Introducing Hoxby Associate, Niki Shefras

#LOVEWHATYOUDO SERIES

My career has been a rather diverse and unusual one; I ran exquisite, fine dining restaurants in the Caribbean for many years, before moving back to Europe where I organised pre-season training camps and international friendlies for top tier soccer teams. I moved back to the UK a few years ago and recently set up my own consultancy; a proactive, resourceful and strategic business with a flair for creative solutions, encompassing events, communications, strategic partnerships and project consultancy.

How did you figure out that this was what you wanted to do?

It has taken me a long time to figure that out! Due to my slightly unusual career path, I didn’t conform to a particular box. Once I started to appreciate the positive, professional feedback that I was receiving, I realised that actually, I didn’t need to confine myself to a singular route and could define my own career path. The moment I accepted that, life started to present interesting possibilities and I recognised that in the business world, there is a need for people like me.

Why do you love what you do?

I love having freedom, flexibility, and being able to work in a way that gives me a greater work~life balance. My new professional epithet allows me to enjoy the work I do, working with brilliant, forward thinking entrepreneurs and creative lifestyle businesses.

What I really love is to get stuck into a project and explore creative ways to turn ‘impossible’ ideas and opportunities into reality. I enjoy the variety of what I do now as a consultancy; be it working on a TV show, flying to Mexico for an investor proposition, or creating spaces where people can shine and magic can happen and where brands can deliver to their core audience in an innovative and engaging way through fantastic live events.

I love finding creative solutions and find it really satisfying to develop connections enabling business to happen for my clients. When you’re able to join all the dots and deliver value for everyone involved, it’s deeply rewarding. 

This shot was taken on a work trip to Mexico

What have been some highlights of your career/some cool things you have done?

I’ve been privileged to have worked with some of the great premier league football teams and sporting Federations, as well as Olympic Teams. One of the high points was organising the pre-season training camp for the gold-winning Mexican Olympic team, and the first game that Team GB 2012 ever played.

I’ve also worked on some fun events including; working with the legendary Tom Jones, putting on The Proms with Aled Jones and organising a fabulous jazz night with Ronnie Scott’s. My favourite event was a small event that I conceived and delivered for International Women’s Day. We had a panel of 4 phenomenal women speakers, entertainers and personalities, yet the whole evening was really warm and felt as if you were at a dinner party with friends – everybody loved it! 

What limitations or struggles did you experience when you worked in a more traditional 9-5 format?

The hardest thing was working for a boss who micro-managed and believed that your presence in the office, whether it was productive for you to be there or not, was the most important thing.

The other big challenge was when I returned to the UK. In spite of having this great experience, speaking 4 languages, and having a diverse and valuable skillset, I couldn’t get a job as no-one knew what to do with me as I didn’t seem to fit into a defined box. 

Why did you decide to join the Hoxby Collective and the workstyle movement?

I love the whole concept of the Hoxby Collective! The philosophy and forward-thinking nature of the business resonates with me, and allows me to create a more harmonious work-lifestyle.

I have never really felt that the existing work paradigm was one that allowed people to live full and conscious lives. It seems to be more about “bums on seats” than merit, bringing value, and supporting personal growth (win/win for the business and the individual).  

Do you love what you do more now that you have the freedom to work how you like? Why?

My philosophy is that work is not separate from life, if you’re going to spend a minimum of 8 hours a day working then you should enjoy it. I want to enjoy every minute of this life so working with like-minded, talented professionals on projects that we love and delivering brilliant work is fantastic.

I love having the freedom to decide how, where and when I work; I have always worked hard, now I’m able to work smart!   

What’s your #workstyle?

It depends on the proposition that I’m working on – I love that I can pick and choose exciting projects and work with great clients. I travelled to both Mexico and Spain for two very diverse projects recently – one was an investor proposition for a boutique hotel and the other was on a shoot for a new TV show. If I’m not working, generally you’ll find me happy in a pair of wellies in the middle of the South Downs somewhere!   

Any advice for anyone else thinking about leaving the 9-5?

Do it! Work out a good exit strategy from your current job and make sure you are financially secure. The time between setting yourself up in your new workstyle and generating income may not be as quick as you would like! Be realistic as well. It all sounds fantastic (and it is) however it does take time, lots of energy and planning to get there. There will be times when the irregular income can produce anxiety but in those moments just keep going, keep building and it will eventually prove fruitful.  

Any advice for anyone struggling to find their passion?

Easy. Just think of the moments (where you are and what you’re doing) when time flies and you feel good in your life. These are usually pretty good indicators of where your passion lies.

Niki has her own consultancy; a proactive, resourceful and strategic business with a flair for creative solutions, covering events, communications, strategic partnerships and project consultancy.

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