The Ri5 profile: Nicola Sullivan

The Ri5 profile: Nicola Sullivan


Nicola Sullivan has been appointed Business and Relationship Director at Meet & Engage, the award-winning real-time chat technology company, to support an ambitious global growth strategy. Nicola brings an impressive range of skills and experience from her previous senior-level roles at LHH Penna, Penna, Hodes and aia.

Ali Hackett, Director and co-founder is thrilled to have Nicola onboard. “We have such a fantastic team in place and the appointment of Nicola is the icing on the cake for us. Her knowledge and enthusiasm will help us to drive the business and the technology to the next level. Having worked with Nicola twice previously, I know we’ll also have a great time in the process!”

How did you first get into the industry? 

Through a recruitment agency on Oxford Street. I went for media sales roles straight out of uni but instead joined Manda Crowder’s team at what was then Riley Advertising just off Fleet Street. David Thompson, now heading up ThirtyThree in Bristol, and I joined on the same day and spent our time faxing - yes faxing - semi display ads to the Evening Standard.

Would you do the same again? 

Working with Manda and DT ... Yes - every time.

What would you do if you didn’t do this? 

I always wanted to be a copper, but failed the assessment day!

Who are your favourite people from the industry? 

That’s so hard! I’ve been lucky enough to work with some fantastic people in the past - but a few that spring to mind are Graeme Wright, Keith Pilling, Vanessa Collins, Jo Taylor, David Thompson, Anne Sullivan and Tristan Moakes. My time at Penna was brilliant fun thanks to them all. And of course Ali Hackett and I go back years, so she’s a firm favourite too

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve received in your career? 

“We’re not packing parachutes...”. It always helps to keep things in perspective!

And what piece of advice would you give somebody starting out in the sector? 

You’ve joined an amazing sector - make the most of every opportunity, client and challenge that presents itself.

What’s your favourite recruitment ad? 

Despite the rather stressful weekend when the media coverage kicked off, I loved the GCHWho clean graffiti campaign in Hackney that the Penna team produced.

And what’s your favourite non-recruitment ad? 

So predictable, but I do like a good John Lewis Christmas ad. In fact I like most Christmas ads.

You’re entertaining industry contacts. Where do you take them, and why? 

Cork and Bottle, Leicester Square - great wine list and feels like you’ve stepped back in time. Or Booking Office Bar & Restaurant at the St Pancras Hotel - beautiful building.

What are you reading at the moment? 

Wolf Hall ... again ...

And what are you listening to? 

Right now? Simon and Garfunkel - timeless.

Which five guests would you invite to your ideal dinner party? 

Probably close friends and family - takes the pressure of the taste/presentation of the food.

What are your top three films? 

Elizabeth, Life of Brian and Shawshank Redemption - eclectic.

Something or someone for Room 101? 


What items do you never leave home without? 


What’s your biggest achievement – career or otherwise? 

My 11 year old son, who appears to be a caring, loving and mischievous young chap.

Who’s your biggest hero, and why? 

My Dad, for too many reasons to list...

What is your ideal holiday? 

Family, friends, sun, food, wine, no signal.

Three words to describe yourself? 

Authentic, excitable, tall.

Your best and worst habits? 

Best: organising people.
Worst: control freak. They’re the same thing I think ...

What’s your guilty pleasure? 


What has been your worst/most boring job you’ve ever had? 

Stuffing envelopes for an eye care firm whilst at uni - and ended up getting laryngitis from their air conditioning system. 

What single fact would surprise people the most about you? 

That I wanted to be a MET Police Officer but failed the assessment. I went into recruitment advertising instead, and the other rejected candidate that day ended up being a Blue Peter presenter. Them’s the breaks ...

Thanks Nicola. If you would like to nominate someone for an Ri5 Profile, or participate yourself, please contact the Ri5 Editorial team at

Thursday, 10 August 2017

Share this article

Any questions? Any comments?

Your instant reactions to this article can be posted here.

(Showing 1 - 3 of 3)

Dave Amos Date: Aug 10, 2017

The Met's loss has been our gain Nicola. Good luck.

brin mcardle Date: Aug 11, 2017

Nicola...ooh i remember those days at Rileys

David Thompson Date: Aug 11, 2017

Wow - Ali and Nic back together. Two of the most amazingly talented and wonderful people in our industry. Now that's a dynamic duo! Very best of luck to you both ladies. Can't wait to catch up with you to hear all about it xxx