Women in pr: Interview with Nikki Williams
At MBP, we’re big supporters of women in the workforce, especially those who go out on their own. Our director, Nikki Williams, is someone who did just that. So, to find out more about her journey as a female business owner we recently sat down with her for a chat. Nikki is a force to be reckoned with in the digital and PR industry. She is consistently broadening her expertise and skills across many industries and is an inspiration to many. Also a stellar wedding and events photographer, there’s little that Nikki can’t do!
Read on to find the full interview with Nikki….
What inspired you to start a career in Public Relations?
I’ve always been a people connector. I love being able to solve issues through networking and this is more or less what PR is, or certainly an element of it. I also love helping businesses, especially those that have a really individual story behind them. All of these points mixed with my love of writing, photography and hospitality led me to creating Milk Bottle Projects!
What is the most valuable lesson you’ve learnt about running a business since you started Milk Bottle Projects?
Processes are key and they need to be clear, precise and easy to adopt. Also to know my legal rights and requirements from the get go – there isn’t one source to find this either, so it can be tricky. But definitely to do research around company titles and structures.
What advice would you give to young women who would like a career in Public Relations?
Make sure you LOVE to write in long form. What I’ve found is that there’s a lot of love for short form writing thanks to social media, but the art of long form has been somewhat forgotten. I’d highly recommend to finesse your writing ability before jumping into a PR role. In addition to this, create networks and meet the media! Putting a face to a name never goes astray and will likely put you ahead of the game when it comes to getting media opportunities.
Who is the woman that you most admire?
Janine Allis of Boost Juice and various other entities is a bit of an inspiration for me – she presents so beautifully and honestly but has clearly paved her own way to create a successful career and life. Her overall demeanour is powerful but understated and I think she represents business women throughout Australia immaculately. She even asked me to take a portrait of her at an event at Crown once upon a time, but then Susan Sarandon got on stage to speak and there wasn’t any time to do the portrait! Just my luck!
What has been the most challenging part of your career thus far?
Probably Year 2 of Milk Bottle Projects where I couldn’t understand why I was working so much, why I was so tired and burnt out etc. It took a few meetings with my accountant and bookkeeper to realise that I needed to think about the business and our offerings more intelligently and what that work was worth. This meant some serious number crunching and conceptualisation when it came to our packages and services, but once we crafted our new offering and pricing/packages, everything got easier from there. Now I can work ON the business not IN the business (as much!) and really focus on business development and growth.
If you could talk to your 18-year-old self, what would you tell her?
Don’t listen to your career counsellor…
She told me to be a civil engineer!!
What are your goals for the future?
I would like to further break into other business verticals within the lifestyle sectors. That is, hotels, products + FMCG, travel etc. I’m a serial entrepreneur too, so I’d love to create more businesses – perhaps ones that aren’t service based but instead product based! I want to make sure that I’m always ethically focused and that I can give back to the community throughout my working life.
What is the biggest risk you’ve taken in your career, and did it pay off?
Definitely investing in other marketing services for Milk Bottle Projects specifically. Sometimes it did pay off and sometimes it didn’t. But for the most part it did which is fantastic!
How does Milk Bottle Projects work to support and empower women?
When I was writing my first job description for a new role with MBP, I really wanted to make sure that WFH (work from home) or a flexible work arrangement was possible. As a result, I made sure that Fridays were work from home or wherever the employee wanted to and more so, when it’s that time of the month, they were able to work home as much as they required.
In addition to this, I am always looking for new opportunities for my staff to be involved with female-led collaborations in particular and I’m always encouraging my staff to evolve and grow while working with MBP.
Why is it important to you to recognise and celebrate the achievements of Women in Public relations?
Well, because we’re pretty fantastic, aren’t we?
There’s a certain power created when women support women and I think this is a cause for celebration. Men are equally as fantastic don’t get me wrong but given women have generally had a longer history of suppression, especially in the workforce, I think it’s important to celebrate what we have all achieved in more recent times. In doing this, we’re also celebrating diversity amongst women and I think this is a vital message to put out there.