By Derek Nicol, Private Clients & Hospitality Account Executives
Derek Nicol has worked at Bruce Stevenson as an Account Executive for four years but has worked in Insurance for more than three decades, Derek works in our Private Clients team and is expanding the business into the rapidly developing world of Self-Catering. As many of you will already be aware, there’s a lot more to Derek than meets the eye, but read on and find out exactly what a typical day in Derek’s life looks like…
“The alarm goes at 6.30am so I’ll shuffle out of bed and perform my morning routine. Two Weetabix with a banana on top is my daily breakfast, as allowed by my Slimming World regime. Then, it’s my responsibility to wake my two daughters up to ensure they’re dressed and ready for school and university, as my wife has usually waltzed out of the house to get to work for7.00am.
After my daughter has been dropped off at school, the girls have been taken care of I’ll head to our Borders office. Because I live in the South East side of Edinburgh, commuting to Galashiels is actually often quicker than trying to get to Leith. Although most of my time is spent in our Private Clients department, I’m currently focusing more of my attention on the self-catering market which brings me to our Glasgow office once a week. There is certainly an increasing amount of self-catering businesses popping up around the west coast. Despite being a ‘niche’ area, I believe it’s going to fly. It really is a ‘best of breed’ product we offer and has already generated over £30,000 of new business in the space of just six months.
At the Borders office, I’ll catch up with my partner in crime of 15 years, Fiona Reid (Private Clients Manager) to go over any renewals, new business leads or anything else that requires to be dealt with. Fiona and I consider ourselves ‘specialists in portfolio risk’ and we can look after everything the client works hard to buy, whether that’s a yacht, a dream car or a nice watch. We like to package everything up to ensure that our client is completely covered and we are keeping the competition out.
My role is very flexible and I’m often on the road meeting clients to go over renewals or do property, fine art & antique reviews. That’s really why I love my job as I enjoy seeing my clients, catching up over coffee and discussing what’s important to them. That’s my number one priority. Once I get a client I usually tend to keep them and I’ve had some with me for over 20 years. Working with Private Clients, is easier I feel, than working in the Commercial department as commercial executives have a lot more pressure on them in terms of price. Whereas Private individuals are more appreciative that the cheapest cover isn’t always the wisest choice.
Whilst on the road, I Iisten to music. There is nothing better than turning on the radio and grooving to a 70s hit. My musical taste is very eclectic and I listen to pretty much anything from what’s in the charts at the moment to Country & Western and also a bit of Simon and Garfunkel , They’re my guilty pleasure.
As I mentioned I’m on a Slimming World diet, so my lunch routine is usually a delicious salad prepared by my wife Janice or a soup if the weather is cold. My one addiction is grapes. You will never go a day without seeing me eat a punnet of grapes as it helps keep the hunger pangs and biscuits desire at bay. In the afternoon I’ll be on the road again or back in the office collating all the information I’ve gathered from the morning meetings, so I can go to the market to find the best deals.
More often than not, I’ll find myself working in the evening. Going into this job you know you have to commit to early starts and late finishes, but this does mean I have the weekends to do my other activities. If I do get home for 6.00pm, we’ll have a proper sit down meal as a family. Having dinner together is very important to us, as we know that the four of us being together can’t last forever. After eating, Janice and I walk the dog and after doing some work, I might watch some TV. I’ve certainly not got square eyes but I do enjoy watching an episode of The Apprentice or The Great British Bake Off. I’ll also maybe spend an hour or two catching up on other interests of mine which are dance and running a dance trophy business. I am Scotland’s Principal Adjudicator for dance and run my own dance festivals.
Did I not mention that I actually lead a double life? During the week I wear my insurance broker’s hat then at the weekend you’ll find me wearing my dancing shoes.
I’ve been involved in dance; Ballroom, Latin American and Disco, since I was 11 years old (I’m now 47 so you do the math). I trained competitively for many years and picked up several championship titles along the way; Junior Scottish Ballroom Champion, Scottish, European and World Rock n Roll Champion. My dance partner and I were even selected to represent Glasgow in ‘Come Dancing’, which was the original ‘Strictly’. We won the first round and the semi-final but unfortunately didn’t win the final. I can’t complain however as when the judge that marked us first both times was none other than Len Goodman. He still knows me by name to this day.
It was from there that I got involved with teaching and up until this year I ran my own dancing school for twenty-five years .You know you’ve been something a long time when you start getting ‘outstanding achievement awards’ rather than performance awards! Being involved with dance for so long has opened so many doors, including becoming Scotland’s Principal Adjudicator and being Chairman of the Scottish Teachers Association of Dance. I’m very fortunate to have this role as I get to experience dance all over the world and next year I’m off to Sun City in South Africa.
In everything that I do, whether that’s adjudicating up and down the country or running my own dance festivals, I always do it for the kids. I’m very passionate about young people’s welfare and have a real hatred towards anyone who does anything wrong to them. So in my role as Chairman, my involvement is purely to make dancing a more fair, safe and enjoyable experience for kids.
All in all, whether it’s my work in insurance or dancing I wouldn’t be anywhere without my wife and family. I’ve been lucky, as they’ve allowed me to indulge myself in the world of dance and made huge sacrifices over the years for me to achieve what I have done. For that I am eternally grateful.
When it’s time for bed, I do all the wrong things. I have a coffee and I’ll switch on Sky News. I usually fall asleep around midnight, then it’s back up the next day to cha-cha into another daily routine.
I wouldn’t have it any other way!