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Nicola Wallbank was appointed Head of Corporate Accounts at Blueprint Operations in 2019. The graduate of Manchester Metropolitan University explains how hard work has always been part of her outlook from a spell spent at Safeway’s Deli Counter as a teenager through to her current role providing customer excellence to Blueprint customers across the AGC, Bingo and Pub sectors.
What was your first paid job and how much did you earn?
My first paid job was on the Deli counter at Safeways. I can’t quite remember how much I earnt, however I worked as much as possible during the evenings, weekends and holidays. My Mum would wake me up at 5.30am on a Saturday morning to then drop me off in her pj’s so I could work for four hours before going to play hockey!
What was your earliest ambition?
Sport has always been a big passion of mine and when I was younger I wanted to be a PE teacher. I knew whatever route I decided to pursue I would always work hard in order to be the very best that I could.
What motivates you?
I am very passionate about the success of my customers, which in turn means ensuring that we get things right for them. The world isn’t (or shouldn’t be) an overly complicated place and I am very passionate about making things simple and getting them done properly. I love a challenge and achieving something worthwhile particularly if it’s interesting and has some elements of fun.
Who has had the biggest impact on your career?
Probably the senior team that was then in Sceptre Leisure, now Regal around 2009/2010. I was given various projects and worked closely with all of them which taught me some great lessons about business and people which I’ve always taken with me. We may laugh about it now but there were many lessons I learnt along the way.
Worst career decision?
Probably too young in my career (hopefully) to answer this one, nothing has been bad… so far.
Best career decision?
Probably taking the role as Ken Turner’s PA back in the Sceptre Leisure days. I had done some temp work in the Sceptre accounts team during the summer from University and I then joined Claire Naylor’s assets team on a more permanent basis whilst I thought about completing a Post Graduate Certificate Education for my PE teaching role. About a week into my new role, Ken offered me the job of being his PA and although it became apparent that he didn’t need one – certainly not on a full-time basis – this enabled me to get involved with various other projects and secondments. Everyone thought I was brave (or perhaps stupid) to take it and, looking back, I was very young and naïve within the business world but I don’t think I’d be in this industry now if I hadn’t because I learnt so many things along the way.
Best piece of advice and from whom?
There’s been many and I’m sure there will be many more to come, but two things i always have in my mind are; do what’s right and be kind along the way. More often than not, if a business deal doesn’t feel right, it probably isn’t and it doesn’t cost anything or take a lot to be kind in any situation.
What’s your biggest extravagance?
Definitely my road bikes – although they are worth every penny. For me there’s nothing better on a Sunday morning than cycling through the Lancashire countryside forgetting about everything and viewing the green fields, farm animals and nature. It’s amazing what you come across.
If your 20-year old self could see you now, what would she think?
There would definitely be an element of pride, as well as a recognition that I made the correct decision to pursue a commercial career rather than one in teaching and an appreciation that there’s a lot more to come!
If you could change one thing about the industry what would you do?
One of the frustrating things about the industry is how the degree of regulation holds back the creativity within of games designers. I would like to see that creativity flourish and enable our sector to keep pace with other forms of entertainment all within our commitment to social responsibility.