Nicole Martin: A Profile of Leadership and Vision

Nicole Martin is a dynamic and empowering consultative leader, renowned internationally as a speaker and author. She is the Chief Empowerment Officer and Founder of HRBoost® LLC, a Shared Services Consulting firm based in the north suburbs of Chicago. With her expertise in helping organizations meet their strategic objectives, Nicole has made a significant impact in the HR industry. We at Nicole Martin, are proud to introduce ABC as one of the 20 Elite CEOs in 2024.

In 2010, Nicole left her corporate career to establish HRBoost, LLC. Her vision was to support growing businesses by helping them become the next Best & Brightest® employer. By 2012, it became clear that HRBoost needed a team to handle the increasing demand, and the company experienced 50% growth year over year. By 2013, with a solid team in place, Nicole took on the role of Chief Empowerment Officer, realizing that HRBoost had found its niche in HR outsourcing.

“The future of HR lies in its ability to become a strategic partner, aligning people with business goals to drive success and foster inclusive cultures.”

Nicole’s journey into leadership was not meticulously planned. Her love for HR and the transformative impact of effective people strategies on a company motivated her. Nicole noticed a disconnect between HR and the broader business objectives, which inspired her to start her own HR consulting firm. She aimed to bridge this gap by demonstrating how HR could be a strategic partner rather than just a department that checked boxes. Nicole’s extensive experience in talent management and her drive to collaborate and understand people were crucial in building trust with clients and making a meaningful impact.

Nicole defines her leadership style as empowering and collaborative. She believes in creating a culture of trust and ownership within her team. By setting goals together and giving her team the autonomy to achieve them in their own way, Nicole fosters an environment where creativity and engagement thrive. She supports and guides her team, encouraging them to take risks and try new things. This approach has resulted in a highly motivated and successful team, driving the success of HRBoost.

One of the significant challenges Nicole faced as a CEO was navigating the complexities of scaling her business. When potential acquirers and investors approached her, she initially felt overwhelmed. To overcome this, Nicole immersed herself in financial modeling, projecting growth trajectories, and identifying potential roadblocks. This diligent preparation equipped her with the confidence to secure capital independently and articulate her vision to potential partners. Through this experience, Nicole learned the value of investing in oneself, which enabled her to make informed decisions that propelled HRBoost’s growth beyond expectations.

Nicole Martin fosters innovation at HRBoost by empowering her team to take risks and try new things. She encourages collaboration across departments and invests in the learning and development of her team members. Celebrating failures as learning opportunities and rewarding innovative ideas creates an environment where everyone feels valued and inspired to contribute their best. This approach helps HRBoost stay ahead in a competitive market.

“Innovation thrives where people feel valued, heard, and encouraged to take risks. A culture of trust is the foundation of true creativity.”

Scaling a business can be all-consuming, and maintaining a healthy work-life balance amidst the demands of being a CEO is an ongoing challenge for Nicole. A pivotal moment in her journey was participating in the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses program in 2014. This experience taught her the critical distinction between working on her business rather than in her business. Since then, Nicole has prioritized her well-being to avoid burnout and actively seeks opportunities for personal and professional development. This balance allows her to remain effective and resilient in her demanding role. Nicole prioritizes diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) by embedding these principles into the DNA of HRBoost. This commitment has created a workplace where everyone feels valued, respected, and empowered to contribute their unique talents. The emphasis on DEI has not only enriched the company culture but also fueled innovation and strengthened HRBoost’s competitive advantage.

Nicole sees the future of HR undergoing a significant transformation. The focus is shifting from administrative tasks and compliance to strategically aligning people with business goals, fostering inclusive cultures, and leveraging technology for efficiency and innovation. Nicole envisions HR consulting firms like HRBoost becoming even more essential. They will be at the forefront of shaping the future of work, helping organizations build resilient, adaptable, and inclusive workplaces that thrive in the digital age. HRBoost will continue to be a trusted partner, guiding clients towards a future where people truly are their most valuable asset.

Open communication and collaboration are cornerstones of Nicole’s leadership style. She believes that when team members feel heard, valued, and empowered to share their ideas, it unlocks their full potential and drives innovation. By fostering this environment, HRBoost has created a high-performing team that is not only productive but also deeply engaged and motivated. This approach is key to their success in the ever-evolving world of HR consulting.

Looking ahead, Nicole is most energized by the potential for transformative partnerships and collaborations that will elevate HR to new heights. She envisions HRBoost continuing to innovate and expand its influence, driving significant advancements in how HR functions within organizations. These initiatives will not only enhance HRBoost’s services but also contribute to the broader industry, ensuring that HR remains a critical component of business success in the future. Nicole Martin’s journey and leadership style highlight the importance of empowerment, trust, and strategic thinking in achieving success. Her commitment to transforming HR into a strategic partner for businesses continues to drive HRBoost’s growth and impact in the industry.

“Empowerment isn’t just about giving people tools; it’s about instilling trust and ownership so they can create their own path to success.”