How I Got Here - Nicky Norman

Nicky Norman, senior production and technical manager at ACC Liverpool, talks about her love of technology and sticking to your goals no matter what.

Nicky Norman, ACC Liverpool's senior production and technical manager
Nicky Norman, ACC Liverpool's senior production and technical manager

What do you do and how long have you been in your current role?

I'm a senior production and technical manager at ACC Liverpool. I’ve been with the venue for three-and-a-half years and in this particular role for the last three months.

Where was your first job? What was the most important thing you learnt there?

My first job was as an AV technician for a video production company in my home town of Leicester. It was a great first role for me when I left university, and I really enjoyed working with a small, tight-knit team, some of whom I still stay in touch with now. Being a small team meant we had to be flexible and support each other - I learnt so much about not only video production but also AV support for conferences.

How did you get from there to where you are now?

I realised after around three years that the world of conferences and live events was much more appealing to me – something to do with the adrenaline buzz you get when you know you only have one chance to get things right. I was AV technician at the ICC Birmingham, progressing to senior AV technician and then event manager.

Looking back, did you expect your career path to take the course it has?

I have always loved technology, and growing up was a bit of a tomboy at times. But I honestly didn’t think I would be managing a team of 16 technical staff – and loving the challenges it brings.

Would you do anything differently?

I wouldn’t do anything differently – I guess I’m lucky in that I love the job I do, the people I work with, and the industry I work in.

Who has inspired you along the way?

I have met some amazing people during my professional life so far. When I first started at the ICC I was inspired by many people but in particular one of the production managers, Eleanor Ballard. She encouraged me to think laterally and always look for different solutions, something which I have relied on ever since. Another event manager that I worked with, Caroline Young, always told me to get off the fence and speak my mind. That advice sticks with me too.

Have you ever had a job interview that went particularly well or spectacularly wrong?

Not really wrong but one past interview, which wasn’t at ACC Liverpool, was memorable. On my way into the job interview I was walking through the venue with the interviewer and we passed one of the existing technicians. He quipped: "Blimey, you don’t want to work here do you?" I was a bit taken aback but the interview went well and I got the job – and subsequently got on well with the aforementioned technician despite him trying to put me off.

Is there a piece of career advice you’ve ever been told that has stuck with you?

The best advice I was given was concerning production management and working with clients, and it was always make your clients feel that you are on their side, and are part of their team. I pass it on regularly as I think that gaining your clients’ trust and developing a good working relationship is essential in any industry.

What career advice would you give to your 21-year-old self?

Be confident, stick to your goals no matter what they are, and know that if you put your mind to it, you can achieve anything you set out to. I have worked in a traditionally male-dominated industry all my life, and it’s rarely something that bothers me. I feel that if you know your subject and are confident and organised, you can break down most pre-conceptions.

How do you wind down and relax after a hectic day?

I love getting outdoors - my ideal would be a walk on the beach with my husband and our retired greyhound, or to spend time in my garden.

Want to share your career story with us as part of the Women in Events campaign? Email associate editor Rachel Bull to feature in a future How I Got Here.

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