10QUESTIONS with Nikki Hesford

Jennifer Peacock Freshfield PR & Comms Manager

Written by Jennifer Peacock,
PR and Marketing Manager at Freshfield

Our 10QUESTIONS feature asks members of the Freshfield community ten questions about their working life. Featuring client partners, colleagues and FF friends, our guests share some personal stories, views and fresh words of wisdom.

Nikki Hesford is managing director of The Small Business Academy, a Boost; Lancashire’s Business Growth Hub delivery partner for the Growth Mentoring Programme.  

1. How do you like to start your working day? 

As soon as I’ve plugged in and powered up, it’s straight to our office coffee lounge to pick up a large Americano before tackling emails. I try to make sure the first meetings aren’t until 09.15 or 09.30 to allow me some time to respond to anything urgent that has appeared in my inbox overnight. 

2. How has the pandemic changed your working life? 

At the start it was a real challenge, I’m a single parent and was suddenly landed with a five-year-old to entertain and educate alongside my job, which was ‘fun’…but thankfully now things are pretty normal. There’s less unnecessary travel with more meetings held remotely – which is great, it improves efficiency and allows me to get more done when I’m not spending up to three hours a day in the car. 

3. What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given? 

My mum has always said to me ‘what’s meant for you, will never pass you by’ and it’s so true. When you’re disappointed something hasn’t come to fruition, be it a job, a relationship, a contract or client – something else usually happens where you realise that the thing you didn’t get wasn’t right for you anyway.   

4. Where and how do you come up with your best ideas? 

Ideas often pop into my head when I’m doing mundane tasks, like cooking dinner I’ve burned many a turkey dinosaur from rushing off to Google something I randomly thought of!   

5. What does leadership mean to you?

To me it’s having the ability to pull everyone together and bring them along on the journey with you, with nobody left behind. Those you are leading need to trust you to get behind you, and they can only do that if you have a reliable and consistent history of treating them fairly, being honest and demonstrating integrity, as well as having the same values that you expect from them.

6. Which current or historical business figure do you most admire and why?  

Okay, don’t shoot me down in flames – Margaret Thatcher. Not because I agreed with her policies, but because she didn’t care a jot for whether she was liked, she never made decisions based on whether they would be popular, and she inspired many women to break the glass ceiling, years before women regularly had those opportunities afforded to them 

7. What is your most trusted source of news?

I take most online and printed ‘news’ with a pinch of salt, but if something is reported on the television during the news then I normally consider this most trustworthy.  

8. What is your favourite brand and why? 

I’m a big fan of the Huel brand – great marketing, engaging social media and it knows exactly what it is and what it wants to be.  

9. What’s the most recent new skill you have learnt?  

I started Crossfit just over two years ago, so we develop new skills all the time within this, such as weightlifting and gymnastics – I’m currently working on being able to handstand walk, although I’m not very good at it!  

10. We all use them… what management jargon phrase do you use the most?

I have developed a habit of referring to Zoom as a verb – I’m just about to Zoom’ or ‘shall we Zoom today’ – but I try to avoid jargon wherever possible.  

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