The Class of 2019

Nicolle Cestero

Senior Vice President for Human Resources and Chief of Staff, American International College; Age 39
Education: Mount Holyoke College (BA), University of West Florida (MA)

Nicolle Cestero

Nicolle Cestero

What did you want to be when you grew up? A teacher. While in college, I worked two jobs, as a nanny and in the offices of a nonprofit organization. Both of these experiences made me realize my skill set was more focused on organization and coordination. Of course, as my career developed, I was able to add to this base skill set in other ways.

What three words best describe you? High emotional intelligence.

What goal do you set for yourself at the start of each day? Stay positive, focus on what’s really important, and work hard. It’s easy to let the day-to-day minutiae bring you down or have the focus shift to the non-essentials. At the end of the day, your outlook on life and your focus can really make a difference. When I’m contemplating an issue or problem, I try to find a silver lining around it while looking for a solution. That helps me and those around me move forward in a more positive manner. Derek Jeter said, “there may be people that have more talent than you, but there’s no excuse for anyone to work harder than you do.” If I start each day staying positive, focusing on what’s important, and working hard, then I feel a sense of accomplishment at day’s end despite the challenges that may have occurred throughout the day.

What fictional character do you relate to most, and why? Wonder Woman, for her intelligence, inner strength, confidence, lack of ego, sense of right and wrong, strong work ethic, and kindness.

What will work colleagues say at your funeral? This question intrigued me, so I asked a few colleagues. Highlights included: “She laughed easily. She had an instinctive sense for right, wrong, and how to treat people. She could talk with anyone. She had a self-assurance far beyond her years. She had all the soft and hard skills — she read people well, developed and grew them, worked well with others, could think big, and could also manage details. She was organized, managed time well, and held people and herself accountable. She was someone you wanted on your team because she would ensure the work got done, but also that everyone had fun doing it. She is a spirit animal. She likes to eat. She is raising her children to be strong and courageous and to treat people properly.”

 

Photography by Leah Martin Photography

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