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Spotlight: Your Board of Directors -September 2019: Nikki Palmer-Quade

Each month, SEWI-ATD turns the spotlight on an active member. This month, we are proud to acknowledge the important work of one of our board of directors to help you to get to know her just a little bit better! If you are interested in nominating a member for the spotlight, contact Lovina Akowuah at Lovina.Akowuah@gmail.com  or Meica Hatters at meicahatters@gmail.com

Nikki Palmer-Quade

Title: Coach, Facilitator & Consultant


Palmer Quade Consulting LLC

Get to know your VP of Special Projects 

Tell us a little about yourself.

After a career in HR and general management, I moved to talent & leadership development in both higher ed and corporate settings. I took a leap of faith in July of 2018 to leave the stable life of a college faculty member (yikes!) and started a consulting practice. Launching a business is daunting, but I am thankful to have had so many people in my corner helping me along the way. It has been such a rewarding decision, and as a result, I get to work with awesome organizations in their quest to develop talent. I get to do my three favorite things – coach leaders and professionals, design and deliver leadership workshops, and help organizations design sustainable workforce development architecture. Most of my work has been with smaller firms with (125 – 600 employees), though I have also supported departments within larger firms.

On a personal note, I have been married to local commercial banker extraordinaire, Brad Quade, for over 31 years. Because his last name is typically mispronounced (It’s “KWAH-DEE”), I decided to keep my maiden name. Turns out hyphenating your name is a hassle! To shorten it up, co-workers took to calling me NPQ, and it stuck.

We are now empty-nesters, with two sons and one daughter who now live in Cincinnati, Minneapolis, and Austin. As a result, we are on the road a lot to visit them. When not with them, I am probably happiest when listening to live music, which makes Summerfest the focal point of every summer.

What attracted you to the field of Talent Development?

Two things – a rock star leader and the positive psychology concept of “flow.” I was the beneficiary of someone who believed in me and was passionate about my development; I wanted to pay that positive mojo forward. Secondly, I realized that I was never more “present” than when facilitating learning. That is where I am most energized and “in the zone.”

Why do you enjoy being a member of SEWI-ATD?

I always walked away from professional development events with something useful and actionable. Whether it was a cool new context for thinking about a problem or a technology tip that I could immediately experiment with in the classroom, I was always excited to go back and apply what was shared. Secondly, I found this group to be extremely welcoming, friendly, and inclusive even before I became a member. Having now served on the board as VP of Special Projects, I really see the commitment, dedication and passion for helping this chapter serve its membership well. I’m proud to be part of this association.

How do you define success?

For me, that’s all about relationships. I am a big believer in the Maya Angelou quote, “I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

Who or what inspires you? Why?

My first thought was really just brave people, humble leaders, visionaries, wicked smart individuals, and non-judgmental, authentic souls. Another true response is music. I’m amazed at its power to change our mood and transport us through time. (I’m that lady who can’t help but cry in church when the music is moving.) Music can get people in the zone before tackling a big work challenge, and when necessary, it can soothe the savage beast. I regularly used music when teaching to set the tone and keep people energized.

If Hollywood made a movie of your life; who would you like to see play the lead role as you?

I would like to say Jennifer Lopez (J Lo), but I saw her perform at Summerfest this year, and now realize she is a cyborg. So much for that idea. Maybe Sandra Bullock? I think we share the girl-next-door personality.

What's a question I didn't ask that you wished I had? (and also give your answer)

Where do you see SEWI-ATD in the future?

Given that the greater Milwaukee business community sees workforce development as a key priority, I foresee a day when our chapter will be seen as the go-to expert. Our president will be quoted on the front page of the Business Journal (with some jaw-dropping, germane, and poignant opinions). And our members will not only be making a big impact on their own organizations, but I see them being tapped to develop solutions to broader community talent goals.

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