28 Days: Moments that Matter with Nicole Holmes
Nicole Holmes is a requirements management professional with AT&T. She’s been with the company for more than 15 years. Nicole is a Chicago native and long-time science enthusiast. And she has the degrees to prove it. She holds a bachelor of science in business administration and project management, and a master of science in business information technology. She’s passionate about mentorship and empowering those around her.
Q: Why did you choose to work at AT&T?
A: I originally went to school for chemical engineering and worked in a materials research lab. At some point I realized that this was not the path for me. I did not want to get dirty, I did not want to work in a factory and I did not want to work around hazardous materials. Still, I loved science and math.
I left my job at the research lab without a plan. Shortly thereafter, my aunt sent me some information about a job opportunity with AT&T (Ameritech at the time). From the time I started working at AT&T, it was instantly clear that there would be many opportunities for me to use my technical aptitude while also developing soft skills. I have been here for 15 years and it has been great!
Q: What are some of the defining cultural moments you’ve experienced during your lifetime?
A: I was recently driving through Sedona, Ariz. on vacation with a few of my girlfriends. We were sightseeing and exploring the local shops when my friend from Trinidad posed a very interesting question. She commented on the prevalence of the Native American goods, crafts and artifacts in the region. Then, she asked where she might go to see what black people have done. I laughed and told her that she could really go anywhere – black culture is everywhere. Take the White House, for example. Our ancestors built it.
Q: Do you think having an African-American perspective helped your career, or assisted in your business success?
A: From my experience, the best business results come from a highly diverse environment. This leads to a variety of perspectives and unique ideas. Early in my career as a chemical engineer, I was 1 of only 3 female engineers across the entire manufacturing company. And I was certainly the only woman of color. Although this situation was not ideal, it helped me be more aware of what I am capable of and what I can accomplish.
Q: What inspires you to work toward making the world a better place?
A: I have been studying metaphysics for over 25 years. And as a scientist, I am very self-determined. I’m aware of my own personal power and acknowledging and amplifying that in others. People learn by your example more than by your words. I draw much of my inspiration from empowering those around me.
Q: What does Black History mean to you?
A: “Black history is American history.” No truer words have been spoken. I travel internationally quite a lot. Recently, I was sitting in a hotel lobby in Mumbai and heard 90s R&B music playing. Coincidentally, there was also a famed Chicago Blues artist coming to town. Blues music spawned almost every other genre of popular music. It hit me at this moment, if our country wasn’t founded under the circumstances it was, we would not have 90% of the musical genres we have today. Black culture has had a profound impact on the world in which we live. I believe we should celebrate and recognize it 365 days a year.
Nicole Holmes, requirements management professional