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Her Story

Reflective, Resilient and Grateful

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Her Story

Nikki is a native of St. Petersburg Florida who at a young age did not shy away from leadership roles.

While attending Perkins Elementary School she was active in school programs and became the captain of safety patrols. She is an only child who always received great encouragement and support from her parents and extended family, garnering her entrepreneurial spirit from her maternal grandmother who was a“flip-lady.”
For those unfamiliar with the term, there are “flip-ladies” in many traditional black neighborhoods. Often a matriarchal figure in the community, she sells snacks, candy and “flips” or frozen drinks to the community.

The relationships built and lessons learned while working in this home-based side hustle helped to fuel her passion to serve. It also led to a business and entrepreneurial mind-set that was the foundation for her plight to make community wealth building and ownership a priority.

During her four years at Gibbs High School, Nikki was involved in several organizations including Future Business Leaders of America, Black Cultural Organization, African American Voter Registration and Education Committee as a student advocate, and Student Government each year, eventually becoming the President of the Student Body in her senior year.  

As a senior Nikki applied to the INROADS national internship program focused on developing and training minority youth in business and industry and preparing them for corporate and community leadership. Her acceptance and commitment to this program started the development of a strong business brand that sent her career into an early positive direction.

After graduating in 1991 she attended Florida Agricultural and Mechanical Engineering University (FAMU) and begin pursuing a public relations degree. Again, not shying away from leadership roles she ran for student senate and was elected to serve a two-year term. However, after two years of her grandmother's chronic illness, she returned to St. Petersburg to help and transferred to the University of South Florida. At USF, Nikki actively participated in the Project Thrust program before graduating with a Bachelor of Arts in Communication.  

During that time, she continued to maintain a strong internship relationship with her INROADS company Barnett Bank and was offered an opportunity to enter the management training program after graduation. Leveraging four years of bank training as an intern that included being a teller to working in the corporate finance department, Nikki decided to pursue a different opportunity with AmSouth Bank (also an INROADS company) and started her official work career as a Community Development Officer. The position gave her responsibility for working on the bank's Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) requirements in the local region.

Nikki continued to develop her leadership skills by serving on several local boards and applying to Leadership St. Petersburg a year too early because of age requirements, only to return the next year and be accepted as one of the youngest to participate in the program at that time. Nikki was promoted to Assistant Vice President of the Florida Peninsula region before leaving the bank after many years.

Nikki graduated from Leadership St. Petersburg, became a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated, and married her husband Esper all around the same time. Although she had been a community mother and Godmother for many years, she became a proud bonus mom of three children and later gave birth to a daughter. Unfortunately, Nikki and her husband suffered the loss of a son and since then God has blessed them with three grandchildren.    

Using all of the knowledge she gained working in banking, Nikki planned to become an entrepreneur shortly after giving birth. She wanted the flexibility to grow a business and spend time with her new baby, purchasing an income tax franchise and eventually opening a United States Postal Contract station. Although she was a business owner for almost ten years she continued to work outside of the business and be of service to the community.

Nikki has worked with Congressman Jim Davis, Partnership for a Healthier Pinellas, Congresswoman Kathy Castor, the Pinellas County Urban League, and most recently wrapped up eight years of service with the City of St. Petersburg in an appointed position by Mayor Rick Kriseman as the Director of Urban Affairs. She recently graduated for the second time from the University of South Florida with a Master of Liberal Arts degree, special concentration in Entrepreneurship.

Nikki is a Certified Entrepreneurial Mindset Practitioner and is excited to pursue her new business venture as the Senior Coach of the Network of Gifted Consultants - The NGC Team.