Published On: Thu, May 2nd, 2019

Nickie West, Event Director of The FIT Show

First Job: I’m not going to put dates to these career milestones; it’s far too painful! But becoming the youngest director and one of very few females appointed to the board of Robert Maxwell’s exhibition company was a career high for me. In the late 80s early 90s women in senior roles were rare and I took pride in playing a rôle in the road to gender equality in the workplace. The route this took subsequent to Mr Maxwell’s untimely demise saw me selling group assets with the liquidators. One of the assets was purchased by Angus Montgomery which is where my relationship with our new owners started. Another, and more recent career high, was my promotion to Event Director for the FIT Show after the 2014 event.

When did you join current company: I was originally contracted by Matthew Glover and Paul Godwin in an operations capacity when the idea for FIT Show was first conceived in 2011. We  worked together to develop the inaugural show, which took place at Telford’s International Exhibition Centre in 2013.

Most useful/favourite gadget: I absolutely rely on my car’s inbuilt sat nav. I’m also an avid user of LinkedIn and Twitter which are both key channels for this industry. Finally, Salesforce – the whole FIT Show team is linked up with Salesforce and it’s vital for managing and nurturing leads throughout the campaign.

Favourite/most useful website: Key sites for me include the event industry trade body; Association of Event Organisers –, BBC News, LiveBuzz who manage our online registration and the FIT Show website, and, of course, the FIT Show website.

Business person you admire: From the world of business, I respect any woman who is achieving success in their chosen career. I’ve raised twin girls and have always instilled in them that gender should not be a barrier to success in any profession.

Recommended hotel for business: As you would expect my recommendation is by the NEC where I seem to spend a huge amount of time. The Genting in Resorts World is in a great location and totally geared to balancing business with some R+R. If you want to push the boat out and escape the hustle and bustle I’d recommend Hampton Manor in Solihull – FAB-U-LOUS and if you ever have the time do try their afternoon tea.

Favourite UK restaurant: Really hard to pick one! I love the original Ivy in London and Kettner’s in Soho, but generally speaking I really enjoy trying anything that isn’t a chain and if you like curry, Chutney Mary in King’s Road is a must.

Other interests: I love spending time with my beautiful girlies! I also love holidays. I’ve made a conscious effort this year to try and find the balance between work and homelife, taking time out to enjoy time with my family and lovely circle of friends. (I’d be lying if I said that I didn’t find some satisfaction in sitting back and looking at the FIT Show floor plan filling up or the mounting registrations on the Livebuzz website!)

Working day: My commute is an easy, working from home. However, I’m out and about in the FIT community meeting exhibitors and suppliers across the country so my day often starts with setting the sat nav and hitting the road, or waking up in a hotel and preparing for a day of meetings. I’ll be responding to emails and calls in between appointments and then debriefing the wider FIT Show team.
My working day starts quite early and finishes late, especially as we approach the show. Every day is amazingly varied with a mixture of sales, marketing, planning, operations and strategy. I love it.

Working location: I mainly work from home in Walton-on-Thames, so I am either based in my home office, on the road meeting exhibitors and partners at various sites across the country, or at Angus Montgomery Group head office in Manchester Square, just off Marylebone.

Director of the Month Feature from Nickie West…..

When FIT Show started back in 2013 we knew that the industry was crying out for a dedicated event, but I’m not sure if any of us truly appreciated just how needed, and therefore well received, it would be. The decision to move FIT Show to the NEC in 2017, taking it from what many perceived to be its natural home in Telford, was a big and brave one. Not only did we have more stand space to sell and visitors to drive, people inherently don’t like change so we were also met with all the challenges that came with convincing some of our original supporters that this was the best move all round.

But it’s a decision that has paid off. The move to Birmingham has made the show more accessible, which has been reflected in the floor plan with more exhibitors joining the show from overseas, and reflected in the visitor data which saw more footfall from the South East and North West. It’s also allowed us to expand our offering and appeal to new and wider audiences, such as the addition of Visit Glass for the flat glass sector.
Our growth target for 2019 is to sell 35% more stand space and we’re on target to achieve this, already having sold more space than at this point in the campaign for 2017. But it’s not just more exhibitors we are looking to attract. What we’re working harder than ever to do is to drive a relevant and engaged visitor audience. We’ve recognised that, whilst our visitor numbers have grown, there are certain pockets of our visitor audience which we need to work harder on to engage – in particular, installers. A huge part of our targeting strategy for 2019 is to ensure that we are taking the FIT Show campaign to the installer, tailoring our communications to clearly explain the reasons why they should take time off the tools to visit, and reaching them via the channels that are most relevant to them. We aim to grow our installer audience in 2019 by at least 25%.

Alongside this, we’re working incredibly hard to broaden the appeal of the show generally. In 2019 you can expect to see flat glass and machinery for the first time as part of Visit Glass and a whole host of new features such as our Timber, New Products and Installer Trails. We’re taking the Gala Dinner back to its roots of networking. The event will take place on May 23rd at NEC Resorts World VOX and will include a silent auction in support of GM Fundraising and Hope House Children’s Hospices. We’re committed to ensure that FIT Show serves as a wider industry platform for issues such as the skills gap. What better place to showcase and celebrate the fantastic work that is being done across the industry, and position fenestration as a career of choice than FIT Show? New for 2019, Skills Thursday will include a full schedule of content designed to educate business owners, employees and prospective young talent about the various skills and training opportunities throughout the fenestration industry.

There’s a huge engine behind the FIT Show – as the doors open for 2019 we’re already underway with the campaign for the next show. A big challenge has always been keeping momentum during our down years, given to the biennial proposition. We spend a large proportion of time (and budget) having to re-engage with our audience and convince them of the proposition of exhibiting or visiting again. Our challenge over the coming months and years will be to understand how to better serve our community and maintain those connections and the same level of engagement at a pace that reflects the needs of the industry. We’re very much looking forward to 2019 and beyond.

Tel: 07818 218000