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It shouldn't happen to an event manager...
WHEN she started her career in event management almost 20 years ago, Nickie Gott didn't realise the lengths she would sometimes be required to go in the name of her job.
"People think event management is glamorous, but it quite often isn't," laughs the 46-year-old who established her County Durham-based firm, She's Gott It! ten years ago.
"It is our job to make sure everything goes smoothly - we always, always explore the worst scenario and make sure we have thought about how to deal with it.
"We turned up to host one event and the field was covered in deer poo.
"I would never ask my staff to do anything I wouldn't do myself, so I just rolled up my sleeves, donned rubber gloves and got on with it."
Nickie embarked on a career in event management when, at 25, she hit what she describes as "an all time low" after she was made redundant at the same time as her newborn son Harrison, now 19, was taken seriously ill.
"When he was better, I decided I really needed to do something for myself to turn my life around," she said.
"I was always doing things in the village and someone said to me one day, 'You're really good at this - you should get into organising events and fundraising as a career'. It was like lighting a touch paper."
She gradually built her career through temping, volunteering and work experience, eventually landing a lucrative, full time job which she did for a number of years, before deciding to set up alone.
"It was a big step - I was walking away from a well-paid, comfortable job," she said. "But it was absolutely the right decision."
Since setting up the firm a decade ago, Nickie has expanded She's Gott It! to employ seven staff and has swapped her original premises of the family garage for more glamorous offices at Lambton Park, County Durham.
She has also battled breast cancer - and won - all while running her business and bringing up Harrison and older sister Francesca, 21.
But she says she would not have been able to achieve any of this without the support of husband, Ian.
"He is an absolute superstar," she said. "He really is my rock.
"I am very fortunate to be surrounded by some amazing people. When I was diagnosed with breast cancer four years ago, I worked through it, and the business went from strength to strength and grew.
"That is testament to the wonderful people around me - the people who work with me and my family."
And it is their support which she says has helped her through myriad work-related trials and tribulations over the years.
One occasion saw Nickie having to make a last-minute decision to divert a parade through Edinburgh, which was due to be watched by 20,000 people, after delays in contractors finishing work to a tramline meant the streets were blocked with roadworks.
"They had absolutely assured me it would be ready in time for the parade," she says. "Two hours before, I had to take the decision there was no way we could take a parade through there.
"With the help of the police, we successfully diverted the parade, and no one was any the wiser. But it was the single most stressful thing I have ever done - it certainly added a few grey hairs."
The more glamorous side of the company's work involves celebrity weddings and parties - but Nickie won't be drawn on who.
"An important side of our business is discretion," she says. "We have been lucky enough to organise some absolutely wonderful events for high-profile people.
"We once organised a birthday party for a member of a girl a band, but I can't say any more than that."
Although it's caused a lot of stress, despite organising events including the Edinburgh Christmas Festival - attended by 500,000 visitors - the firm has never had a health and safety incident, something Nickie is understandably proud of.
And the future is looking bright for the firm, with Nickie already implementing their plans for growth by employing a health and safety officer and providing the service to other firms.
"We are also expanding to run events abroad - we recently ran an event in London for a Belgium company.
"The next few years, we have got really strong growth plans. That is one of the reasons we made the move to Lambton Castle.
"We are looking to expand into international markets and plan to take on another event management professional next year."
Nickie, who is chair of Women into the Network and won the Susan Dobson Award for Entrepreneurship in 2007, has also recently been appointed to the North-East Chamber of Commerce's council, with a remit to encourage women into business.
"I am very proud of my company, and all it has achieved.
"I am passionate about encouraging all types of entrepreneurship, not just women, but women are not as common in business. It would be great for everyone if we could change that because there would be huge economic benefits if there were as many women in business as they are men.
"I think there are not as many women in business as men because of culture and history. As more and more women break the mould and do it, it will give inspiration to other women to become entrepreneurs. Hopefully we can do that."
Five minutes with... Nickie Gott
Favourite North-East building and why.
Lambton Castle. It's a hidden gem and our offices are right next to it on the Lambton Estate so we have visited a number of times. It is the setting for new BBC drama The Paradise, so we have been able to watch the film crew coming and going on the estate from our office, which was great.
What was your first job and how much did you get paid?
I worked in a shoe shop in Durham and was paid £1.08 per hour. I hated the whole aspect of measuring peoples' feet and handling so many sweaty socks!
What is the worst job you've had?
In my early days of event management, we turned up to the site of one particular event, which was covered in deer poo, so we all had to don rubber gloves and get set to clearing it up - that was probably the worst.
What would you cook for me if I came around for dinner?
I absolutely love Greek food. My favourite dish is Kleftiko and a Greek salad. I often have themed dinner parties and have done everything from Chinese, Spanish, Indian and Thai evenings; I nail every single detail right down to the drink and the music.
What would your superpower be?
To stop time. There are never enough hours in the day and it would be wonderful to have the opportunity to stop the clocks and have extra time to catch up on extra little things or even just put my feet up and read a good book.
Name four people, dead or alive, who would be at your perfect dinner party.
Robbie Williams, purely for me to sit and stare at (I have a bit of a crush on him). Norman Wisdom because I absolutely love comedy and he makes me laugh every time I watch his movies. Dame Judy Dench because she is so eloquent and has some fantastic anecdotes spanning her career, and Jane Austen because I have a real fascination with history, her writings contain so much social commentary and I believe she would be fascinating to talk to.
Most expensive thing you've bought - other than car or house - and how much?
There are only a few times in my life that I've really splashed out, including a holiday of a lifetime to a desert retreat, but perhaps my main weakness is shoes - I have been known to pay in excess of £400 for a pair once before.
Who is the best person to follow on Twitter and why?
Richard Branson, I really admire his entrepreneurial spirit and his honesty.
I absolutely love books by Jodi Picoult.
When did you last cry?
Last weekend when my seven-year-old Nephew did a reading in church at his baby brother's christening, he did so well and was word perfect; it made me cry with pride.
What is your greatest achievement?
Winning Woman Entrepreneur of the Year in 2007 at the Women into the Network Awards.
What's the best piece of advice in business you've ever been given?
From my Mum - 'when one door closes another one opens'.
Favourite animal and why.
Dogs. I have a Labrador, Spaniel, Collie-cross who has the nicest nature and my daughter has a Chihuahua who I just adore and who I even allow myself to be referred to as Grandma from! Dogs are so loving and ask for nothing in return.
Most famous person on your mobile phone.
David from Four Poofs and a Piano - it's a long story!
What was the last band you saw live?
Take That. I actually only went to see Robbie Williams and had to sit through them first! I told you I had a bit of a crush!
Describe your perfect night in.
Movie, nice dinner and a really good bottle of red wine.
In another life I would be...
An archaeologist. I am fascinated with history.
Who would play you in a film of your life?
What irritates you?
Dishonesty, in particular when people are underhand in how they deal with others. I wear my heart on my sleeve and cannot abide those that are sneaky.
What's your secret talent?
I decorate cakes from weddings to birthdays and most recently I did a replica of my daughters Chihuahua sitting in a handbag for her 21st. Oh and when I have had a few drinks I believe I am a talented singer!