In Conversation with Nikki Da Costa

11th March 2019

Early last week, we had the privilege of hearing Nikki da Costa (former Director of Legislative Affairs at No.10) speak at the Women in Public Affairs event In Conversation with Nikki da Costa. Her impressive time at No.10 aside, it was the insight she shared of her own extraordinary career path that has given us some great top tips for candidates looking to make their mark in the communications industry.

Be your own internal mentor.

It’s great to have a mentor, someone who can guide you and give you advice, but at the end of the day, only you can figure out who you want to be and where you want to take your career. Take the time to reflect on what you have enjoyed so far in your role and think about how you can leverage this to create the opportunity that is right for you.

Do your research and plan accordingly.

Whether you’re actively job hunting or aiming for a promotion, make sure you know what that next role entails and what you need to do to step up to the mark. Familiarise yourself with the decision makers and influencers and observe what you can do in line with their visions and values to achieve the bigger picture.

If you are hoping to negotiate a contract or pay rise, make sure you are fully informed. Know why you deserve the raise, plan for all of the possible outcomes in the conversation, and be prepared to walk away.


This may seem obvious, especially as the world of Communications is heavily focused on people. Investing time in building and maintaining all of the relationships in your professional and personal network will really go a long way – you never know who you might cross paths with in the future!

Never move for the money.

It’s tempting to move jobs for an increase in salary (or stay put for a counter offer), however it’s important that the other factors in the role also match up to your values and overall career goals. Go for growth instead – it will get you a lot further in the long run.

Don’t be afraid to roll the dice.

Some opportunities may come with uncertainties and the outcomes may not always be perfect, however it’s important to remember that there is always a way to recover and create new opportunity off the back of this. Ask yourself: what’s the worst that can happen? How can I survive or recover from this? And ultimately, what’s the best that can happen?

“Success is not final, and failure is not fatal.”

Thank you to Nikki da Costa, Women in Public Affairs, and Cicero for a very inspirational morning!