Position: Operations consultant, McDonald's Restaurants
Career to date… Nicholson's career with McDonald's began in 1995, as a part-timer earning pocket money while studying for her A-levels. She progressed over the intervening years through hourly paid positions, joining the company as a salaried employee in 1999 in the position of trainee business manager.
By the age of 22, she was a restaurant manager at the Runcorn site and running a million-pound business with responsibility for 60 employees. Over four years and several promotions, she won many company employee awards before last year being promoted to operations consultant for the North-west of England.
She is now responsible for seven restaurants in the region.
Why is she a winner? Throughout her career with the company, Nicholson has continually exceeded goals, whether in reducing staff turnover (as in 2003, when she was restaurant manager at the St Helen's outlet and got this down by 50%) or in increasing profitability. Her approach, developed not only through training within the company but also through studying managerial techniques in her spare time, is straightforward - a total focus on the customer and her staff.
More than 50 employees who have worked and trained with her have gone on to gain promotion, and she has always been involved in recruitment and selection, targeting local schools and colleges, where she holds industry days and gives careers talks. She also regularly gives presentations at graduate careers fairs and recruitment exhibitions.
Under her leadership, the North-west restaurants have achieved an annual turnover of £9m.