Black History Month Leaders: Nicole Williams

February 1, 2024 in Blog Posts

This February, join us as we celebrate Black History Month by spotlighting the LifeBridge Health leaders who have forged paths of progress and change. Throughout the month, we'll feature profiles of influential figures whose courage and contributions have left an indelible mark on our organization. Today, we are honoring Nicole Williams, SHRM-SCP.

Q1. What did you major in during undergrad and grad school?
I majored in Spanish in undergrad (not sure why I did that, it was so hard and all in Spanish!). I have a Master of Science in Human Resource Development which was much easier and made sense. I am SHRM-SCP certified since 2016 and take education annually to remain certified.

Q2. Where did you work before LifeBridge Health? What leadership position did you have prior? Can you talk more about that?
My Human Resources career started at FedEx Ground as a Recruiter. Every two years I was promoted and relocated twice under the organization with promotions. I left FedEx Ground as a District Human Resources Manager for the Potomac Region. I really liked growing my human resources profession with FedEx as their systems, processes and training were very robust. When I was stationed out in Hagerstown and living in Owings Mills, I wasn’t willing to move to Hagerstown, so I made the decision to look for a new job. The human resources foundation and training from FedEx made it very easy to transition to any industry and I am very proud that I “grew up” there learning about human resources and good ‘ole fashion “grit.”

Q3. Speak a bit about your role now.
Currently, I am the Human Resources Director for Sinai Hospital and Grace Medical Center. My role is to ensure the daily human resources operation function in the hospital is running smoothly without interruption. I also ensure the human resources hospital initiatives are rolled on time and work with the human resources team on team members relations concerns.

Q4. Name your facility. (e.g., do you work for LifeBridge Health or Northwest Hospital, etc.)
Sinai Hospital and Grace Medical Center.

Q5. Elaborate on operating in two worlds daily. Also, tell me more about your experience and trying to climb the ladder of success in healthcare. Did you feel like you had to work harder? Were obstacles thrown your way? Did you feel as if you had to prove yourself?
Great question! I was always told growing up from my parents that I had to work twice as hard and physically show up looking nicer which isn’t new for a lot of black people. I also must maintain my composure much more as a black female in the workplace to not fall into the stereotypes at work. I must watch my tone and mannerisms to not be accused of having an attitude, being difficult or unapproachable. My introduction to healthcare was in South Baltimore so I didn’t really feel I had to climb the ladder at first. I had to learn the industry, so I was not concerned with the next steps of my career. When I transitioned to a bigger healthcare system, I was promoted into a director role. When I moved into the director role, I did not have a full understanding of the culture, the practices or a solid transition. I had to learn on the spot; therefore, I had to worker harder than the normal “hard” that I normally work. I did have to prove myself to be in the role and defend the rationale for the decisions that I made. I questioned a lot of processes which made it seem as if I didn’t know what I was doing or that I was being argumentative when I was just trying to understand so I can adjust how I did the work or make changes. There were/are numerous obstacles to work through and while these obstacles are tough, I continue to rely on my HR foundation and annual education to carry me through with the best decisions for our staff and organization at hand.

PS: While my hair is straight in the above picture, I love wearing my natural hair to work unapologetically!