Nicki Allitt

Nicki Allitt – Head of Strategic Communications

A diverse career, guided by a commitment to excellence, has taken Nicki Allit from rearing calves to The World Economic Forum, and she has learned a lot along the way

What’s your story?

An Aussie communicator who’s not afraid to traverse the globe or leap between industries. From Australian farms to cosmopolitan hubs of Europe and the Middle East, my career is a kaleidoscope of experiences. With a natural talent for adaptation, I’ve worked in media, oil and gas, agribusiness and beyond, embracing change at every turn. Leading teams at Syngenta and ISS, I’ve mastered the art of fostering global dialogue. Now, as I gear up to lead the Strategic Communications team at the World Economic Forum, I’m reminded that growth is the only constant in life—and I’m ready for the challenge.

What excites you most about your industry?

What excites me about my career journey is my commitment to being industry agnostic. Transitioning across media, hospitality, oil and gas, agribusiness, and facilities management, I’ve cultivated adaptability and diverse skills in communication. Embracing this approach has opened doors to endless possibilities, allowing me to thrive amidst varied landscapes and cultures. While each company boasts its unique culture, the fundamental principles of effective communication remain steadfast. This mindset fuels my passion for continual growth and learning, as I anticipate the challenges each new industry presents. Being industry agnostic isn’t just a choice—it’s the cornerstone of my success and versatility.

Nicki Allitt hiking

What drives you in your career to push beyond what other people consider normal?

Firstly, my unwavering passion for what I do propels me forward, igniting a fire that fuels my success. I’ve honed the ability to focus amidst chaos, guiding my team towards our objectives with clarity and determination. Honesty and transparency are non-negotiables for me; I always strive to mean what I say and follow through on my commitments. Discipline and execution are my guiding principles, ensuring that my actions align with my words. Humility grounds me, allowing me to listen, learn, and grow. And above all, resilience is my steadfast companion, empowering me to weather any storm and never give up.

What have been the most useful skills you have learnt and applied in your journey?

Growing up on a farm instilled leadership skills from a tender age. From responsibility to problem-solving, the farm was my first classroom. Driving at seven, I learned to tackle challenges head-on, like running out of fuel in the paddocks far from home. By twelve, I was managing my own calf-rearing business, learning about money and independence. Amidst a male-dominated environment, I discovered resilience and the importance of speaking up. These early lessons weren’t just for the farm—they set me up for success in school, university and later in the corporate world, where courage and authenticity became my guiding principles.

What’s the best piece of advice you ever received?

It boils down to a simple yet profound mantra: “Pick your battles.” In the dynamic arena of business, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed by the urge to tackle every challenge head-on. However, I’ve learned that strategic restraint is key. Not every issue warrants the same level of attention or effort. By discerning which challenges are truly worth fighting, I conserve my energy and resources for endeavours with the highest potential impact. This advice has guided my decision-making process, helping me navigate complexities with clarity and purpose, ultimately leading to more effective outcomes in both business and life.

Who inspires you?

As a communications professional, Michelle Obama inspires me. She was a relatable First Lady who could captivate any audience while staying true to herself. Her confidence, authenticity, and ability to share important messages made her stand out. From her beginnings in Chicago to her time in the White House, her journey is a testament to perseverance. Michelle isn’t just an icon; she’s a role model for anyone looking to make a difference.

What have you learnt recently that blew you away?

What still blows me away is that here we are in 2024, still grappling with the persistent issue of diversity and inclusion, or rather, the lack thereof. What’s staggering is the mounting evidence showcasing how diversity isn’t just a moral imperative but a strategic advantage. It’s astonishing to see how some entities continue to overlook this fact. The realisation that we’re still fighting this battle with fervour underscores the importance of ongoing advocacy and action. It’s a sobering reminder of the distance we have yet to traverse. While the journey may be long, I am confident our determination will prevail.

If you had your time again, what would you do differently?

Reflecting on my journey, I’ve learned that mistakes are stepping stones to growth. No regrets, just lessons. Looking ahead, I focus on extracting positives from every situation, no matter how challenging. If given the chance to rewind, I’d enhance my nurturing of connections across the globe where I’ve lived. Networking, I’ve realised, is invaluable. It’s not about dwelling on the past but embracing the future with wisdom gained from experience. So, here’s to a journey of continual learning and evolution, where each misstep propels us closer to our best selves.

How do you unwind?

Living in Switzerland, my unwind routine is all about enjoying nature and staying active. I love paddle boarding on the lake and hiking in the mountains. Working out at the gym helps me feel strong, and yoga or Pilates classes relax my body and mind. Plus, I can’t resist exploring different cuisines from around the world. Whether it’s soaking up the scenery or savouring delicious food, unwinding in Switzerland is all about finding joy in simple pleasures and staying connected to nature.

What is a major mindset change, belief shift or ‘ah ha’ moment that you’ve experienced in relation to your career?

This came during my training for the Amsterdam marathon. As I prepared for each long run, meticulously attending to sleep, nutrition, mindset, and recovery, I realised the parallel with work success. Just as in running, optimal performance in professional life required comprehensive preparation, recovery time and a positive mental attitude. The last stretch of a marathon, those final 7-10 kilometres, taught me the power of positive thinking, resilience and determination. Embracing this mindset shift, I began approaching challenges at work with the same care, balance and endurance, leading to greater achievements and personal fulfilment in my career and personal life.

Everyone in business should read this book:

Hostage at the Table by George Kohlrieser

Nicki Allitt running

Shameless plug for your business or career:

Diversify your boardroom beyond the confines of traditional finance and legal expertise. Embrace the power of varied perspectives by including professionals from disciplines like communications and human resources. Elevate your strategic prowess, foster employee engagement, improve investor communications, and expertly manage crises and issues with a board that embodies diverse skill sets. Break free from conventional norms and unlock the full potential of your organisation with a board that embraces diversity in expertise, skills, knowledge and exposure.

How can people connect with you?

Via LinkedIn at Nicki Allitt

Social Media Links?

This interview is part of the CallumConnects series.

About The EnterpriseZone Writing Team

Shining A Light on the Small Business World and highlighting Entrepreneurial Investing Opportunities.

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