Interview by Derek Grosso
Name: Nicole Bergman
Profession: Vice President of Marketing & Communications for the Association of Junior Leagues International (AJLI)
Neighborhood: Northwest Columbus
Education: Bachelor’s degree in Education
Community Involvement: Executive Vice President & Board Member of Junior League of Columbus, Board Member of Columbus Impact Academy, Former Board Member of Columbus Together Digital, Communications Manager of Genoa Historical Society
Quote: ‘You are the greatest project you will ever work on’ – Unknown, ‘Those who want, find a way. Those who don’t, find an excuse’ – Tomme Bergman, ‘There’s no time like the present’ – Georgia Byng
Connect: LinkedIn | Instagram | Facebook
Give us a snapshot of your path
As a proud alumna of the University of Toledo, I embarked on my professional journey as an Art Education graduate, becoming a dedicated K-12 Art Teacher and serving as the Head Coach for Boys & Girls Track for two fulfilling years. However, seeking new horizons, I made the decision to relocate to Columbus and embrace a fresh chapter in digital marketing. I took on the role of Marketing Manager at a concrete repair manufacturing company, but my desire to connect with others and contribute to the community led me to the Junior League of Columbus as a volunteer.
Upon joining as an Active member, I wasted no time in immersing myself as a passionate volunteer, leveraging my skills in marketing and design to enhance and showcase the organization’s mission. In 2019, I ventured into creative freelancing, collaborating with incredible clients on diverse and exciting projects. Then, in March of 2023, an incredible opportunity arose: I was appointed as the Vice President of Marketing and Communications for the Association of Junior Leagues International.
What was once a profound volunteer passion has now evolved into a fulfilling career. Every day, I have the privilege of making a positive impact in the lives of thousands of women across the globe, working diligently to advance the cause and mission of the Association. It’s a tremendous honor to wake up each morning and know that my work is making a difference in empowering women and improving communities worldwide.
What gets you up in the morning? And what gets you through the workweek?
While coffee may play a small role in giving me a morning boost, what truly motivates and inspires me throughout my work days and weeks is finding a sense of purpose and experiencing the satisfaction of accomplishing tasks on my to-do list. Crossing off items not only brings a sense of achievement but also provides a sense of progress, reinforcing my motivation to tackle new challenges.
What advice or mentors have helped guide you along the way?
I consider myself incredibly lucky to be born into a lineage of resilient women. The women who have had the most profound impact on me are undoubtedly my grandmothers and mother. From my grandmothers, I learned the valuable lesson of perseverance: they instilled in me the belief that those who truly desire something will always find a way, while those who lack determination will merely find excuses. Additionally, they instilled in me the understanding that strangers are potential friends awaiting discovery, emphasizing the significance of kindness, as we never truly know the struggles others may be facing. My mother, a wise and compassionate woman, exemplified the importance of giving back, embracing my strengths, and maintaining a positive outlook even in challenging circumstances.
What do you do or where do you go to unwind?
Spending time with my nieces is an absolute delight and my personal happy place. As the designated “fun Aunt Nicool,” I wholeheartedly embrace my role and take it seriously, ensuring that our time together is filled with joy, laughter, and memorable experiences.
What are a few of your favorite local spots in Columbus?
Columbus is thriving with adorable local restaurants and shops. However, I am a sucker for Experience Columbus’s Coffee Trail passport. I have a few favorite coffee places including Kittie’s Cafe, The Roosevelt, and Stauf’s.
When you were a kid, what did you say you wanted to be when you grew up?
During my childhood, my aspiration was to pursue a career in the medical field, specifically as a nurse specializing in newborn care.
What books or podcasts are you reading/listening to right now?
I find joy in exploring audible books and podcasts that feature individuals who have overcome challenges in their lives. These stories not only inspire me, but also instill a sense of unity and hope, reminding me that we are all connected in our human experiences. Perhaps someday, I may have the opportunity to share my own complete narrative. Currently, one of my favorite podcast listens is the Power Lounge, hosted by Amy Vaughan, on the Together in Digital Podcast. Each week, Amy engages in captivating conversations with influential women in the digital realm who possess the power to make a difference. I highly recommend giving it a listen; it’s truly worth exploring.
What does it mean to you to be chosen for the Next Up Columbus award?
Being chosen as this year’s honoree for Next Up Columbus is a tremendous honor. When I first arrived in Columbus back in 2013, I was a stranger to the city, with few acquaintances in the area. I vividly recall the early days of exploring the city and stumbling upon my first copy of City Pulse magazine. As I read the pages, I discovered the remarkable stories of individuals who were highlighted for their outstanding contributions to the community. Now, finding myself acknowledged in a similar light is an incredibly humbling experience.
If someone were to ask you what the “pulse” of Columbus is, what would you tell them?
If someone were to ask about the “pulse” of Columbus, I would describe it as a city pulsating with energy, collaboration, and a strong sense of community. It’s a place where individuals are driven by their passions and are committed to shaping a dynamic and welcoming environment for everyone.
The Next Up Columbus Awards highlight emerging leaders who are connectors and ambassadors in central Ohio and who are making a positive impact on the future of Columbus. The Columbus Young Professionals Club would like to offer special thanks to our 2023 co-presenters, Discover Financial, Ohio Dominican University and Quantum Health for their support of this year’s awards program. Meet the entire “Class of 2023” »