said the country owed her and her team a debt of thanks.

The Apprentice finalist and businesswoman Scarlett Allen-Horton was once so afraid of feeling exposed that she wouldn’t use her own photograph on LinkedIn.

The founder of executive search firm Harper Fox Search Partners said she changed during the run-up to filming for The Apprentice.

Scarlett’s ex-partner had been in prison, which she said required the programme makers to carry out checks to ensure she could take part. This annoyed her, she said and gave her the push she needed to sign up for the hugely popular series.

Although she didn’t win, her appearances impressed Lord Sugar and led him to invest in her business.

She told Forward Ladies CEO Griselda Togobo: “I look back now and there’s been so much growth.”

Make-up guru Bobbi Brown is known worldwide for her eponymous beauty line, launched in 1991.

Later acquired by The Estée Lauder Companies, it was considered groundbreaking in its approach and achieved global success.

Bobbi stepped down from the company in 2016 and was involved in a number of projects, before starting all over again with a new cosmetics line which she called Jones Road.

Photo: Bobbi Brown Image Source

She was 63 when she opted to go back to the beginning and launch a business from scratch.

Not only had the process given her what she described as new joy but she had been able to put her abundant curiosity to good use. She’d also opted to keep saying ‘yes’ to things, rather than ‘no’.

Already a successful woman in tech, Jacqueline de Rojas decided she was no longer satisfied with just one corporate role.

The president of techUK wanted to spread her wings and work with different businesses. She now sits on a number of PLC boards, including Rightmove and Costain and enjoys sharing her expertise while jumping in and out of multiple projects.

In conversation with Forward Ladies CEO Griselda Togobo, she said her decision to change to a portfolio career dated back to 2016.

“That was kind of the time when I thought do I want to be working for one single employer full-time or do I want to do different roles at the same time?”

She said she was able to make the change through networking, which put her in a position to hear about opportunities and by gaining experience on the board of The Prince’s Trust charity.

Ruby Wax was best known as a comedian, performer and for the distinctive style she deployed during her hugely influential interview series with the likes of Imelda Marcos, OJ Simpson and Sarah, Duchess of York.

Photo: Ruby Wax Image Source

When her TV career began to slow down, she pivoted to become a respected advocate for good mental health.

Having been open about her own mental health issues, she took a master’s degree in mindfulness-based cognitive therapy and wrote several books on the subject. She set up the Frazzled Café support community and has been recognised with an OBE for services to mental health.

Her work has expanded to include training and workshops in leadership and management.

She once explained how a trip into a redwood forest in California, which took place decades ago, had a profound effect and made her want to study the brain. The experience ultimately changed her life, she added.

Then when her television career came to an end she was ready to reinvent herself.

Have you reinvented yourself or pivoted in your career? We’d love to hear your story. Please contact us at


Why not start by refreshing your LinkedIN profile to position yourself to attract a new role?