Principal and Director North-West Development and Regeneration
Meet Nicola Rigby
What is your role at Avison Young?
Director – although I have just been promoted to Principal.
I lead the regeneration offer in the North-West of England and am based in the Manchester office.
How did you get into commercial real estate?
The path well-trodden – I had family members who worked in the industry so I grew up with an understanding of and passion for the built environment. I did Geography at university, and undertook work experience the summer I left Newcastle at GVA (then GVA Grimley), and the company has not been able to get rid of me since!
Who has been the biggest influence in your life and why?
My Mum. She has experienced a lot of adversity personally but always worked so hard to bring my sister and I up to be strong, well-educated and ambitious women as a single parent. Now I am an adult, I am in awe of everything she achieved alongside that.
Whatever else I am, I will always be her youngest child and I strive to make her proud in everything I do. That shapes me entirely as a person and a professional.
What is the best advice you've ever received?
Smile more and ask all the questions….
I was told many years ago in my first ever job when I had to answer the phone on the shop floor in Woolworths that if you smile while you talk on the phone it makes your voice clearer.
The questions advice isn’t brain surgery, but this is something that I instill in my team. It guides my relationships with my clients. I cannot do my job without understanding the brief, and sometimes the clients need to be asked the right questions to work out what they need.
If I was to offer specific advice to any young woman in the industry I would say to look for role models, but don’t limit those to women in leadership roles. We work with some incredible men who are as supportive of female progression as male within the business. And share your experiences; we are always learning, but we can only get better if we understand the limitations we (consciously or unconsciously) place on women professionally. How Has Avison Young supported you as a woman in business?
I’m not sure of the best way to articulate this, but it is meant in an entirely positive way. Avison Young (and GVA before it) has not treated me any differently from a man within the business – and that in itself should be applauded. I have never felt disadvantaged within the business, which has always provided me with the environment and space to be myself, offer my opinions, and develop my career. We have wonderful role models within this business – who are both women who are leaders in their field, and men who champion women professionally. I thank each and every one of them for being part of my reference group in growing my career.
What would people be surprised to learn about you?
Whilst I appear to be doing okay working in the property industry, my dream has always been to own a children’s book shop. There is nothing as rewarding that I have discovered so far as sitting down with a child and a book.