Describe your title and role.
Founder & Director of NAC Media Group.
What inspired you to establish your company?
I worked in Public Relations for 9 years at Colvin Communications with the wonderful Deeta Colvin. NAC was never planned, post Colvin Communications, I was asked to do a celebrity party for Pantene and the rest is history.
Tell us about your background and formal training.
I completed an Arts Degree at university and travelled overseas and studied at the Sorbonne. I had no formal training in PR. I think in this industry a Communications Degree is beneficial, but nothing beats hands on training.
Founding your business in 1999, we imagine embracing change and being innovative is imperative. How do you stay inspired and focused?
NAC is 17 years old! And over this time we have seen significant changes within the media landscape which has kept me on my toes as I have learned to embrace the digital revolution. Inspiration comes from many areas outside of direct PR. I also work alongside a dynamic younger team which has also helped with the transition. Creative ideas is one of the strengths on which I pride myself.
With key events and campaigns for Cartier, Chanel, Maserati, Tiffany & Co, International Woolmark Prize and Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Australia (to mention a few!), what have been the most memorable moments or projects in your career?
As we move into the second year of MBFWA I do say that this has been a highlight for me personally and the team to be given the opportunity to collaborate across our industry with designers, PR and key industry players. Tiffany&Co. has enabled us to work with amazing talent such as Paloma Picasso and Baz Luhrman & Catherine Martin with Great Gatsby – both which I would view as career highlights. Also orchestrating events for Woolmark Company and supporting the Australian wool growers has been particularly satisfying. Some of the most memorable moments have been the behind the scenes drama, the ones people don’t see or read about! We often laugh about these moments.
Do you have a mentor or someone who has influenced your professionally over the years?
Of course my training started with the Editor of Mode Magazine, Lorraine Brown, who was instrumental in moving my career away from costume design to PR. Then working with Deeta Colvin for 9 years really shaped my ability to work within the media landscape. Deeta always encouraged me to never say no and taught me how to create an idea that is interesting from a news perspective. I’ve been very lucky to work with lots of external advisors from my seniors and contemporaries, who have helped to shape the agency as it is today.
What advice would you give someone following or influenced by your career path?
To educate yourself on the media landscape both internationally and locally, to read everything and everything. To look at similar crafts to influence your outlook i.e. film, dance, music. This helps you to understand that PR is not always about budgets – creativity for creative thinking is essential.
What challenges have you experienced in owning your own business?
It can be difficult to manage clients, media and staff, particularly as a sole trader. Time is often not on your side and key challenges (as with all) are life/work balance. Also not having a degree in business or having a business brain sometimes proves a hindrance to myself.
What has been the most rewarding?
After 17 years I actually love coming to NAC and I am passionate about the role of media relations and the part I play within the media matrix. It’s also still pretty exciting when you get a page 1 story. All that aside, I have met the most amazing people locally and internationally through all walks of life and that’s what NAC has rewarded me with.
How do you measure success?
Success is measured differently by all people. To me, the fact that NAC is still relevant after 17 years is a testament to my team and clients. Some clients, I have collaborated with over 10 years.
How do you feel about social media and how do you approach it in your industry?
Social media is imperative and needs to be a part of any organisation and global conversation. Most brands in the Fashion & Lifestyle space are embracing many different forms on social media. I think now it’s just part of the overall matrix and should no longer be considered new.
How do you feel about the future of the Australian fashion industry?
NAC has been based, in part, on the foundation of Australian Fashion. Therefore I am a very proud supporter of our industry which in turn supports thousands of individuals, from designers to dressmakers to photographers etc. It is important we support each other and ensure challenges are addressed so we can collectively forge ahead. Many of us couldn’t afford for it not to be in existence. NAC has been appointed via MAAS to promote the Centre for Fashion and also pro-bono for Australian Fashion Chamber. Woolmark helps to promote wool, an essential fibre for designers globally and of course the representation of IMG. All of which points to the importance NAC plays in the Australian Fashion Industry. I am very proud of what we are striving to do and I personally feel IMG’s move to Resort on a global scale has been very clever.
How do you balance all your projects?
Sometimes that is challenging! However NAC is not just me it’s all of my team, who are highly trained and skilled professionals. Also by having the best EA in the business!
What are your interests outside of your industry?
Food & wine, theatre and film (having started as a publicist in the theatre world) – most things that fall under the arts category. Believe it or not, I have just taken up kayaking and the team bought me a stand up paddle board for Christmas (that takes balance).
What words do you live by?
I’ll see you at midnight.
Where do you see the company in 10 years?
I’m struggling to see past next week, let alone 10 years! However when I finally move onto the next stage, I would love NAC to be remembered as a good agency that mentored the careers of many individuals still within the industry, carving out great careers.
A trip to Puglia in July with two of my best friends – I can’t really see past that!
You can find Nikki on Instagram at @nacmediagroup
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