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Where you invest your love you invest your life.

Message from Nikki Csek, CEO of NowMedia Group

Our 25 year journey has been a journey of love. Starting out in an industry that had few people working in it, let alone females is a great story to tell. We were born out of a passion to help businesses be better today than they were yesterday. To truly help guide them along their way to success whatever that may be.

Our goals in the beginning were few. We wanted to be able to stay alive for 5 years, as we knew that if we could make it five years we had a much better chance in living on in a financially viable rewarding business. We also had a goal to get a client and take care of them so that they would continue to be a client but also, likely more importantly, to tell others about us and why others should call us to help them along their business journey.

I can remember days I wanted to quit and days when I thought there was no way to climb the mountain. I can tell you now looking back that when you are “in it” you don’t see the little (very little actually) teeny tiny steps you take that over time have a BIG impact. I find our story is one of building the plane as we were flying it. We did not always make the best decisions along our flight path but we were great learners. We learned that that smack hurt and we did not want to feel it again.

Because each business is unique in what they do, how they do it and the people that make it up, there is no manual. You can’t simply turn to page 43 for the answer to your problem. We have to follow our intuition, let our core values be a beacon and follow that moral compass to wherever it takes us. I think businesses are like fingerprints or ears, each is different in their own way.

In 1998 when our company first started we launched a community portal called WelcomeToKelowna.com. We were a decade and a half too early for sure. We were asking businesses to advertise their websites on a community portal that had a business directory, local news, events, classifieds and more and: guess what? They did not even have websites let alone budgets to market them. I remember specifically meeting with Best Western to convince them that building a website for the local hotel was visionary and would have them leading the accommodations industry. Growing up in the hotel/motel industry I knew very well how travelers booked rooms, by calling the 1-800 number and asking for availability. I can’t tell you how many times I was told “this internet thing will pass.”

It pays not to listen to people who tell you that it can’t, or it won’t or it’s too much or it’s too cheap or, or, or… Let your vision and passion be your guide. Trust your intuition. Trust your inner voice.

I was so fortunate that my partners empowered me to be the face of the company, literally and figuratively, right from the start. I was the one to go out in the community and share with others what our company was and how we could help them. As cliche as it is, we grew one client at a time.

Looking back I learned that I had to have confidence, that I had to “perform” no matter what mood I was in or how up or down I was. It was vital to continue on no matter the challenge or obstacle that needed to be overcome. And some days that was just picking up the phone and making yet another sales call.

Although I had internal support I did not have mentorship until much later in our company. I think as women we tend to hold our cards a bit close to our chest because we feel there is a different set of rules. If we are bossy we can be considered a know-it-all bitch, if we have to leave to pick up the kids we are thought of by some as selfish or not dedicated to the cause/company. I have always been careful not to share or expose much, but I can surely tell you that the last three years have been the most difficult of our 25 in operation.

We have grown our company to a group of companies operating under a single umbrella. Our bull in the pasture, if I may, is Csek Creative, our branding and marketing agency. It is the company that has given us the ability to venture into other businesses over the years.

Our NowCities platforms have certainly struggled recently. I attribute this to a number of factors. The horrible landslide of lost trust in the media during COVID has been devastating. Partly due to the requirement or expectation to report on what the so called experts communicated out to the general public with no questions asked. This was a no win situation for everyone. The recent Bill C18 by our government insisting Meta pay Canadian news outlets for their content has been devastating. As a local news outlet, we willingly post the news on those channels. To have reporters on scene during the fires in 2023 and not be able to share that critical information to two of the biggest channels, Facebook and Instagram, is ridiculous. People were in danger and information needed to be disseminated as quickly and accurately as possible.

Ironically, we were also declined any government funding that was given out to legacy media as we did not qualify as news, yet we were deemed “news” when it was convenient to block us from Meta. Fascinating.

This brings me to Alexa Anderson, our Operations Manager. She has been with me through the good, the bad and the ugly. She sees the toll it takes to make hard decisions that impact the lives of those that work/worked with us, for clients we cannot continue to service for different reasons and for organizations in the community that we can’t always support as much as we want to.

A highlight for me has been coaching and mentoring Alexa. I love to teach her how to look at finances, how to review a project and find a path forward. How to serve in volunteer roles and have courage to step up and jump into something even if you don’t know exactly how you are going to do it. I love to help guide her to things and information that often took me decades before I was able to learn them.

Alexa and I have a really neat working relationship, but it has not always been easy. There are at least one or two times that I did not see a way forward together, but here we are. Today we still share the same desires and goals. They are to run a successful group of companies, make decisions that are in the best interest of the company, the clients, and the staff (in no particular order) and to continue to be relevant in the sectors we have chosen to operate in.

The world is changing fast. It takes courage to stand up and speak up especially when the words are not welcome. There are global, national, provincial and municipal issues that are far beyond our ability to impact but boy do we all need to stand up and be confident in speaking our truths. It is ok if that truth is different from someone else’s. One is not right and one is not wrong, they are just different and that is ok. Let us bask in the glory of our differences, let us celebrate them and even allow them to be considered in that they may form a new opinion of a previously held thought. Let us learn from each other and leave the judgment behind.

From a business perspective let us get back to meetings, let us be curious about why we are doing what we are doing in business, let us help each other along the way. Let us share knowledge and ideas and for goodness sake let us go back to connecting and introducing people to each other that may very well benefit greatly from the introduction.

In closing, Alexa and I are very dedicated to the local business community and the community at large. If you have an issue or a challenge you can’t seem to solve or you need help with getting the word out we have a ton of aces up our sleeves. We have lots of no cost or low cost things we can recommend you do. All you need to do is simply reach out to us. We are approachable, have a number of experiences we can draw upon and happy to share in all that we know.

Wishing you continued success and to all the ladies out there may you kick some ass today, tomorrow and for years to come.