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Spotlight on TECwomen: Niki Davies, Director & Head of Marketing for Software Cornwall.

What is your name?

Niki Davies

What do you do?

Director & Head of Marketing for Software Cornwall.

Can you tell us a bit more about yourself?

I work helping to promote, grow and support the software, tech and digital industries in Cornwall.

Former Head of Marketing for multi-award-winning, London-based cleantech startup, Verv; Data & AI specialists developing tech solutions to climate change. Verv's innovations include an IoT home energy monitoring hub, a blockchain-based peer-to-peer energy trading system and an embedded microchip for the predictive maintenance and monitoring of appliances and white goods.

Notable achievements whilst at Verv included raising £2m through two equity crowdfunding campaigns from 2000 investors, winning prestigious 9 awards within the cleantech and sustainability space and developing this startup into an international brand, from seed investment (£750k) to Series A (£10m).

A tech enthusiast with over a decade of experience in marketing, predominantly for SME's, I am passionate about creating positive, sustainable change and innovating both through technological developments and the processes used to promote them.

What was your favourite subject at school?

GCSE & A-Level PE - loved sport and always my favourite subjects (including the theory encompassing human biology and psychology). Sport is a great teacher when it comes to teamwork, team strategies, problem-solving and communication. It's an amazing bonding tool and you can learn a huge amount about someone when you play games and take part in activities together.

What do you do in your role at the moment? What does your day-to-day work look like?

I help lead a team of individuals who are passionate about the opportunities within tech for those or both school age, right the way through to individuals who are established in their career.

We love tech, we're excited about the prospects it can bring and the problems it can solve. My day is filled with fascinating conversations with a diverse range of people. Those conversations spur ideas, partnerships, collaborations, and present new opportunities.

What is your favourite thing about your job?

I LOVE meeting new people, connecting them and their ideas with others and helping to lead the team toward a purpose-driven goal.

How did you get into the job you are doing now? What did you do to get started?

I've always been tech-savvy. I grew up playing computer games and was generally good at a lot of things outside of academia that didn't require an exam!

I scraped through my A-Levels and was fortunate enough to go to university, which as well as my degree, taught me valuable skills such as public speaking, campaigning, and how to network. I discovered that I was very well organised and loved meeting new people.

My degree was in Event Management, and after a few fun years of running club nights and stage-managing gigs at a local venue, I found my way into a digital agency in a marketing role. Here, I basically said yes to every opportunity thrown at me, included being seconded into a client-facing role where I spent time understanding commercial strategies and how to manage clients and stakeholders. They had a great company culture and were brilliant at sharing knowledge across teams, so my understanding of digital and tech grew enormously thanks to the brilliant people around me.

I joined the local Junior Chamber International (JCI) in my spare time which gave me a platform to practice public speaking and network with other like-minded young professionals. There were plenty of opportunities to volunteer for local community projects through JCI so I had a forum to learn new skills like project management, and also network with peers that weren't in my industry which became extremely useful for problem-solving and making connections.

Fast forward a few years and I became the Head of Marketing for a software company and then a high-growth clean-tech startup. During my years at the startup, I learned a huge amount about financing a company, business strategy, growing a team and getting an innovative product to market.

The skills gained throughout my career including voluntary work led me to a role at Software Cornwall, primarily in sales and marketing. After a year of working with the team, I joined the board as a Director with my colleague Holly, and we now head up the day-to-day running of the company.

Have you faced any challenges along the way and how did you overcome them?

I have always struggled with exams and traditional academia. Cramming for subjects and then regurgitating them never suited me and I knew this from a fairly early age. When I was able to do so, I chose subjects that enabled more coursework-driven testing where I had time to learn, reflect and then get creative about how I delivered my response.

I learn best when talking to other people so I have always tried to surround myself with individuals who think differently to me so I can expand my understanding of a subject, or seek out an expert to have a conversation with. I try and learn as if I'll have to teach it to someone else one day and this helps me remember information more clearly whilst also being helpful to someone else in the future.

What advice would you give to young girls?

My favourite advice is a quote is from Carrie Fisher a.k.a.Princess Leia, from Star wars: "Stay afraid, but do it anyway. What's important is the action. You don't have to wait to be confident. Just do it and eventually, the confidence will follow."


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