While her life and career have taken many turns, Nicole Martin is certainly glad that living and working in New Hampshire are both part of her journey.
“I fell in love with the hardworking, gritty, yet fun-loving people of New Hampshire,” said Nicole, 35, who is originally from Maine. “My uncle convinced me to move here, touting the hometown charm and thriving economy. Suffice to say, it did not take me long to see that ‘live free or die’ was more than a motto for this state; it is a way of life [that] I was quick to embrace and enjoy.”
Nicole, who now lives in Manchester, said that the short drive to the lakes, mountains, ocean, and big city of Boston are only some of the reasons she enjoys living in New Hampshire. She also enjoys the mecca of delicious food and active nightlife her city has to offer. Manchester, in her words, has “charm, culture, and the fight to continue to grow.”
“I love working here because I love living here,” she said.
Nicole is a Career Advisor at one the most innovative and fastest growing non-profit institutions of higher education in the world, Southern New Hampshire University (SNHU), which has over 85,000 students spanning across the country, and even some students across the globe.
Her main role at SNHU is to support students in the crucial window of time a few months before and after graduation when they are looking for a job they will enjoy. This includes helping them pinpoint a career path, prepare professional documents, polish their personal brands, and nail job interviews.
While completing her undergraduate work at Granite State College (GSC) in Individualized Studies in Education and Training with a concentration in Criminal Recidivism, Nicole conducted extensive research into the empirical evidence behind using education as a tool to combat poverty, addiction, crime, and social stratification.
“Education truly has the power to transform lives,” she said. “I knew I wanted to work in higher education, and when I was ready to begin job searching, I was immediately drawn to the student-centric, collaborative, and innovative culture at SNHU.”
Nicole was also impressed that SNHU had established a college in Rwanda and had done so much in the community.
“I felt this company matched my values, and would be a place where I could learn and grow professionally,” she said.”
According to Nicole, her favorite part of her job is seeing her students succeed.
“I walk into work every day happy to be there,” she said. “Anyone who has gone to college likely started with a dream of how their life might look like making more money or doing work they feel proud about and enjoy. Anyone who has gone to college also knows the tremendous sacrifice involved, both time, money, and lost sleep and time with loved ones. When I help a student get a job, nothing brings me more joy.”
In fact, every time an SNHU student gets a job, the team rings a bell and celebrates.
“I truly work on an amazing team that is collaborative, hardworking, and relentless in supporting student success through every step of their academic and professional careers,” Nicole said. “Our management team is also very supportive and open, no matter level or role, everyone’s ideas have value.”
Before moving into her role as a Career Advisor at SNHU, Nicole had a rewarding career in tax resolution and accounting. However, she knew that she wanted to work in higher education, so she went back to school and enrolled in a work study position in career services at her college.
Nicole was told that it would be a difficult shift to get into higher education. However, she worked hard to make it happen. Her work study experience coupled with a part-time role she took at the Bursar’s office at Manchester Community College gave Nicole the student-facing experience and higher education career knowledge she needed.
“It was a transition and pay cut working so many part-time roles, but it paid off in the long run,” she said.
For those who might be interested in pursuing a career at SNHU one day, Nicole said that one of the most important things you can do to succeed there is to share its vision.
“Read our mission, vision, and values statements,” she said. “If you share them, begin living them in action within your current roles and as a steward of your community.”
In addition to Nicole’s day-to-day work at SNHU, she’s also involved with several collaborations with other organizations and professional sports teams, as well as the community. She recently had the opportunity to co-present at an SNHU Leads Conference on Career Changing as well as the ability to support students at a Teacher Career Fair for New Hampshire teachers-to-be.
She also works as part of a program called Scoring in Transition, which partners with the Boston Celtics to support Military Veterans in transitioning from their military careers to civilian careers. Her involvement has given her the opportunity to accompany students backstage at games, do yoga at the practice stadium, and teach a resume writing class with players.
Outside of SNHU, Nicole owns a yoga business called Traveling Mat Yoga. She and her business partner, Christopher Watt, developed a model of traveling yoga. Together, they conduct remote, private, and corporate classes, sometimes even on mountaintops!
An avid hiker and lover of the outdoors, Nicole spends as much time as possible “playing outside,” especially in New Hampshire’s beautiful “backyard” better known as the White Mountains.
Nicole’s career and life have taken many turns, but through all of it, she said she has always maintained optimism and strived “to live with purpose and passion.”
“I embrace this wholeheartedly with every action I take, face I meet, and place I visit, looking to squeeze the best I can out of each second of life,” she said.
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Disclaimer: Thoughts and opinions expressed in this article are Nicole Martin’s own.