YWiB SFU girls will know, but for those of you haven’t met her, Nicole Braam is everything you would want in a president. She’s ambitious, an action-maker, genuine, and so encouraging of her peers. She first heard of YWiB in 2011, and in typical Nicole fashion, she jumped in as the SFU Events Coordinator. This is one of Nicole's distinguishing features: her desire not only to participate, but to contribute in a leadership role. After a year of organizing SFU's events, she took command as SFU's President.
Now, Nicole has found herself stepping up once more to lead YWiB Vancouver...
What has the biggest difference been between the university and Vancouver chapters been?
SFU was a very structured environment which formed a really solid foundation, and members knew what to expect. YWiB Vancouver is not constrained under another authority (university), which allows for more flexibility. You can really make anything happen. It’s just a matter of voicing your idea and putting it into action.
Have you ever had a "whoopsy" moment at YWiB?
Throughout the entire first few months as SFU's President, I was calling our Member Relation's girl Kath-reen. Finally, she approached me and said: "Nicole, I should probably let you know by now that my name is not Kath-reen, it's pronounced Kathe-rine." The whole team burst out laughing, because they all knew, yet no one knew how to tell me!
What made you decide to take over as President for YWiB?
It was during my presidency at the SFU Chapter when Paulina asked me to step up into the YWiB President position. I was quite surprised, because I had my eye on Chair for the Beyond Pink conference. I was quickly convinced that this position would be a better opportunity and fit for me. That was last fall, and we have since been working closely together on ensuring a smooth transition.
What do you want to accomplish or change?
I’d really like to bring some of what I learned with the SFU Chapter to YWiB Vancouver through a 1-2 year plan that outlines the events, programs, marketing, and the membership goals. My hope is that some structure will allow us create a more consistent presence, although it’s important to me though that we leave room for flexibility and the organic nature that built YWiB.
Another thing I want to focus on is YWiB’s growth as an organization. We’ve been eyeing Toronto for our first Eastern Canadian chapter.
What kind of jobs have you had in the past?
I’ve worked as a recruitment assistant for a local IT recruitment agency, a project coordinator for a business consultant, and done a few gigs working with Fisheries and Oceans Canada. I’m now continuing my passion for food and customer service as the Sales and Events Specialist for Louis Gervais Fine Foods and Catering.
Is there anyone in particular that you look up to or who inspires you?
Um, I’d have to think about that! There are certainly a few individuals that have made a great impact on my life. Maureen McKinnon, one of my co-op employers has been a great mentor to me; I learned way more outside of my job responsibilities from her than most other positions I’ve held. Mostly, I think I tend to be inspired by actions. Like if I see someone giving their all to achieve a goal, or doing something selfless, etc, that inspires me.
Okay, here’s a deep question for you…What is the meaning or the purpose of life?
It’s about providing as many positive experiences as possible and experiencing as much of life as possible. Do what you need to put yourself ahead, but do it without causing harm to others, and where there is grief, do what you can to lessen it. You should leave things in a better state than you found them in.
This is why I love YWiB. We don’t just focus on getting that promotion, we focus on community and helping people become better, stronger versions of themselves. It’s a life philosophy about being positive, helpful, and a more engaged citizen.
What song is playing most on your iPod right now?
Inner Ninja by Classified. It’s such an upbeat, feel good song!
Do you have a favourite quote?
“It’s not what you’re country can do for you, but what you can do for your country.” – John F. Kennedy
...Based on her last few answers, you can tell Nicole truly believes in the power of every individual. If there’s one quality you know will make someone a good leader, it’s that she'll empower her group.
Come meet Nic tomorrow at Lost + Found Café tomorrow at the #ywibday!