Throughout her professional career, managers consistently told Nicole Jacks one of her best strengths is her ability to find solutions to problems regardless of the circumstances. She was able to lean on those skills when she went into labor. Turned away from the hospital because she wasn’t far enough along for admission, she was told to expect to come back in 24-36 hours. Four hours later, she delivered her son herself, in the car, as she was rushed back to the hospital. She says in the midst of chaos, she focused on the goal – a safe delivery, and a clear mind and calmness took over.
This is one of the many reasons we’re thrilled to welcome Nicole (Nikki) Jacks to the Youth With Faces Board of Directors. As an Executive Director of Marketing at J.P.Morgan, she brings a wealth of marketing and strategy experience to our organization. And beyond professional experience, Nikki shares an understanding of the societal biases placed on justice-involved youth and a passion to help them succeed.
Originally from Jamaica, Nikki went to high school and college in the Northeast. Once at college, she realized the grace that was given to her young adult peers by campus police was not afforded to the black and Latino children from her high school. That never sat well with her, and when she had her son that awareness and passion grew even stronger.
“When I became a mom, I felt a new sense of ownership and protection for all kids. And because my son is black and Latino, I want to do what I can to embrace and address the issues we are faced with in our community,” Nikki said. “I’m excited to work with an organization that is intentional about seeing these children for who they are and not defining them by a mistake they made.”
Nikki was introduced to Youth With Faces through BoardLead, an organization that partners with top companies, professional services firms and foundations to recruit, place, train and support talented professionals for high-impact board service in the social good sector.
“At BoardLead, we work to facilitate strong matches between talented, diverse professionals and high-impact, community-based nonprofits to strengthen board service across the nonprofit sector,” said Erin Connell, Senior Program Manager at Cause Strategy Partners and BoardLead. “We find that creating these connections creates community change as we support nonprofits in fulfilling their missions and drive talent to opportunity. What drives our matches is passion for the mission – and Nicole shared with BoardLead such a deep, sincere passion for Youth With Faces’ mission and work.”
“When I learned about Youth With Faces, I thought it was a great opportunity to work on a cause that was stirring in the back of my mind. I love the fact that the organization is giving second chances to a population that is sometimes not even deemed worthy of a first chance.”
Over the past 12 years, Nikki has worked in primarily marketing and sales strategy roles at J.P.Morgan, and prior to her time at the firm she spent six years with General Electric in Product and Account Management. Nikki earned her MBA from Temple University and a Bachelor of Science in Finance from The University of Connecticut. She has a heart for service and has focused her volunteer efforts on serving children, women who have been trafficked and the homeless.
Nikki looks forward to getting to know the students and meeting them where they are so she can assist in supporting their needs – whether it’s introducing them to a positive role model, linking them to mental health resources or creating new opportunities for success. As an executive director and diversity and inclusion co-lead at a major financial institution, she hopes to apply her experiences to creating opportunity for our students.
“Justice-involved youth are often forgotten or written off. I want people to see them as children who made a mistake, and I want them to receive the same grace that was given to the young people I went to college with, as they are just as deserving of a second chance.”