Nikki Jones '96 NPR VP of Change Management and Transformation Uses Her Voice to Champion HBCUs
National Public Radio (NPR) executive and alumna Nikki Jones ’96, is a huge advocate for HBCUs and the role they play in the development of tomorrow’s leaders. She and her 14-year-old talk about her love of HBCUs and why they are important. “There is a different level that is brought to you when you go to an HBCU. HBCUs prepare students to raise their voices. It prepares them to be heard,” said Nikki. “Coming out of Coppin and going into the corporate world, I was prepared to have respectful discussions. Coppin showed me what collaboration meant. It prepared me to listen to all sides of the debate,” she continued.
Coppin, shared Nikki, is where she learned how to have grace. “Coppin taught me how to be peaceful. Being around like-minded students and trying to achieve goals that a lot of people didn’t think that I would, growing up in Baltimore, growing up in “the hood.” So, it showed me grace when I spoke to other people outside of school. And that took me to the corporate world. Coppin taught me so much.” Nikki has built her career as a servant-leader with a deep commitment to helping colleagues, particularly people of color and women, confront and embrace challenges.
Nikki’s education and expertness at Coppin primed this executive for her newly expanded role of Vice President of Change Management and Transformation. What does that mean? “The long and short of it, that means that NPR is equitable, diverse and inclusive. Our CEO lives by, “we’re one NPR.” And my goals for my team and me are to carry those aspirations throughout all the divisions. So, we will re-evaluate processes to make sure they are fair and inclusive. Empower the voices within the organization to bring all these diverse people, perspectives and opinions to the table to be consistently one NPR.
Prior to joining NPR, Nikki was the Director of Program Management with SiriusXM Radio. She was also Senior Technical Program Manager with National Geographic Digital Media. She served on the board of the National Association for Multi-Ethnicity in Communications in 2015 and is currently serving on the Technology and Innovation Committee for the Emma Bowen Foundation, an organization that provides internships, for students of color, at various media companies across the nation.
The lighter side of Nikki is an avid gamer. One of her favorite games is Call of Duty. “I’m an avid gamer. I play every chance I get. Tossing a grenade here and there is a stress reliever.” She has been gaming since the age of nine. “And I don’t think that love will ever die,” she admitted.
Nikki is also a self-proclaimed chef. “I’m also a really big cook. I love to cook. I love to eat.” And though her distaste for exercise matches her love of cooking and eating, Nikki does admit to working out every day, but “angrily.”
“I love being an Eagle,” she concluded. “My love for Coppin will be carried to my grave. Being part of the Eagle Nation helped me become the woman that I am today. It gives me hope for the next generation.”