THIS week’s High Flyer is Nicola McKay, associate director at HLM Architects
What was your first job?
I had a number of part time jobs from babysitting to bar work. I also had a summer job where I worked for a local company that developed and distributed weather-proofing products for doors, windows, conservatories and joinery applications. It was from here that I got my first job in an architectural practice.
What qualifications do have?
I have a degree in Architecture from Queen’s University Belfast and a diploma in Architecture and Masters in Urban Design from Heriot Watt University in Edinburgh. I have also completed my Professional Practice Examinations.
What do you attribute your success to?
I feel it is important to be transparent and forthcoming to earn people’s respect. Also, I believe success stems from hard work, ambition and integrity.
How would you describe yourself to someone who’d never met you?
Honest, diligent, dedicated, approachable and of course, a team player.
Who do you look up to in business?
There are so many amazing role models out there. If I had to choose I would say Alyson Hogg of Vita Liberata. She is truly inspirational and motivational.
How do you get the best out of people who work for you?
I value communication and an open environment in which thoughts are expressed freely and information flows easily. I also value relationship dynamics and feel it is important to maximise people’s involvement to perform seamlessly as a unit. Also, through building trust within the team and capitalising on the strength of developing others.
If you could change one thing about doing business in Northern Ireland, what would it be?
Our political situation.
What website or app could you not do without?
I have a scrapbook app on my phone where I save everything, from pictures of buildings, stairs and doors, to shoes, clothing and accessories.
What was the last book you read?
The Good Daughter by Karin Slaughter
What car do you drive?
Tell us something interesting about yourself?
I took up cycling about three years ago and joined a local cycling club. It’s great getting out on the bike for a couple of hours to clear your head and also to meet new people.
What’s your greatest passion outside work and family?
Outside of work it’s definitely my family. I have two wonderful kids who keep me busy. I also enjoy travelling and listening to music.