In the Canadian tech space, women are still underrepresented, making up only 30 percent of the nation’s workforce, and only 21 percent of c-suite roles for companies. We are proud that the percentage of women at Cubert exceeds these national figures; however, we understand that there is still more work to be done to support women entering and thriving in the tech industry. For women’s history month, we want to highlight the remarkable women on our team who work hard every day to help consumers achieve health and happiness, and help to advance women in tech.
Nikki Schiavone is one of those women. A compassionate and motivational leader, Nikki gives 100% effort into everything she works on in a great way. When she joined our team last fall, Nikki quickly hit the ground running and her passion for humanity and wellness shows up in everything she does. As our EVP of Marketing, Strategy & Innovation, Nikki rolls up her sleeves and dives into many areas of the business by leading, coaching and contributing to the best solutions and experiences possible for our customers. She leads with empathy, experience and an uncanny ability to put the customer first. Nikki is also the co-creator and executive sponsor of our company’s wellness program, Cubert Cares. With a foundation as a former Division I athlete, staying healthy and fit is the cornerstone of her well-being and has become an advocate for physical, mental, emotional, and psychological health, and dedicates her time when she’s not working as a yoga teacher, meditation teacher, and a Reiki master.
Nikki’s 15 year career in marketing, advertising, and strategy for companies around the globe lends itself to actionable lessons that any woman can use to navigate their careers. In a recent interview, Nikki shared details about her career journey and what she’s learned along the way including her work in advancing and supporting women’s rights and her future ambitions.
Laying the Foundation
Growing up in Baltimore, Maryland, Nikki came from a family of tenacious go-getters where there weren’t a lot of resources, but there was a lot of love and her parents counseled her to take advantage of educational and other opportunities as often as possible. “My parents believed that education, especially for women, was how you make a difference for yourself, and for other women in the world,” Nikki says. As a non-stop learner, she values education, which has shaped the kind of person she is today. Education and sports were her pillars for success at a young age and that unstoppable drive and tenacious spirit led her to become a scholarshipped Division I athlete at VA. In addition to her experience in tech, Nikki has also pursued bodybuilding, is a figure competitor, half-marathoner, spin instructor and group fitness coach as well. When she’s not at work, you’ll still most likely find Nikki with her nose in a book, on an adventure or sweating / coaching alongside her peers in the wellness arena.
Finding her Dream Job
Nikki says that marketing was sort of something she stumbled into, but definitely something she has spent a lifetime perfecting and educating herself on over the years. She’s worked in small nonprofits, top management consulting firms, has sat on advisory boards, worked for the Fortune 100’s of the world, along with both large and small advertising agencies with a few different product areas of focus on the B2C, B2C and DTC side of business. Everywhere she lands, her track record shows she has moved the needle. Before coming to Cubert, Nikki was at Under Armour, which she describes as “a dream come true.” When she was 20 years old, Nikki was home for the Summer from VA Tech, and hired as a wear tester for UA and loved it. She loved the challenger brand mentality and couldn’t believe how much went into running a retail business in sport. It was right up her alley. She was curious about what it would be like to work behind the scenes and 13 years later, her path came full circle when she was hired at Corporate… Or so she thought it was until she met the team and joined Cubert.
“Leading and working at Cubert is the dream come true that I never knew I always wanted.”
“I’ve never had a better leader and mentor in my life and he [Marius] supports me being more than a marketer, more than an innovator, and more than a strategist. He wants me to bring my full self to work. It’s the first time I’ve ever had that type of coaching. It’s really a gift and I couldn’t be happier to be at Cubert because of it.”
Leading at Cubert
In her short time at Cubert, Nikki has not only become one of our leaders in marketing and innovation, but she also took on what she calls, “one of her favorite side projects,” our employee wellness program, Cubert Cares. When Nikki joined the team, we didn’t have a formalized wellness program. She brought the vision to life and launched it late last year. Cubert Cares introduced new remote initiatives like guided meditation and yoga, so that as an organization we can practice self-care and keep an ongoing dialogue about a healthy work environment.
On top of that, elevating women through mentorship is something that Nikki is deeply passionate about and takes on that role at Cubert. She mentors three or four different female colleagues every quarter.
As Kamala Harris says, “you may be the first to do many things, but make sure you’re not the last.” And that’s Nikki’s mantra as a leader in business.
“I’m in a position to open doors and windows, and I don’t take that lightly. It is a privilege to lend a hand, a voice, share a conversation, hire, advocate, coach and connect with women in a way that helps support their goals. I’m humbled and thrilled all at the same time. I wish I had more of that throughout my career, which is why I lean into that role now.” Nikki believes that the right place for women is in leadership, calling them natural born leaders who already lead frequently in their communities and family dynamics.
Besides mentoring, Nikki’s favourite part of her day is meeting with her team because she enjoys the mutual exchange of council, ideation, connection and progress created between them. “My team shows up every day to figure out how to best serve our customers. They make it easy to get up in the morning and get after the day. They inspire me.”
Nikki sees herself leading the executive committee on the senior leadership team for the time being, and is focused on supporting the growth of her teams and the exceptional experience they create for customers.
“My focus right now as a leader is always on the company vision, the growth of my teammates and the care we provide for our customers.”
Building a Legacy for the Future
A self-proclaimed lover of life, Nikki says that one of her purposes in life is to lead with radical empathy and help others bring their best selves to work. Nikki says, “there’s room for every single one of us, each unique POV is needed at Cubert and I hope to empower each person to bring their best self to the table in every conversation.” Down the road, Nikki would love to speak, write a book, and grow her network with other leaders of course, but ultimately, she wants to do work that makes her happy, which is empathetically coaching through to performance.
Career Tips for Women
Reflecting on her career journey and the choices she’s made, Nikki says if she were to give advice to her younger self, she’d say “worry less and just buckle up. It’s going to be a fun ride!” Below, she offers the following advice for women as they navigate their own career trajectory:
- Manifest – “Women can make it happen for themselves when they manifest; visualizing exactly what they want and desire and let it be known. Watch how the universe transpires to help make it happen! If you don’t believe it’s going to happen, then it won’t. Furthermore, you’ve got to create room for the unknown. I’ve had success in my career because I was both prescriptive and directional. I manifested but left room for the ‘how’ to take shape, and directionally, I always lean into what moves me, that’s my sweet spot.
- Take Risks – “I’m not afraid to try and I never take on a role unless it’s going to be a challenge. I make decisions in my career based on the people I’ll be working with daily, the potential growth for myself and the impact the company can have on the world. When those three things are there, it’s an easy decision – take the leap!” Nikki is all about “leaning into the passion, the juicy bits, the hills, the stuff you’re afraid of, the elements that matter most to you, take the risk, take the leap, we have one wild and precious life, don’t leave anything left in the tank in the end.
- How to Handle No – “(In business) I’ve been told ‘no’ more times than yes.” No, doesn’t bother me. No is a motivator. No tells me I’m reaching, stretching and thinking in areas of the unknown, it means I’m close. I take no with a smile, because it’s where growth happens.