Nicole Hanks Leblond, RSC, 2004, and MBA, originally from North Greenbush, New York, describes her experience in the business program with a focus on social responsibility at Russell Sage College as engaging, educational and fulfilling. “The Sage community became my family and the classroom became a platform where we happily challenged each other to partake in passionate and through-provoking dialogue and projects that prompted self-growth and social responsibility.”
Nicole is currently the Deputy Director of Communications for Health for the Office of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo since early 2016. Previously, she worked as an Independent Strategic Communication Consultant who provides marketing, branding, public relations and public affairs assistance to individual clients on an as-needed basis.
Nicole’s path to her current position started with a B.S. in Business and Organizational Management (2004), followed by an MBA from the College of Saint Rose (2006). Her business internship while at Sage was as an intern in the New York State Senate. Since then, she has made it a point to choose marketing, public relations and public affairs positions that emphasize strategic communications. Nicole began her career working as a Senior Account Executive for Eric Mower and Associates, a national advertising agency. From there, she moved into the world of politics, serving as Deputy Press Secretary for New York State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli. Subsequently, she was able to venture into the field of education where Nicole served as Manager of Public Affairs and Special Projects for National Heritage Academies, a national charter school company serving seventy-one schools in nine states. From that position, Nicole moved on to become the Director of Brighter Choice Foundation, a non-profit agency partnering with nine charter schools in the City of Albany. Her work also included strategic communication consulting services to clients in various industries.
Nicole’s education at Russell Sage College provided her with the skills and networks she needed in order to become a competitive thought-leader in today’s workforce, as well as give her the knowledge and confidence necessary to become a passionate change-agent for her family and community.
In five to ten years, Nicole envisions herself operating both a real-estate/property management business and “doggy daycare”. Both are passions of hers that she has had since her time as an undergraduate student. Ms. Leblond is confident that the business foundation and work ethic she has developed at Sage will continue to guide and benefit her as she continues to pursue future career goals.
Advice Nicole Hanks Leblond has to give our undergraduate and graduate students:
- Network. Network. Network. Every job I’ve ever landed was because of people I knew, not because of job postings I responded to.
- If you’re not happy with your career, make a change. Knowing what you don’t like to do is just as important as knowing what you like to do.