Cassy Nichols – “You don’t always need to be the smartest person in the room”

This blog for #YesSheCan is from Cassy Nichols. She is a driven and hardworking individual who has worked her way up to be the Head of Marketing at Pure Offices at the young age of 31! Read on to find out what advice she has for women starting out and how she made her way to the top…

My name is Cassy Nichols, I am 31 years young and I live in Nottingham. I was born in South Africa and moved over to the UK back in 2001.

In my career, I actually wear two hats for pure Offices, I am the Head of Marketing for Pure Offices across the country and also the Centre Manager for the Nottingham Centre. My role at the centre is so varied and with the management of the day to day running of the centre and the marketing team, I can be leading a viewing at 10 am, updating the website at 11 am, negotiating a contract at 12 and organising a networking event by 4 pm!

I started in this company working on reception (having no previous experience) for a 3-month temporary role after being made redundant from a project admin role I was doing for a local building company (perfectly timed of course as I had just bought my first house). But, the rest is history!

I was promoted to Centre Manager within 18 months and was quickly recognised for my marketing efforts for the Nottingham site, 3 years later I was promoted to Head of Marketing and now take care of all aspects of marketing for Pure Offices as a whole with over 20 locations across the UK.

I got to this position with good old hard work and a clear, driven passion for what I do. I’ve never wanted to be seen as just another bum on a seat and I wanted to do whatever I could to be a part of the company’s success. I am also a very straightforward and candid person, so I think that helped me. I’m not afraid to voice new ideas or say something if I don’t agree.

My biggest challenge has always been what would be described as ‘Imposter syndrome’ when you are doing something you’re not ‘qualified’ in.

I have received both positive and negative reactions for this, and that may be down to the fact that some people believe in certificates and years spent at university over experience. It just doesn’t work that way in Marketing. Digital marketing trends and ‘rules’ change daily so its about keeping yourself up to date, you’re constantly learning and growing.

I think I work hard because I am stubbornly independent! I want everything I ‘have’ and have achieved to be there because I worked for it, I never wanted to hear anyone say ‘you have that because you’re lucky or someone gave it to you’.

I was born in South Africa and I have seen real struggle throughout my younger years. Moving to the UK taught me how to adjust and embrace change.

My 3 tips to women starting out in their career are:

  1. Figure out your strengths and weaknesses early on and be honest about them.
  2. Treat others how you would want to be treated if you were in their shoes.
  3. Don’t be afraid to ask for what you want and if you’re told no, ask what you could do to change that no to a yes.

Remember, you don’t need to be the smartest person in the room. Recognise, encourage and promote others as experts. Give your team trust and autonomy to be creative and do good work.

Build a team that is better than you, especially at the things you’re not so good at or don’t enjoy doing. A team’s skill set should always complement one another.

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