Nik started at agencies Ketchum and Band & Brown (now Citizen). Made a director at 28, Nik headed the latter’s Corporate & Business division.
At Band & Brown Nik met Gerry Hopkinson and they set up Unity when Nik was 29. Whilst at Unity, Nik was named one of The Sunday Times 35 under 35. Management Today also featured her on its cover and in an exhibition of business leaders – her portrait sat between those of Sir Terry Leahy and Sir Alan Sugar. She was also a finalist in Grazia O2’s business-woman of the year, in addition to appearing in two series of Channel 4’s Battlefront.
During her 12-year tenure, Unity won over 400 awards including Agency of the Year and Campaign of the Year at the PR Week Awards and Best PR Agency in the World and Best Campaign in the World at the Global Sabre Awards. Unity also consistently featured in the top three of the Holmes Report’s Global Creativity Index.
In both 2017 and 2016 Nik featured in PR Week’s Top 10 Power List for brand PR leaders, as well as its 2017 review of female comms chiefs.
Nik’s client portfolio has included Coca-Cola, Facebook, M&S, Lego, Disney, Whitbread, Lloyds and BT.
Having achieved all she wanted to at Unity, in January 2018 Nik sold her stake and is currently pursuing new interests.
Nik also co-founded / invested in agency Tin Man, and has stakes in a number of other businesses including Anna Jones’ latest venture, Allbright.
Describe your background in 5 words max
Youngest child, urban/country duel-dweller
How did you get into PR and/communications?
Landed a tour guide role at Madame Tussauds fresh out of Uni (Leicester – where I studied History of Art). Now in London – how to get into PR? Volunteered for free on my days off for the PR dept of Madame Tussauds which led to an account exec role at Ketchum.
What do you love about your job?
The people, the challenge, the grit needed to get to the top
What are you most proud of?
Saving lives with Wasted Youth way back in 2007. Realised I could run a profitable business and change the world. That’s pretty motivating.
What’s been the hardest lesson to learn?
That decisions you make on a whim can come back and bite years down the road. Read the small print!
Who are your favourite people in PR/communications and why?
Davnet Doran: a rock when I was in a hard place.
Bibi Hilton: she finds time for Golin, Women in PR and parenthood.
Jess Holland: I mentor her because I see genius.
What skill do you think every PR has to nail?
Grit – if you want to reach the top, a burning desire to constantly evolve – as this industry isn’t going to wait for you
What is your favourite social network and why?
The Allbright, London’s first private members club for working women – it’s social in a different way.
Who is your favourite journalist and why?
Niki Cardwell of the BBC. She’s also my tennis partner
What’s the best advice you’ve ever been given?
If you’re both the same one of you isn’t needed
What’s your ‘yay’ and ‘nay’ campaign of the year so far?
Yay – KFC. Responding with guts to the chicken crisis
Nay – Mastercard world cup activation. You’re kidding me right? Gamifying starvation?
“PR agencies only talk about diversity to win big awards and look good. But it’s just tokenistic”. Discuss.
It’s gotta be more then. If all your staff look and think the same what kind of diversity are you going to get in your work
What advice would you give a talented BME PR Pro starting to think this sector will never give them the opportunities they deserve and are close to jacking it in to retrain as a doctor (which would make their African parents very happy)?
Contact me. LinkedIn etc. But beyond that just feel the fear and keep promoting yourself anyway. What would Dua Lipa do?
Finally, on a lighter note… Gutted to hear you can’t make the BME PR Pros Summer Party…. Out of curiosity, what tune would have had you hitting the dancefloor?
Lorde, Green Light