CEO | Medi8 Golf
Nicole Wheatley, CEO of Medi8 Golf, tells of her fortuitous journey into golf, and how listening and honesty are bedrocks to conducting business.
The First Call: Please give us a short overview of your company.
Nicole Wheatley: Medi8 [located in Staffordshire, England] is an international public relations and marketing agency specializing in golf. I launched the business in 2007 and since then we have worked with brands, products and people around the world.
TFC: In one sentence, describe what you do for a living.
NW: My job is to uncover the interesting stories behind our clients' brand and products and deliver them in a way that will capture peoples’ imagination
TFC: What time do you wake in the morning, and what time do you typically start the workday?
NW: Everyone will tell you I am not a morning person, but I have a walking, talking alarm clock [my child] who wakes me at 7:07 every day. I don't let home and work overlap unless absolutely necessary, so I don't check emails or messages until after the school run.
TFC: What are key elements to leadership or to being a good leader?
NW: Listening. You learn so much. Listening to an employee, a customer, a business interaction or even some industry gossip helps you navigate your way. It helps you to understand what people need, to identify new opportunities and, most significantly, listening also helps build relationships. Human beings long to be heard. That's one of the main reasons why social media sky rocketed.
TFC: What changes, if any, have you made based on the events of the past year?
NW: A lot. As well as transforming as a business, we also had to re-evaluate plans for all of our clients. One of the projects I am most proud of was working with the Women's Golf Day team to create and promote its virtual event, which we did in around six weeks.
We also launched a new business called Golf Marketing Hub. This is an online learning platform for golf venues and PGA members who want to improve their marketing knowledge. For a small annual subscription, members have access to short video tutorials across all key areas of marketing. You can do as much or as little as you want to and we upload new content all the time. It's actually been a lot of fun to be in front of the camera for the first time.
TFC: What's the secret to your success?
NW: Being honest. Not everyone will like what they hear, but I will always be truthful.
TFC: Who is your role model?
NW: Dolly Parton is the first person who springs to mind. She's unashamedly herself, which is easier said than done.
TFC: Knowing what you know today, what professional advice would you give a younger you?
NW: To have more confidence in my gut feelings.
TFC: What’s the last book you read?
NW: I have just finished a trilogy called the “Book of the Ancestor.” It's about kick-ass nuns saving the world and it's not for the faint-hearted.
TFC: What’s the last movie you saw?
TFC: What’s on your playlist?
NW: I have a really eclectic music taste. I was brought up on Motown, but love house music and disco. Sault is my new go-to music right now, but equally you will find me singing along nostalgically to ‘90s British indie bands like Embrace, Shed Seven or Athlete.
TFC: When I’m not at work, you can find me …
NW: Climbing a mountain or on a dance floor.
TFC: What is your greatest extravagance?
NW: Shoes and coats. I missed wearing them in the pandemic.
TFC: What was your path to the golf industry?
NW: I saw an advert for a fluent French speaker with a knowledge of golf. My dad played golf and I spoke French, so I applied for the job. Three weeks later, the client I was hired to look after took his shoes and socks off in the Barry Burn at Carnoustie. It was Jean van de Velde.
TFC: What are the favorite golf courses you have played?
NW: My golf isn't good enough to really enjoy a golf course, but the one that means the most to me is the Old Course at St. Andrews. It's where I met my partner, where so many of the significant moments in my career have been and the first golf course i took my daughter to — aged 3 months.