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Nicola Johnson, E.ON: The importance of purpose

February 8th, 2018

What’s your new job?

I’m the Director of Health, Safety, Security, Environment and Engineering Governance at E.ON. It’s a critical job not least because I have the legal responsibility for assurance to E.ON’s UK Board that safety risks are mitigated and managed across all our assets, for our customers and 10,000 people. One of my goals is to make sure all the areas I lead are bought to the table, often safety takes centre stage but the other parts of my role are just as important pieces of the continuum.


What do you think was key to getting this job?

Being clear on my purpose. Because of that my stakeholders and team members know my brand, my leadership style and how I add value.


What are the benefits for an organisation to putting a woman on Top Flight?

My organisation would say I have greater impact now. I’m far more confident and I’ve honed my messaging by being clearer on what I want my audience to take away.


How did Top Flight help you personally?

Firstly, it clarified my purpose which meant everything else fell into place.


Secondly, I find it easy to go into situations being intellectually prepared but hadn’t given as much thought to emotional preparation. Getting both those things right has positioned me more effectively. For example, as part of the applying for this role, I had to go through a rigorous interview process and assessment centre. Being in the right place, intellectually and emotionally gave me the confidence that I would be successful.


Finally, The Pipeline were really generous in letting my daughter, Rhiannon, join some sessions with me. It was her 21st birthday so it was part of my gift to her and I got to spend the whole day with her without missing any of the learnings. She used one of the techniques she heard back in her job and it led to her running a project for her boss which she was really proud of.


What’s your top tip for women developing their careers?

  1. Invest time in your development and believe in yourself.
  2. Set yourself a three to five-year time horizon of what you want to achieve in your career and plan for the outcome you’re after and it will happen, although perhaps not quite in the way you’d expect.
  3. Acknowledge the importance of sponsors in helping you achieve your career goals. Thank them for having that belief in you when you didn’t have the belief yourself.


If you get the chance to go on Top Flight, embrace it. The people you will hear from and have access to is phenomenal. It will broaden your perspective no end and your potential to learn is limitless.


Thanks again.