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My Working Life: Nayha Gounder

by Nicola Macdonald

The senior sales manager at MCM Comic Con on finding her path in life and getting married on a whim.

I was born in a town called Redditch in Worcestershire. My parents split up just before my second birthday and I moved to my mum’s family home in Leicester. So I spent my younger years growing up between the two places I call Leicester my home.

My dad worked in IT and then set up his own business, while my mum has worked for the Ministry of Justice for 26 years – I’ve never seen anyone who is so dedicated to their work!

My first job was working in my Grandad’s friends saree shop folding sarees on Saturdays, I had an urge to help people pick out sarees for their occasions but was never allowed to sell, so I kept folding away, and after a two months, it got so boring that I quit.

My friends were all going to university and living the student life, I couldn’t find a degree that I enjoyed that would more importantly help me secure a good job that I enjoyed. A friend suggested I look into event management at Loughborough, and I found that the modules allowed me to gain business knowledge as well as still be in an industry that was creative and innovative. For the first time in education, I was switched on, engrossed and eager to learn. I graduated in 2012, and then volunteered at the Olympics that summer during the closing ceremony. At that point, I knew I had found the industry I wanted to work in.

When I came across the job vacancy at MCM Comic Con, I thought this would be a great place to try it out as if it wasn’t for me, my events background would still be useful in the events company. After spending the application process mainly on the phone convincing the owner that although I didn’t have experience in sales, I knew I could do it. He turned me down for interviews every day until one day he gave in, I interviewed and joined the company a few weeks later. Little did I know at the time, me hounding him was showing my natural sales ability.

For me personally, I love the idea of collectively working to an end goal: the show date. The events industry is a huge myriad of talented people from all types of working backgrounds and specialists in their fields. To see all these different areas work together to create an event really is fascinating to me and also reminds me that in this industry, team work is key.

There should be more internships and ways of getting youth and untapped talent into our industry. Making the rest of the UK more aware of our industry and what a thriving and diverse one it is, is the challenge we need to address.

My weekends are filled with time to myself in the day to catch up on the latest soaps or series that my husband won’t want to watch, and then the evenings are reserved for family and friends. I go crazy if I’m in the house all day and love to go out to spend time with my nearest and dearest.

I recently got married to Nik, my partner of 12 years. After years of battling the family’s plans for a Big Fat Indian Wedding, we decided on a whim to get married, and held the ceremony five weeks later.

My last holiday was to India – not my first time but it was my husband’s first time. Some of my family joined us and it was basically a two-week food tour of Mumbai and Goa, it was perfect.

This feature originally appeared in the May 2018 issue of Exhibition News. 

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