Nikki Lane on being a woman, leadership and progress

Nikki is an Event Director at We are Vista, working across our largest communications campaigns. She’s seen our agency evolve over the past decade, and has been a crucial part of making growth, success and ambition a reality.

With International Women’s Day not far behind us, Nikki talks about her experience forging a career in the industry, how she’s built self-belief and balance, and why being challenged every day is the most important thing.

Read More…

On people and leadership

Respect is a good place to start. It’s important to give people room to make their own decisions – you can give guidance to help them develop and learn, but everyone needs to be able to do it in their own way. The best thing about my role is the opportunities, the diversity, and the people I work with. Working with really talented people is a huge privilege.

The best piece of advice I could give is just to believe in yourself – what’s the worst that could happen? I’ve built self-belief through knowledge, experience and relationships – learning from people you respect, finding a mentor and being aware of positive influences are all huge benefits.

On achievement

Working in partnership with our biggest client on their major campaign has been game-changing. We developed the current campaign to achieve a real culture shift, part of which was a complex live event across six locations reaching around 20,000 employees. We were bold with our ambition, and I’m hugely proud to say we achieved it.

I also believe taking a step back and seeing the quality and creativity of what we do every single day is a huge achievement. The level of pace and demands isn’t for everyone, but coming to work ready for whatever comes my way – and managing that alongside life’s general demands – is a great source of motivation for me.

I like having a challenge – 100 per cent. At Vista, I started in the Events Team, I’ve spent time in the studio and I’ve worked closely with different business areas, so I’ve had exposure to different parts of the agency as well as all our different clients, industries and teams.

On being a woman

We very much still live in a man’s world. I have a lot of learned behaviours that are traditionally male, and when I look at female leaders, I always question whether they’re successful because they’ve adopted male traits, or because they’re doing it their way.

Some of the events of the past 12 months have been hugely disappointing. With #MeToo, with the gender pay gap, it’s incredible that we’re still in this position, and the scary thing is that in these situations, intelligent, strong, confident women are made to feel like it’s their fault. I do check myself sometimes, and if gender is a factor in behaviours or the response I get, then I will challenge it. It’s disappointing that we even have to do that – but sometimes you have to look at it in that way.

The gender balance at Vista is very equal, and I feel really proud of that. We have lots of talented female Event Managers within the Event Team, and they are regularly directing lots of different people. There have been many times I’ve gone onto site and everyone has instantly said ‘who’s the boss?’ Well, it’s me.

On progress

I think companies – and certainty Vista – are becoming more considerate and supportive of people’s lives. I’ve personally experienced going away from work, having a child and coming back, and for most women that’s the ultimate life event to go through. I believe that work’s work and home life’s home life, but we’re human beings. If you can understand and support people’s wider world, it helps people deliver, and it helps companies get more from those individuals.

The words ‘Press for Progress’ mean a lot to me. They say how far behind we actually are, and that we should be much further along the line. ‘Female’ just shouldn’t be an issue, it should be more balanced. Everything’s about balance – you’ve just got to do it in the right way.