Originally from Clarkston, Michigan, Nicole is a self-made woman who began her career in the U.S. Navy in 1991. She served in Sigonella, Sicily supporting numerous NATO operations and later on the Norfolk-based USS ARCTIC (AOE-8), one of the first series of combatant ships that deployed women.
Nicole was honorably discharged from the Navy in 1997 and made Norfolk her permanent home. She worked as a contractor to the Department of Defense supporting the U.S. Navy working with Battle Force Tactical Training & Combat Systems Operational Sequencing Systems.
She later transitioned to the commercial sector and focused on consulting, architecting, and building Information Technology systems for Virginia corporations, schools, cities and medium-sized businesses. Her success resulted in numerous accolades. She was honored as one of Inside Business Magazine’s “Top Women in Business” in 2009. She was also named a National Finalist in Women in Technology (WIT) Leadership Awards in 2017.
During her time as a Solution Architect for 13 years, Nicole volunteered and took on the projects with Cities and Schools across Virginia. She worked closely with schools such as Chesapeake Public Schools, Salem Public Schools, Roanoke Public Schools, Fairfax Public Schools, and many more schools and Cities. This gained her insight on school budgets, lifecycle maintenance and what teacher and administrations focused on as tools across the Commonwealth. When she later met with Norfolk Public Schools (approximately 5-6 years ago), she learned that even though the staff was doing the best they could, they had no leadership and no budgeted money for support of any kind. This really hit Nicole hard, especially in comparison contrast to her other journey with Public Schools across the Commonwealth and she then pledged to do something about it in Norfolk Public Schools.
In 2015, Nicole along with key stakeholders throughout the city created the grass-roots effort “Better Together Norfolk” to encourage Norfolk City Council to use an “at large” or “hybrid approach” to Norfolk Public Schools Board elections. At this time, she aligned and worked with key stakeholders from Norfolk GAINS, the Federation of Teachers, the VEA, and Norfolk City Councilmembers.
In 2016, she co-founded Norfolk Forward, an umbrella non-profit organization that collaborates with various community and regional partners to form smart communities. Her inspiration is based on her experiences in technology and civic duties coupled with her desire to move Hampton Roads forward through community collaboration and civic engagement.
Nicole is actively involved in local and state government as well as numerous non-profit organizations. In 2016, she was appointed by Norfolk Mayor Kenneth Alexander to serve on Norfolk’s Naval Base Centennial Commission. Gov
Governor Terry McAuliffe appointed her as a Board Trustee of the Virginia Veterans Services Foundation, which supports 781,000 veterans in the Commonwealth. She was also unanimously appointed to fill a temporary vacancy on the Norfolk City Council to represent Ward 1. She is a proud graduate of Emerge Virginia, which trains Democratic women to run for office.
Nicole currently lives in Ocean View, Norfolk with her adopted dogs Whitman & Frida.