Monday 22 June 2015

2Inspire Inspirational Woman Profile: Chloé Nelkin

In this inspirational Woman Profile we interview Chloé Nelkin, The CEO and Founder of Chloé Nelkin Consulting, a firm which specialises in PR, events and consultancy with a dedicated focus on visual arts, theatre and opera.

Chloé Nelkin

Please tell us what is a typical business day for you?

My days are very varied and I don’t tend to be at my desk for long.  Instead, I’m often out and about – meeting current and potential clients, attending rehearsals for our theatre shows, popping into a client’s gallery to check on installation, and running events.  Because I’m always on the move my BlackBerry is my lifeline making me available to my team, clients and press.  In the evenings, I can be found entertaining business associates, at the theatre or at art openings. When I am in the office I’ll be answering emails, taking phone calls, pitching stories to the press or sometimes reading a script for a new play that we’re considering working on.  I wouldn’t describe my days as typical and I often don’t turn my computer off until the early hours.  But that’s because I love my job.

What made you start the business and how did you get started?

During my time studying at The Courtauld Institute of Art I became involved with (and then chaired) a student run contemporary art exhibition.  Through the East Wing Collection, my PR skills rapidly developed and I began to get a taste for the industry.  I’d always known I wanted to work in art but I realised that PR was where I wanted to be.   My experience of working at other PR firms confirmed to me that I wanted to spearhead projects in my own way and feel truly invested in what I was doing.  In March 2010, a gallery asked me to handle their PR.  Chloé Nelkin Consulting was born. 

What would you say has been your greatest accomplishment in the business world to date?

Taking the business from the kitchen table and building it into a successful company with offices in Soho.  The business has expanded, we’re now a team of six and we celebrated our 5th birthday earlier this year.  As well as working with independent artists and smaller theatre companies, we also look after the likes of National Trust London, Theatre503 and Opera Holland Park. 

What has been your biggest challenge in business so far?

Because it’s my company, I’m emotionally involved in my work and wear my heart on my sleeve.  I believe in openness and honesty (which is a key ethos of CNC) and it’s difficult for me to accept that not everybody is the same.  I find rude or untrustworthy behaviour very draining, whether it’s directed at me or my staff. 

What are your future plans for the business?

Who knows?  The business is exactly where I want it to be for now.  It’s expanding in a really exciting way so watch this space.

If you had to do it all over again, what would you do differently?

I truly wouldn’t change anything.  I handpick all our clients to ensure that we’re only working with projects we feel really passionate about.  I truly believe the reason CNC has grown is because everyone in the team loves it and that is one of the things that has made the business the success it is today.  Our attention to detail and the fact we get to know all our clients personally means that we understand what they want.  Of course, there are bumps along the road in any business and sometimes there are steep learning curves but all of those things have contributed to our growth.

Why is it so important to inspire young women in particular to follow their dreams?

I get so frustrated when I hear people saying that they can’t make it in an industry because it’s dominated by one gender.  That is nonsense.  If you have the skills and determination you can achieve success in whatever industry you choose.  Women can lead just as well as men and it comes down to confidence.  I went to a school that nurtured strong independent women – previous alumni included the likes of Frances Mary Buss, Esther Rantzen, Stevie Smith and Marie Stopes.  We were taught to follow our dreams and to be the next generation of women who would make a difference.

What advice would you give to somebody who wants to start a business in your industry?

My key piece of advice is that you have to believe in what you are doing and work hard.  A business doesn’t form overnight – it needs time, patience and love.

What or who inspires you in business and why? 

It may sound corny but my clients and my team inspire me.  Knowing we’re working on such great projects and then seeing how pleased my team are when projects go well is a huge incentive to continue as we are.

What is your favourite inspirational quote?

My grandma used to say, There’s no such thing as you can’t because you can if you try hard enough.

Chloé Nelkin



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