Milena Radakovic on being resilient and turning her passion into a thriving career

Admired Women in Business, 2023


A great business leader is said to possess all-encompassing qualities that can be used to help the business achieve desired results. However, because the idea of an ideal leader is absolute, not all of these attributes can be attained. The essential elements that propel a person to achieve the highest heights are traits like decisiveness, resilience, and passion. Melina Radakovic, an inspirational figure and an accomplished female business leader, advises aspiring business leaders the same. She believes that by being resilient, one can easily overcome a trying period or circumstance. She feels that, as a woman and immigrant to Canada from Belarus, she had to be resilient to survive and succeed in the vast Events and Exhibits industry. Milena spent 20 years in sales and marketing before becoming president of Nexus Exhibits in 2013, which gave her the foundational skills to start her adventure with the Nexus team. She takes delight in encouraging women to hold leadership positions, and her enthusiasm permeates every facet of what she does. Milena’s drive and persistence allow her to deliver exceptional customer service and results to all of her clients. When she is not working hard at Nexus or promoting women through her philanthropic efforts, she is cheering on her two daughters on the soccer field.

In her journey, Milena has dealt with difficulties since young age as she was being bullied for being different. She was fluent in the English language when her family immigrated to Canada in 1979; she had a strong Russian accent and wore second-hand clothes. “That time from age 7 to 13, I learned that keeping your head up, studying hard, being strong, and persevering to achieve success, was what my dad called being resilient,” she highlights. Her perseverance has prompted her company’s growth, which has helped the Events and Exhibits industry. She claims that the market has become more creative and is searching for fresh approaches to assist clients in saving time and money. She is convinced that her team has been doing an excellent job of staying on top of innovation as they are constantly looking for partners and team members.

Milena Radakovic on being resilient and turning her passion into a thriving career
Milena Radakovic

Nexus Exhibits

Since 1979, Nexus Exhibits has been the leading provider of innovative enhanced visual displays and services for exhibits, events, and environments. Its customers range from Fortune 500 companies to fast-growing start-ups, as it is known for its innovation and service. It envisions finding the best visual branding solution for its clients’ exhibits, events, and environments to support its brand and marketing strategy. Additionally, it aims to establish long-lasting connections with its clients by providing uncompromised quality and superior value. “To produce captivating displays that deliver results for our clients!” Milena mentions. 

Its full-service, turnkey solutions include award-winning design, custom fabrication, in-house printing, installations, branded apparel and promotional swag, and ‘Nexus Décor’ fixtures and signage that market the corporate brand in retail, office, and corporate environments. Milena and her team help clients communicate their brands by creating, crafting, and taking charge of their exhibits, displays, and signage. “We are now expanding into offering AR (augmented reality) within your event for the “wow” factor,” says Milena.

The company offers a one-stop shop for complete turnkey visual branding solutions for its clients to strategically grow their businesses through bold design and delivering state-of-the-art trade show exhibits, displays, experiential environments, events, and workspace branding services. Moreover, Milena states that Nexus Exhibits is different from its competitors because of its family-focused culture. Its culture has always been one of diversity and inclusion. “We are about half male and half female and have always hired based on merit and not gender or race,” she adds. She and her team try to acknowledge holidays of all cultures and have changed their Christmas party to Annual Holiday party as the company has diversity in cultures on its team. She wanted to ensure that their significant others who attended the party felt safe and included. “True diversity and inclusion come down to strength in employee engagement. We have always felt that at the core, true diversity and inclusion come down to strength in our team members,” she adds. “Thus, to unlock the full potential of a diverse workforce, we ensure that it’s a safe place to propose novel ideas; we ensure that we give actionable feedback and have always implemented feedback from the team.”


Milena highlights that by using EOS (entrepreneurs operating system), the entire department’s processes have been documented, and employees have become a very lean moving machine. The business adopted a comprehensive collection of straightforward ideas and useful tools that assisted her in developing not just her career but also clear and understandable processes and procedures for each department. Additionally, she and her leadership team were able to develop a strong, cohesive functions team thanks to the application of EOS. The company offers a full breakdown of every step in the process, which begins with the design team. Further, she adds, “we take our client’s ideas and turn them into a fully realized design, complete with 3D rendering, dimensions, a color palette, and a list of potential materials.” Then she and her team incorporate any element into the design; glass, mood lighting, or interactive elements. “We’re here to enable our client’s imagination and create something truly different for them.” She also says that once the company completes the design that thrills customers, it begins fulfillment. Later, Milena and her team put the plan into action and turned the approved design into a fully functional display. “Our displays shouldn’t just be about looks; they need to be practical too. That’s why we use specific materials to optimize strength, sturdiness, mobility, and convenience,” she mentions. In addition, to simplify the process, they offer set-up and tear-down services; “this is why we also specialize in installing and dismantling our client’s display,” she continues.

By way of its management division, Milena also hopes to relieve the challenges of its customers. Through this division, Milena’s clients’ displays can be stored, shipments can be organized, customs can be handled, documents can be filled out, and exhibition services can be scheduled. “It does not matter where you need to go; we’ll find the most efficient way to get their display where it needs to be—set up and ready for business,” she adds.

"Our displays shouldn’t just be about looks; they need to be practical too. That’s why we use specific materials to optimize strength, sturdiness, mobility, and convenience."

Supporting Others

One of the most crucial qualities of a successful leader, according to Milena, is empathy. She believes that women are more forthcoming and willing to engage with their team to create a positive culture. She has always been a big believer in leading by example and sharing and being transparent as much as she can with her team. In addition to that, one of the great things that she has created for her team is their Monday morning team meetings, which are now a hybrid of virtual and in-person meetings. “Where we start the meeting with good news, where everyone s sharespersonnel and professional good news. We have now also opened up the floor to any issues that a team member wants to discuss at the meeting, so we can all be there to support each other,” she continues.

Milena expresses her immense pride in her team for how it handled the pandemic situation and persisted despite obstacles. After the first week of the whole national lockdown, the whole team came together to brainstorm how one could help the community and clients during these unprecedented times. Thus, the company quickly pivoted its business to support the community during these unprecedented times. “We have created options to help get businesses back up and running safely,” she mentions. She and her colleagues developed tools like Communication Signage kits to assist businesses in communicating preventative actions within their workplaces. The company carries out routine disinfection of all high-touch areas, such as workstations, production facilities, shipping and receiving spaces, and hygiene stations. To safeguard the community’s safety both inside and outside of its business, it has also raised the visibility of hand sanitizers and disinfectants to all staff. Additionally, the business provides alternative physical distance signs along with training for all personnel on correct hygiene standards for the protection of customers receiving any products from your facility. Moreover, the company also went to its supplier to source various COVID-19 Protective Solutions PPE supplies. This includes hygiene protective barriers, supplies for staff and clients with masks, face shields, gloves, gowns, and protective reception sneeze guards, hand sanitizer stands, water stations, mobile rooms, office partitions, and cubicle add-on hygiene barriers. It also partners with a local company to help promote its new line of hand sanitizers: Burwood Brewery and Sunbee.

To conclude, Milena has demonstrated novel ways to propagate the company’s growth cycle, establishing a notable position in this industry. Her story inspires many aspiring leaders to reach the highest pedestal.

Admired Women in Business, 2023