Global Events Visionary: Nell Nicholas

Global Events Visionary: Nell Nicholas

I met Nell recently at the HelmsBriscoe Annual conference in Houston, Texas. She has been a familiar face in the industry for almost 20 years. As the Senior Director of Global Accounts at HelmsBriscoe, she brings a wealth of experience and understands the importance of building sustainable relationships. Nell is also an 11 time Presidents Club winner at HelmsBriscoe! She adds that “it is my great honor to be part of the HB family.”

In the midst of her demanding schedule, she shared her journey thus far with MCIntl…

JN: In your tenure at HelmsBriscoe, share sample(s) of challenging yet rewarding experiences as the Senior Director of Global Accounts?

NN: As Senior Director of Global Accounts for HelmsBriscoe, I have experienced both challenges and rewards with my work with some of the best in the business for almost 19 years.  My greatest challenge was my first year at HB, starting immediately after 9/11.  With an immediate change to the landscape of global travel and meeting trends, I had to shift my mindset to a new world of fierce contract terms review-force majeure and performance clauses to name a couple.  The market shift created opportunities to drive rate down for my clients.  At the same time, planning departments were slashed and meetings practically came to a halt in the short term-it was an interesting time.

I am blessed with so many rewarding experiences in my tenure at HB because my clients have been wonderful to work with.  My greatest reward is the simple pleasure of a hard fought and mutually-agreed upon contract for a win/win for supplier and planner.  When those meetings are executed seamlessly by the planning department, it’s a “feel good” all around.  I have worked with some terrific suppliers over the years and its truly rewarding when they see the value of the supplier/planner relationship which translates into more business.  When suppliers can offer a little more to the planner and benefit from consecutive meetings from those little extras, both parties leave the negotiation table happy.

JN: What global legacies or impact are you and/or HelmsBriscoe creating?

NN: I book a fair amount of global programs from Latin America to Europe and Asia.  I appreciate the fact that the world is shrinking and we should use that to our advantage.  The HelmsBriscoe network of over 1,400 associates in 55 countries helps connect us to every point on the globe.  The collective knowledge we share is a powerful tool for our clients and certainly enhances their meeting/conference experiences.

Nell with Founder & CEO of HelmsBriscoe, Roger Helms.


JN: From your perspective, what are some of the lessons learned from managing a global meeting?

NN: The main lesson I have learned regarding the procurement aspect of meetings is different business practices implemented around the globe.  Getting familiar with cultural differences in business practices is helpful.  From response times, to technology platform usage to contract terms, one has to stay on top of their game when booking global meetings.  It’s not a one size fits all.  I certainly appreciate English is commonly used around the globe in our business so I can communicate easily with my suppliers.  This is an aspect of the global meeting environment for which I feel especially thankful

JN: What advice would you provide to our readers?

NN: Keep Calm and Plan On!  There are so many resources out there for anyone that is booking their first global meeting to seasoned professionals who want to hone their skills.  Even though our industry spans the globe, it feels like a small community in many ways.  One might meet a new industry colleague on a FAM trip and years later find a time to work together.  Aren’t we lucky to have picked the best industry as our career?

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