A Leading Lady.

Last week, Wednesday 27th March, I enjoyed a morning MPA session “Insider Stories” with this particular one being delivered by Nicky Unsworth of BJL, hosted by Andy Johnson.

Nicky Unsworth, Andy Johnson, and Cindy Simmons (MPA)

I have known, in a business sense, Nicky for years and she has always been welcoming and open to chats; business obviously, running and I’m a fell runner, across to her new dog, well not so new now.

I have found her helpful, relaxed, and level headed when dealing with her on business, but this morning it was not strictly business, which made it a welcome change to sit back, proverbially relax and listen to Andy ask her questions about her career and life.

It was interesting to hear from Nicky in the context of BJL having been sold to Denstu Aegis Network North. What came out this, that despite a sale there is a clear passion for the industry, the business she joined those years ago, and for the staff who make it what it is. Nicky can clearly see a match made in heaven as she spoke highly of the innovation, and entrepreneurial drive from Dentsu Aegis in Manchester, but importantly to her is the cultural fit. That said the commercial acumen of Nicky revealed itself as she explained it is a “honeymoon” period with bedding in required.

It was clear she’d had a well grounded life via her father and personal circumstances. He a well respected and much loved and missed figure in the game of rugby league and teaching. For details see a warm piece written by Phil Clarke of Sky Sports. To have had a father like that must have both reassuring and inspirational.

But it was also clear that her life in St Helens and early work experience was important in shaping her and her attitude to life. From her early days at what was Pilkington Glass and time in Germany across to a horrendous 2008. The compassion and emotion came through when talking about 2008 and what this involved. It was not just business.

What shone through is the care for staff and keeping good people in an age when not enough emphasis is put on this, and I’ve seen that when I’ve popped into the BJL office.

She believes in an inclusive way of life, in offering and driving this for people, so they feel a part of something. People need to feel “settled” as she put it, and something clearly important to her.

Reality is an important element to her and over the years had learned that you should always ask the question, “what’s the worse that can happen?” “Has anyone died?” The point she made was that it is work and people come first, laudable in what can be a toxic business in the current climate.

She reminded people to pay attention to their mental health, and that we all have a life outside of work and one the ought to lead.