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Nicole W. Dean


Nicole W. Dean serves small- to medium-sized companies and individuals as a seasoned consultant and executive coach. As an affiliate of the Center for Intentional Leadership, she had a transformation experience by participating in the Intentional Leadership® Course and Intentional Leadership® Coaching and is committed to supporting leaders in unlocking their full potential and began to pivot her work towards coaching. Subsequently, Nicole earned an MBA from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill Kenan-Flagler School of Business with a concentration in Strategy and Leadership and became certified as a Career and Growth Coach. She is also certified as a Senior professional in HR (SPHR) and as a Change Management Professional (CCMP). She earned her undergraduate degree in Accounting from Clarion University in Pennsylvania and was previously a certified public accountant (CPA). She started her professional career at Deloitte and Touche, LLP in Pittsburgh, PA in the Audit & Assurance Practice.

Nicole is currently principal and founder of Xavier Austin Group, LLC. Nicole’s business experience, which includes 22 years in both executive human resources and finance leadership roles brings a unique background to her coaching work with executives. As a change leader, she was responsible for transformational initiatives impacting company culture ranging from enterprise risk management to diversity and inclusion.

Prior to the company’s sale to a private equity firm, Nicole served Belk Inc. for 10 years as a trusted advisor to the Board of Directors, C-Suite, and functional leaders, building relationships through an internal consulting and coaching style. Nicole was hired as the first woman of color at the officer level in 2006. In one role, she reported directly to the Board of Directors as vice president for enterprise risk management & internal audit. Due to her inclusive leadership style and ability to drive enterprise wide change, she was promoted to chief diversity officer and vice president of corporate HR. For over 3 years she drove sustainable organizational change and risk mitigation in four focus areas related to diversity and inclusion. The company achieved various business objectives tied to D&I regarding it’s customers, employees, suppliers, and community engagement under Nicole’s leadership. Passionate about the culture and business opportunities related to D&I maturity, Nicole has been involved in all of her prior companies’ efforts in this area. Her work started with mentoring, recruiting at Deloitte and Touche LLP, and grew to program sponsorships, diversity strategy design, executive training and development, to executive diversity council leadership. During her tenure at Belk Inc., the company, its CEO, and/or Nicole was recognized by Diversity Inc. Magazine, the Diversity Forum, Uptown Media Group, the Charlotte Chamber, and The Black Retail Action Group.

Also as the lead HR business partner to executives, Nicole improved HR alignment with business priorities and the company culture by leading an overhaul of the company’s performance management program, employee engagement and relations programs, succession planning expansion, executive onboarding, and organizational realignments. She implemented development programs for executives and supported leaders’ development through individual coaching sessions, change management communications at the executive and enterprise wide level, trainings, facilitations, and team interventions.

Nicole is committed to improving the community by investing her time, talent and resources. She serves on the Board of Directors of the McColl Center for Art and Innovation and is an advisory board member for Johnson C. Smith University’s Business School. She serves other non-profit organizations as a motivational speaker, strategy advisor, coach, and volunteer.

Nicole is the proud mom of two teenage sons, Kaleb and Joshua. She enjoys nature and gets out as often as possible for trail walks and hiking.

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