Nikki, aside from being a 24-year-old blonde beauty living in the Bay Area, is a young entrepreneur and visionary who started Partnered for Success, a mentoring program for youth who are orphaned or in foster care. She is now a business analyst for the American Board of Podiatric Surgery, where she helps the IT team “translate business to geek.”
Nikki lost her parents when she was merely fourteen. Her mother passed away first from heart disease, and describes it as “completely sudden.” It was a different, yet similarly horrible, experience watching her father die slowly of cancer through the coming months. To me, it seems like a miracle that she got through it, even if she was not as brilliant as she is. Unfortunately, there are too many people out there in similar situations and she reminds herself to stay positive because “a lot of people in worse situations.”
When her parents had both died, she and her older sister moved to her aunt and uncle’s house. At the time, they had just been given the new responsibility of two teenage girls, two elderly grandparents (who had previously been looked after by Nikki’s parents) and not to mention their first child on the way. Imaginably, life wasn’t easy. Nikki says that although she “has come to appreciate her aunt and uncle more than ever before,” she often drew strength from the foundation that her parents left her.
In high school she often found herself turning to the party scene to take her mind off the pain. By the time she was leaving for college she had “finally rebuilt her army of support…” which was really difficult to leave behind. However, once she did and settled in at school she realized all the new exciting and fulfilling experiences that she was having. She said she realized the “potential that life could have.” It was in her sophomore year that she began Partnered for Success.
Throughout the years she’s found that “the pain is never really going to go away, but it does become easier to handle.” She says she can “now look back on memories and smile,” where if she had thought about it a few years ago she would be in tears. Her favorite memory being when she used to play soccer, and she her mom would run up and down the field and yelling, “Turn on the wheels, Nikki!”
Her parents are still with her today, driving her moral compass. They reflect “how [she] treats people on a daily basis.” She thinks about them regularly and doesn’t necessarily think, “Would they be proud of me?” but, “Would they be proud of what I’m doing with my life?”
Although she seems perfect, she says it took her many years to figure this out and many reminders to “put on the wheels.”