A Moment With...

A Moment With Nicole N. Mandeville

What is “A Moment With”? The Women’s Business Development Center is pleased to continue with our series, “A Moment With,” where we periodically highlight some of our greatest supporters and partners, sharing their career experiences and advice. This month, we are highlighting Jamie Rhee, Chicago Department of Aviation (CDA) Commissioner.

Meet Director of Contract Compliance, Nicole N. Mandeville: As Director of Contract Compliance, Nicole helps drive change and boosts advocacy and corporate responsibility though the certification of Minority -Owned (MBE), Women-Owned (WBE), Veteran-Owned (VBE), Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned (SDVBE) and Person with Disability-Owned (PDBE). The Office of Cook County is responsible for setting MBE, WBE and DBE goals on Cook County and Cook County Health contracts and monitoring those goals and contracts to ensure that MBE, WBE and DBE vendors are being paid for the work they do.

A Lesson

We asked: What advice would you share with other leaders and what lessons have you learned?

Director Nicole N. Mandeville shared: The path to becoming a good leader is not linear, there are challenges and bumps along the way. However, there are steps we can take to improve and become better leaders. Here is my advice:

  • Ask for help and accept the help
  • Surround yourself with advisors
  • Surround yourself with diversity
  • Surround yourself with people who will challenge your way of thinking
  • Look for potential in hiring
  • Do not be afraid to hire anyone who appears “smarter” than you
  • Do not be intimidated by others
  • Have a diverse perspective

A Turning Point

We asked: Please discuss your experience as a Black leader and share any challenges you have faced

Director Nicole N. Mandeville shared: As a Black leader, it’s been difficult to have a seat at the table. I often struggled with being heard, or with people respecting my ideas. I have always felt the need to be 1000 times better than the “next person” in order to be accepted or acknowledged.  However, there will always be people who don’t accept me or give me the respect I deserve.  Unfortunately, when you are passionate and firm about advocating for change, some people are taken aback and look upon you as aggressive. They don’t listen to your words or ideas, and your opinions become mute to their ears.

A Guidepost

We asked: What inspires you to do your work?

Director Nicole N. Mandeville : I am passionate about the work I do and find joy in helping people – it’s truly part of my DNA. Much of my professional career has been people- driven, and in doing so, I have been able to continue learning and growing. I’m grateful I have the opportunity to share with others the knowledge and lessons I have learned along the way.

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