Getting to know Nikki Cockcroft by Suhaifa Naidoo | 29 June 2011 | 0 Comments

Nikki Cockcroft is the CEO of 3 digital companies, Chair of The Bookmarks Awards and Nikki CockcroftChairwoman of the DMMA. Nikki has proved that she's not just a pretty face by being incredibly successful in the digital industry. Apart from being beautiful and intelligent, she is a go-getter!

I have only been in this industry for 2 years now and women like Nikki have given me encouragement to know that it is possible to succeed.

I decided to take the time to get to know her a little better and this is what she had to say:

 

 

Could you introduce yourself and explain how you became involved in the digital industry?

I am a born GEEK, I have been in the industry for over 10 years now and knew from my love for “LEGO” as a child that I would be a computer nerd for the rest of my life.  I studied programming at UCT and went on to join Acceleration as a baby in the industry.  Now, 11 years later, I am the CEO of 3 digital companies and will be moving to Woolworths as Head of Online in the next few weeks.

Is it difficult juggling all these different roles?

It does get tricky sometimes but I LOVE what I do and I love this industry.  The passion drives me – it also means that I will do anything to grow and promote the industry and with that comes added responsibility.  I do think the person who decided on a 5 day work week was a DORK, I could use a few extra days 

What were the challenges you faced as a woman in, what is perceived to be, a male dominated industry?

It most certainly is a male-dominated industry but its changing. I am a born activist and therefore always fighting for gender and race equality – as a result I don’t let this get in my way.  The challenges are always there... men like men to work with and generally speaking women to play with.  To overcome this I work harder and applaud the digital companies that recognise how smart women are, and how critical we are to any team.  Diversity is key in any economy – the same applies to our industry.

What's it like working alongside men (both junior and senior)? Are they threatened? Do they respect you? Do they take you seriously? 

HAHA, I love this question. 

It’s great to work alongside men and women, and generally I have earned the respect and therefore get it.  There is the occasional person that is threatened – however it’s normally someone new to the team or to the industry. 

I am pretty black and white, so if they challenge me I am pretty straight up about what will and won’t be tolerated.  Too many people have fought too hard for women’s rights and liberation for me to be walked over.  I simply won’t have it.

"Too many people have fought too hard for women’s rights and liberation for me to be walked over. I simply won’t have it."

Have you ever felt that you needed to compromise your femininity in order to be assertive and authoritative?

Absolutely not! Rather than compromise on it, I use it.  Women have so many talents and such amazing minds that we don’t need to compromise.

Do you think all women have the chance to succeed as well you did and how?

For sure, the same rules apply for men and women.  Be persistent and never give up.  Have a vision of where you are going and share it with others.  Always set high standards and never be afraid to take on the bigger challenges.  Show respect to those who deserve it and always be prepared to learn.  I have 5 mentors that have helped me build my career and teach me life balance.

What are the plans for the future, where do you see yourself in 10years? 

I am chasing my dream, and that is building the future of Digital.  In 10 years I want to have influenced major growth in the digital industry, I want to be running a Nikki Cockcroft empire that breeds digital talent and supports great ideas.  I am a truly proud South African and would like to play a greater role in building an even better country using my digital and leadership skills – I am making plans to see that happen. 

When you are not anywhere near your computer or mobile, what do you enjoy doing?

Running! I love the sport and it is my “alone” time.  I use it to feel free and it helps me to face the daily challenges.  I get the best perspective alone on the road.

Tell us something that most people don’t know about you

mmm tough one... my nickname is Betty (you don’t need to know why)

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