National Capital Chapter

Meet Nicole: Dog Mom, Home Chef, TV and Movie Lover, Passionate about Uplifting Others

Nicole Golvala loves watching comedies on Netflix with her sister. One of her favorites is Mindy Kaling’s Never Have I Ever. Since graduating college, this New Jersey native has been working at Stratacomm on a variety of campaigns where every day she helps her clients find solutions to their problems. When she’s not working, Nicole speaks to students, and spends time with her boyfriend and her dog Ned. Nicole loves to cook and has been working on “Marie Kondo-ing” her apartment during quarantine. Learn more about her advice to recent graduates, favorite professional mantra and the best spots to eat in the area.

Q: Tell me a little bit about yourself.

I’m originally from New Jersey but I’ve been in DC for a while now.  I moved to DC for college at American, but I had previously been to DC for middle school leadership conferences, Young Leaders of America, and things like that. I’m from New Jersey and I wasn’t really too interested in New York, but I wanted a city and liked DC. I actually interned at different places and through one of my contacts from a previous internship at Powell Tate, I got connected with Stratacomm. I went through the interview process and have been working at Stratacomm since September 2015, so it’s been quite a while.

Q: What’s your favorite thing to do in DC?

Oh, that’s a good question. I still like walking around and seeing the monuments. It’s still fascinating to walk and be like, “Oh wow, this is the city that I live in and that’s really cool.” I love going out to eat. I like cooking. I think that DC has some pretty good restaurants and they’re only getting better.

Q: What’s your favorite place to eat in DC?

I really like Zentenya, the Mediterranean restaurant in Metro Center. I actually had my college graduation dinner there because I love it so much. I really like all of Jose Andrés’s restaurants – I like China Chicano, Jaleo is also so good and I go there a lot.

Q: Why did you join PRSA?

I actually used to work with Kristin Gregory. I was setting professional goals for myself and I wanted to get involved with a professional organization. Because my firm is very heavily involved in the transportation and infrastructure industries, I figured I could go in the direction of Young Professionals in Transportation or Women in Transportation, or maybe straight communications/PR professional organizations. Kristin was the PRSA NCC membership chair, so I just started going to some happy hours and I decided that it would be a good fit. Plus, I’ve always enjoyed working with Kristin, so I decided why not do the membership committee.

Q: Alright, let’s switch gears a little bit and talk about your proudest professional achievement.

It’s hard to pick one but I’m very proud of the strides that I’ve made over a pretty short, five-year career. I am the day-to-day lead on campaigns for some of our largest clients at Stratacomm. It’s been interesting to take on all of that responsibility in such a short time. I think that kind of responsibility is unique to working at a small agency. So, I guess not one thing in particular, but I’m pretty proud of everything that I’ve been able to get under my belt over the last five years.

Q: And what’s the best piece of career advice you’ve ever received?

So, at a previous internship, they said something that was very interesting and not necessarily career advice but just people advice. They said that, “If you’re working at a good place, and you’re surrounded by good people, someone should always have 10 or 15 minutes to talk to you about something. Whether it’s to answer a question or to get to know you a little bit better. If you look around and the people around you don’t have that time and it’s also getting to the point where you don’t have time to offer to someone else, it’s a problem.” With the right group of people, someone should always have 10 or 15 minutes to brainstorm or hash out a problem or think of a solution. I don’t think 10 or 15 minutes is that much and I think it benefits the team as a whole. PR gets really busy, obviously, but I just try to keep this advice in mind. I’ve had a lot of people help me throughout these five years. I like to help people out and I like to get some support every now and again too.

Q: Is there anything you would recommend to the new graduates who are maybe having a hard time trying to find a job or what they could do in the meantime?

Keep your network really large, cast a wide net. I know that’s such an annoying thing to say because when graduating from college, you feel like you don’t know anyone and it’s true, you don’t. I felt the same exact way, but you can think about some contacts and draw on them. Continue to reach out, doing something like a Zoom call is always awesome. Something that I also used to do is reach out to my college network. I think that people can do that via Zoom right now too, even if you’re based in DC, and you didn’t graduate from a DC school. So, you know, if you’re on LinkedIn, go to your university network and see where some of those people work. If you’re interested in the job that they have, just reach out to them for an informational interview or a conversation and ask them what they like about their job and what they don’t like about their job. I think it helps people find a better fit, rather than just taking any job because I know that’s easy to do after college.

Q: That’s great. Going back to your free time. You said you like to cook. Can you tell us more about your hobbies, what do you do during your free time?

I do love to cook. I have a little dog named Ned, an 11-pound Mini Dachshund. So he is a small, little sausage dog and I spend a lot of time with him. My boyfriend and I try to take him places for long walks and just do random things like that. Sometimes it means getting out of the city.

Q: That’s awesome. And what are you passionate about outside of communications?

I know it’s weird to say but I’m passionate about professional development. I am passionate about helping people achieve their goals. I feel like that’s kind of a little bit like what I do with my work – our clients have problems and I like to help them find solutions. I do this for things like the PRSA NCC Membership Committee or I try to volunteer, if I can. I talked to some kids at American University and tried to make myself available for that and I’m hoping to visit a former professor’s class soon.

Q: Which professor’s class?

Professor Scott Talan. He’s the best. Right when you’re trying to find your career, he nudges you in that direction. I really appreciated that fire senior year, when you’re kind of like: this is all over, this is awesome but nope, you have to find a job. Not in an annoying way, but he always tried to remind us that school is not “it.” It’s great to finish your assignments but he tells you to put yourself out there and do a little something for yourself, so I really appreciated that.

Q: Can you recommend a movie, a show, or a book that you’re currently excited about?

I just finished Never Have I Ever on Netflix. Mindy Kaling wrote it. I am Indian, my father is Indian, so it’s a very fun story for me to watch. I think that Mindy Kaling does a really good job of writing from that mindset and the main actress is so funny. That show has been making me laugh so hard over the past couple of weeks. I’ve been trying to space it out and not binge it. Me and my sister have actually been doing Netflix Party. I love TV and movies. I just watched The Lovebirds with Issa Rae – it’s also laugh out loud funny. I haven’t laughed that hard in a long time.

Q: What have you been doing to pass time during COVID?

I am really grateful to still have a job and I fill the week with my work from the 9-5 timeframe. I’ve also literally cleaned out every cabinet using the Marie Kondo method to make sure that everything in my apartment sparks joy. Cleaning, walking my dog, making banana bread and all the other typical stuff to just pass the day. And then, just trying to stay in touch with people via Zoom. My family lives in New Jersey, and I’ll typically see them like at least once a month, so we’ve been trying to do more Zoom calls and FaceTimes.

Q: That’s great. If you’re comfortable, could you share a little bit about how you’re dealing with stress during COVID-19?

I do like to work out, not every day or anything crazy, but I think moving my body and sweating, really helps a lot. I talk to a therapist. I think that mental health is extremely important. I actually have an ongoing appointment with a therapist, and I’ve been doing this far before COVID. So that’s something that’s continued during COVID-19 and I think I value it more than ever, but that’s really something that’s always been important to me. It has really helped me during this time, as you can imagine.

Q: People really underestimate how important it is to take care of your mental health and therapy.

Yeah, and just having time to really force yourself to focus on that when everything moves so quickly. And there’s so many news sources, family, friends, everyone’s telling you something different. So it’s nice to just talk.

The views and opinions expressed in this blog are solely those of the interviewed members. “Meet the Members” is a PRSA NCC initiative whose goal is to spotlight our members, their thoughts and ambitions by connecting and introducing them to more members of the PRSA NCC community.

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