Nicole Smart

Cues and Views

DEI champion, educator, cultural strategist and mentor Nicole Smart, in brief.

Nicole Smart

Home: Brooklyn, NY.  Age: Generation X.  Birthplace: Twin island of Trinidad & Tobago. Profession: Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging, (DEIB) and cultural strategist; leadership coach and meaning maker.  Organization: Smart EDI Solutions, LLC.  Title: Founder & Principal Consultant.  Pronouns: She/Her/Hers.  Alma mater: New York Univesrity (B.S., Leadership and Management Studies); Cornell University (Master of Industrial and Labor Relations).

Current project(s): Principal People Officer and EDI Specialist, Paradise Square Production Services, Inc.  Chief Diversity Advisor, BossMakeHer.  Global Chief Diversity Advisor and Leadership Coach, Women of Power and Transformation.  Recent recognition: Appointed a new member of the Women of Power and Transformation Global Leadership team.  Recent professional development: Harvard Business Review Love & Work Leader Series with Marcus Buckingham.  Latest accomplishment: Inspiring my students at NYU's SPS Preston Robert Tisch Institute for Global Sport.  Latest contribution to others:  Speaking engagements to help prepare the next generation of leaders at the recent Princeton University BT – Boost Conference.  What’s been your big (or biggest) leap? Launching into entrepreneurship to build a consulting practice and reaching the three year mark.  Hobbies: Traveling the world to learn more about myself, celebrate different cultures and expand on my perspective of the world in countries such as China, UAE, Switzerland, France and Italy.  Recent travel or adventure: St. Maarten and St. Barts.  Last book read: The Four Agreements, by Don Miguel Ruiz.  Recently viewed and recommended: A Most Beautiful Thing.  A documentary film by Mary Mazzio based on the memoir by Arshay Cooper that tells the story of the first African American high school rowing team from the the West Side of Chicago.  Recent unique acquisition: Acquiring the role of HR and EDI specialist for one of the latest Broadway musicals and having my name included in my first Playbill.

Personality profile: Social butterfly; thrives intentionally and purposefully.  What one word would your closest friend use to describe you? Dope.  Moral compass: The Bible, for sure.  How do you define a perfect friendship? Respect, communication and trust.  How do you define an ideal business relationship? Communication, collaboration, intent and integrity.  What is your greatest joy? Love.  What is your greatest fear? Not living to my full potential and life’s purpose. What is your guilty pleasure? Reality TV.  What natural talent have you neglected? Amplifying my voice.  What occupation, other than your own, do you most admire? Representation of powerful women in politics, e.g., Kamala Harris and Ketanji Brown Jackson. What drives you? A tribe of collaborative, respectful and supportive humans.  What is at the top of your bucket list? A two-week excursion to Ghana.  How do you relieve stress? Driving with an old school hip hop playlist and connecting with great people.  What ingredients are essential to your perfect vacation? Good company, food and the beach.  What is your go-to workout? Walking.  What's your morning ritual? Smiling in bed and thanking God for waking me up to see another day.

What three emojis best describe you? 👠🏈🏝.

What book have you repeatedly read? Jesus Calling – Enjoying Peace in His Presence, by Sarah Young.  What movie have you repeatedly watched? Titanic.  What’s featured prominently on your home or office wall? A sketch I purchased in Paris of the Arc de Triomphe and a replica of Michelangelo's The Creation of Adam, purchased at the Sistine Chapel.  Who has had the greatest influence on your life? My mom and dad.  What is the best advice you received growing up? Put yourself first.  What is the best advice you received in your career? Don’t get stuck on what and McKinsey call the “broken rung”.  What is your favorite app? LinkedIn.  Also, my go-to source of news and information.  What is your go-to source of creative inspiration? Instagram, especially pages focused on positivity and affirmation.  What personal circumstance has had the greatest influence on your life? Assimilation into American culture.  

What are your guiding principles? Authenticity, courage, gratitude, humility, perseverance and respect.  What are your top five pillars in the world of work? Leadership, impact, presence, empowerment and inspiration.

What is your big idea?

Building a consulting practice that is guided through people first strategies and data-driven platforms to advance DEIB, enhance workplace culture and build high performing teams.

What change are you working on to effect in your profession or field? Frameworks to build a diverse, equitable, inclusive and welcoming culture that goes beyond the workplace for organizations to build a competitive advantage.  What change would you like to see in the world? Equality.  What message do you want to send out into the world? Inspire and embrace change!  What widely held belief do you reject? Gender stereotypes and expectation of roles for women.  What mega-trend most excites you? The radical reinvention of the world of work. What mega-trend most concerns you? Resistance to reinvention of the world of work.

What title would you choose for the movie about your life? Persevere to Find the Glory in Your Soul.  What actor would you choose to play you in the movie about your life? Kerry Washington.  Who would you like to spend an evening with, in heaven? My grandmother.  As a kid, what did you first want to be when you grew up? A teacher.  What object would you first save from your burning home? My cell phone.  What advice would you give your younger self? Get ready for the journey!  What day in your life would you like to re-live? My college graduation as a non traditional student and the first in my family to earn a college degree.  What period in your life would you do differently, if you could? My forties.

Personal mission: To inspire others through my life journey.  Personal motto: Everything is possible.  Favorite quote: "I never lose, I either win or learn" (Nelson Mandela).

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