Edrington

Future Leaders with Nicola Thomson

Review by Anna Quinn, Client Services Director, Frame

The Future leader’s events are an opportunity to soak up words of wisdom from some of Scotland’s most accomplished marketing talent. To learn from their highs and lows and think about how we can apply that to our own trajectory. And the latest in the series from Edrington’s Nicola Thomson did not disappoint.

Without doubt, Nicola has had a spectacular career journey. She’s worked for some of the best agencies and brands in the world, managing complex projects across the globe, running big budgets and building a stellar line up of brands most of us would jump at the chance of working alongside. But she’s clearly learned some hard lessons along the way and had countless examples of when she’s had to dig deep to pick herself back up again. Perseverance and resilience are required in our line of work, of that there is no doubt. But Nicola’s advice around knowing when to fight your corner or admit responsibility for failing and go on to properly embrace that failure rang loudly in my ears. There’s something quite liberating about accepting that missteps in your career will be plentiful. And that’s okay. They make you tougher, better. They give you the opportunity to genuinely grow.

Nicola also made the case for surrounding yourself with good peopleTrusted counsel to advise and offer objective points of view when opportunities or challenges arise throughout your career. My husband and best mates probably hear the majority of my career highs and lows. And though they can and do offer lots of support and guidance (and alcohol), Nicola’s words most definitely put the Marketing Society’s mentorship programme front of mind.

Surrounding yourself with good people also means being comfortable in the skillset that those around you have. That you can and should rely on those around you to guide you in their areas of strength.  That you don’t have to have all the answers all the time (this, I find particularly challenging!).  But, getting truly comfortable with being the 2nd best expert of everything that’s going on, is my new mantra. Thank you, Nicola.

The most compelling part for me in Nicola’s story was about drawing on what happens out with your professional life. The strength in taking time out to do something for yourself, regularly, of being kind to yourself even if at times that means being selfish. Of serving yourself as well as serving others.  Of focusing on building more of you and truly owning your story.  And how all of that can really shape your outlook and progression professionally.

At the start of a new year, with 2020 stretching ahead of me, this was a timely reminder for me about that precious balance of perspective and ambition. The importance of my professional and my personal side. And how strength in one can provide strength in the other.  

And so, with that in mind, off to yoga class I go!


As mentioned at the session, the upcoming Student Marketing Society Gathering is taking place on the 4 March. If you are interested in coming along to offer advice to the students please do get in touch with Caroline Hill (The Marketing Society); [email protected]

We would also like to encourage all of our Future Leaders to get involved with the Young Mentor programme. To sign up to become a young mentor please email: [email protected]

Speaker