Nicole Holoboff currently works at United Talent Agency and has been working in the music industry since graduating from Whitman College in the wheat fields of Washington State. Though she was born in London and grew up in Hong Kong, New York City has always been her home, and her career in music and entertainment has brought her back to stay. Though she still has much to learn about the industry, mentorship, and professional development she has been lucky enough to meet some incredible women achieving fantastic success in music who inspire her everyday. Nicole has been a vice chair with WIM since January 2017 and values deeply the community that exists when women stick together in male-dominated industries, as well as the progress that can be achieved when women and men work together to achieve the advancement of women in this industry at every level.
Success is such a personal concept – we all see and define it differently. How did you personally define your success?
I define success as achieving a balance between personal and professional happiness. As I grow up I see how many young women strive to find this balance as they work to maintain relationships (platonic and romantic) and strive for mental well-being. I have come to understand more than ever why this goal is so challenging to achieve, but also why it is a worthwhile goal to have that inspires you to work hard every day.
What advice would you give women who want to enter your side of the industry - What are your top three tips?
A) Develop meaningful connections early, go beyond surface-level networking and really talk with people who you introduce yourself to.
B) Always follow through on your word.
C) Never have an inflated ego.
How have the personal and professional experiences in your life contributed to your success today?
Every person I have ever worked with has taught me so much about work ethic, regarding hard work, being a leader, or keeping sane under pressure. Keeping notes, journals, and reflections about everything you experience while working and coming up in this industry has proven immensely helpful in digesting the information I consume daily, especially when processing emotionally/intellectually intense interactions that are tough to make sense of in the moment.
Can you share with us some of the challenges you’ve faced?
Having faith in myself and my personal direction has proven difficult. It is tough to remain confident when your goals or hopes are not yet fully formed, especially in an industry and city (NYC) where every person has an armor on that keeps you from seeing the real them and their insecurities. Holding on to your ability to know what is best for you and your goals while remaining honest with yourself is most important, and most challenging.
What is the most valuable lesson you’ve learned?
Get a mentor, or if you’re lucky, multiple mentors of various ages. Never think you can do anything on your own or without talking things through with those you love and respect. Always ask for advice and honest feedback where appropriate and acceptable.
What do you think is the most pressing issue women in the music industry face in your region?
Women being recognized for their work (professionally and personally – call your mother!!) and women in executive roles and leadership positions throughout companies. Similarly, women need to stand up for each other from small microaggressions to executive level salary negotiations as we stand in line together. I strongly believe women acting like men in the workplace does not further women in male dominated industries. Women must demand the space to be women without sacrificing what that means to her, and professional spaces must acclimate accordingly. This relates to childcare and respecting mothers (and fathers) who have children at home, or who need to bring their babies to the office. The rules need to bend to become more inclusive across the board, and it comes back to respecting and valuing women’s work.
Who inspires you, and why?
My mother, sister, and father.