In her grandma’s legacy, over a decade-long career began in the non-profit and then aging communities to fill a void by building programs, teams, infrastructures and providing resources to educate and combat the ageism impacting old adults. Nicole has helped cultivate change through the belief that there is both power and equity in shared leadership. She believes that powerful leadership is met with equal parts enthusiasm, engagement, and connection to the team and those she is privileged to work with.
As the Executive Director for Empowered Aging, Nicole is responsible for ensuring that the nearly 29,000 long-term care residents, countless seniors, and their families have access to the highest level of care, respect, and above all, can live free of abuse and neglect.
She has created, launched, and leads a variety of programs that support this mission, including Friendly Visiting and Telephone Reassurance to combat isolation, the Elder Justice Lunch and Learn webinar series, to enhance the work of senior service professionals (a program that has reached more than 5,000 individuals in 46 states and four countries), and the Healthcare Career Pathway, an innovative workforce development initiative designed to meet the critical shortage of qualified, certified nursing assistants. And that’s just the beginning.
Since becoming Executive Director, Nicole has grown Empowered Aging’s budget by nearly 600%, lowered the use of anti-psychotics in Contra Costa County by 10%, and increased facility coverage by unearthing the problems and issues that are being overlooked. In addition, she has helped spearhead many new programs, including the Elder Justice Program Solano, Telephone Reassurance, and Friendly Visiting in Solano County, as well as Healthcare Career Pathways and Residents’ Rights in Contra Costa.
In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, Nicole and her team distributed PPE to 15,000 residents in long-term care. They also participated in efforts for residents’ rights by collaborating with local reporters to spread the word on the risks facing the vulnerable older adult population. After the height of the pandemic, Nicole and her team were the first to reenter long-term care facilities and spearheaded the return of the ombudsman back to the field.
A Las Vegas native, Nicole holds a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from the University of Nevada, Reno. On October 21, 2020, Nicole was chosen as Woman of the Year by Congressman Garamendi in recognition of her service and leadership in California’s third congressional district. As an avid speaker on all topics on elder advocacy and elder justice, she is honored to serve and be a part of the Solano Partners Against Violence as a Solano County appointed board member, a Chair and on the Policy Committee for California Elder Justice Coalition, member of the Rotary Club of Walnut Creek Sunrise, a member of the Core Project Team for the Alliance to End Abuse in Contra Costa County, and a member of the Council for Age-Friendly Communities–Alameda County.