An Entrepreneur by Chance, a Leader by Choice
Every leader has a journey, which describes the places traversed to reach the final destination. These places of challenges, strategies, competition, wins, and losses, all have to be navigated to reach the ultimate place of success. What does it take to be a successful leader? Is it the vision, management, leadership skills, or any innate talent? There are many traits and definitions for a leader, but for an inspiring story like Nicole Martin’s all it takes is the utmost courage.
Energetic and Enthusiastic are the two keywords that best define Nicole. She is a cheerful and positive person, who is like a ray of sunshine and has experienced both sides of a coin right from her initial days. During her school days, she had to work part-time, attend school, manage to achieve good grades, and volunteer. Her hard work soon paid off and she became the Editor of her high school newspaper, and also was the Student Body President in the senior year.
She was raised by a single mother and was taught to be self-sufficient, hardworking, be persistent in her younger days. This has her confidence to follow her dreams and handle a position in the job market right after high school rather than attending a university. She had a rock-solid experience of five years in her field by the time she completed her undergraduate studies while working full-time. At 23, she bagged a role in HR Management and realized that experience is infinite and education is the name of the game. Nicole’s performance was appreciated that she was promoted to be a Director.
“When I completed my graduate degrees, I truly pondered what would replace my studies. After the recession, I helped my former employer slowly scale down and despite pay freezes and downsizing; we were still being recognized as an employer of choice. I learned a great deal about people and culture through those years.”
After working for years, in 2010; Nicole left the corporate world and began her new journey of consultancy. Nicole’s vision was to find a CEO that wanted to be an employer of choice and build the business from scratch. She was able to experience and work in a high growth business premise and was referred to her first Shared Services client. The client aimed to grow, scale and sell and in less than 36 months, the team was able to progress from $10M to $26M and later sold for $58M. After achieving this benchmark, the client acknowledged Nicole’s work ethical approach and performance. “Nicole, I like your business. I would be interested in investing, said the concerned client.
“In 2015, I created my five-year business plan and engaged my investor on my terms. I became my own high growth business with a 50% growth year over year. 2018 was HRBoost’s biggest year to date and we are on track to do it again as we close out 2019! With 16 Boosters on my team, we have served over nearly 600 businesses in Chicago. We are proud to be a viable option for high growth and transformational businesses seeking HR services.”
About the Company
“I aim to learn, unlearn and relearn. One constant change and surely technology are fast evolving. I learn by doing and I expect my team to do the same. #choosetolearn happens to be a core value at HRBOOST.”
HRBOOST offers HR services on an ala carte, project or retained basis. Essentially, it is the company’s mission to meet the clients, wherever they are on their journey to be an employer of choice. Whether it is a small, growing business or a large, corporate employer, it addresses the client’s specific needs at a price point and service level that is customized for them to maximize their investment. Building a high-performance culture that drives innovation and profitability requires leaders at all levels. HR infrastructure can uphold the Culture Invitation and once it is strategically aligned and reinforced a company can create workforce alignment.
An Unusual CEO (Chief Empowerment Officer)
Nicole considers herself as an accidental entrepreneur and also didn’t refer to herself as a CEO up until 2014. She had freed herself from titles and positions to open her eyes for curiosity, which she held as the helm of her business. She worked with a simple aim of not just building a business brand, but to work with a passion for innovation. She believed in order to succeed, one has to work hard, but most importantly love their work/ services/ solution offerings.
Nicole created her perfect intellectual playground full of challenges and took plenty of risks, but never feared the taste of failure. She believed in leaping faith and truly believed that one day certainly, every dream will become a reality. And these realities are an outcome of not just Nicole, but her motivated and talented team, who are driven by passion. And that is exactly where the title “Chief Empowerment Officer” was born.
“I point much of my gratitude to God, and in recent years, it became evident that I began to share beliefs and tools I learned long ago. I practice faith daily, sometimes moment to moment and with a presence, I choose to serve the greater good, ``Nicole pens a few words on her spiritual belief.
More importantly, Nicole is grateful to all her mentors, who have taken her under their wing and shared insights, uplift her morals, and shaped her to become a successful leader for the next generation.
The Win-Win Moment
Nicole has won many awards and recognitions in her extensive professional journey, but one of her achievements was launching her first book, The Talent Emergency. She delivered a speech at the private CHRO Annual Conference for Berkshire Hathaway companies. She describes this to be a true honor in itself as it was carried in front of a peer group that she admired.
Overcoming Fear and Hurdles
To be an effective entrepreneur, one must not operate under the constraints of fear.
Nicole terms that her business has experienced many highs and lows, but with growth comes challenges. Her initial difficulties included having a strong financial background, a skillful team, and the biggest one was overcoming all the fears. She understood that being a disruptor in the industry, there is going to be the best of both worlds, the big names will give attention and companies will start approaching for acquisition even before one is lucrative. The best advice to oneself during any hiatus is to stick to your roots, stay true towards the vision, and keep the virtues intact. As the tagline reads, "We strive to bring joy and purpose to people through their work," the company truly abides by it.
Tackling Competition Efficiently
In a competitive world, in order to surpass the competition, one has to stand tall amongst all by providing unique and paramount services. Nicole considers having a word with her clients and understands their requirements and keeps in contact with the trends of the industry. By thoroughly researching the market trends, analyzing higher focused education, and tapping into the profiles of employees and job applicants, Nicole can visualize into the future of human resources. “Because of this broad-based outlook, I have experienced rapid growth, and for this reason, I have enjoyed the pace of word of mouth alone," concludes Nicole.
The Upcoming Times
Nicole’s company has a new product launch coming in 2020 called Character-Based Capitalism. The program will feature the training presentations, tools, exercises, and materials to create organizational leadership and establish a character-based culture of excellent performance.
“For myself, I am excited to be sharing my knowledge through my books and speaking engagements. It is my desire to continue writing a book each year that can help provide the tools and inspiration to help other entrepreneurs improve and grow, both professionally and personally.” Nicole looks forward to continue inspiring others to lead with joy and purpose and further advance HRBoost and her entire team.