Nikola Sekulovic also known as ‘The Nikola’ is a modern-day jack-of-all-trades. To the eye, he is known for being an activist, style icon, photo editor, influencer, and international supermodel. Beyond the great visuals, he is now one of the biggest names in legal marketing.
At the end of his international modeling career, Nikola ventured out into PR and marketing. Today, he is currently working as the Marketing and Business Development Director in a busy Beverly Hills boutique Law Firm.
Nikola’s always been passionate about fighting for human rights, equality, and inclusion. In 2020 Nikola took initiative to create an Equality, diversity, and inclusion committee at the law firm he is working at.
“The biggest reason why so many of the companies don’t have an equality, diversity, and inclusion committee is due to leadership not seeing it as a priority,” says Nikola.
We spoke with Nikola about the importance of an Equality, Diversity, and Inclusion Committee as well as how it is to be an LGBTQ+ person in business.
What is the main goal of the DEI Committee?
The goal of the committee is to improve diversity in the hiring process at practices, support diverse business enterprises, enhance job descriptions and improve development processes. It will also support the firm’s inclusion goals, such as inclusive communication, encouraging employee awareness, creating a culture of trust and conversations around Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI).
What are some of the ways companies could create employee awareness?
Starting the dialog before anything, a lot of companies are diverse but they are lacking inclusion and equality. Creating awareness training is a must, as well as an ongoing education process that helps educate employees. Supporting LGBTQ employees can look different from company to company, but the main goal is making sure employees are uplifted and treated like a valued part of the office community regardless of how they identify.
Is the Legal world generally regarded as an LGBTQ-friendly industry?
I’m fortunate enough to have worked at agencies and law firms that welcome and celebrate my contributions as an LGBTQ+ practitioner – but unfortunately, that isn’t consistent across the industry landscape. I remember coming into the offices of the law firm I work at now, for my interview and seeing their gender-inclusive bathroom signs. It immediately made me feel more comfortable and helped me relax, therefore I was able to communicate and represent myself better. As a visibly gay man, there is always that element of “what if they are not LGBTQ+ friendly” but, luckily this was not the case with my firm.
What challenges, if any, did you face as an LGBTQ professional in the business world?
Sadly, as LGBTQ+ professionals we do not get the same opportunities, not just in the legal world but in every world.
I have always been extremely ambitious and determined, a lot of times I had to create many of my own opportunities. I always believed that my work performance would open more doors than any nepotism, hetero favoritism ever would. Once I adopted the attitude of not letting “them” stop my passion and purpose my life became easier mentally as well as professionally.
What advice would you give young LGBTQ people in business?
Always know your rights! Support your fellow LGBTQ+ peers and help create the best workplace, culture, and community, where every employee feels uplifted and valued by their colleague and company. Center yourself around people that do more than just tolerate you but also celebrate you and your work. Above all, always unequivocally believe in yourself!
You have a huge platform on Social Media, What’s one thing you aspire to do with your platform?
My Instagram has always been super personal, I only endorse, promote, and share things that matter to me! Even if I’m promoting a product it’s always something I 100% stand behind. I never saw myself as an influencer or IG model. I’m not cultivating followers I’m trying to create an online community.
What’s is next for you? Any upcoming projects you’re excited about?
I currently have a couple of ongoing projects, one fun television project is coming along as well a couple of new products are in the works. Creating and developing products is a huge passion of mine, I truly enjoy the process! It gets my creative juices flowing. I cannot wait to share more.
Be sure to check out Nikola’s Instagram @thenikola to see what is coming next for him.
Image courtesy of Nikola Sekulovic, via Instagram