Nicole Andrews, a 2014 graduate of the Clemson University MBA program, was recognized as one of the Top 100 Under 50 Corporate Executive and Emerging Leaders in America in 2021 by Diversity MBA Media. This honor is awarded to those c-suite executives working to shape the future of corporate America for the better. Andrews earned her spot on the list for creating Diversity Equity and Inclusion (DEI) strategies in her workplaces and empowering others to achieve success in their careers by embracing their differences.
Andrews graduated from Clemson with three degrees, Bachelor of Science in Management (’05), Master of Human Resources Development (’13), and Master of Business Administration (’14).
“I started my career in sales,” explains Andrews, “but I was really drawn to the people side of business. I decided I wanted to make a move in my career and went back to Clemson to advance myself in Business and Human Resources. I completed both my MHRD and MBA while working full-time, learning not only how to innovate in the workplace but how to balance, which helped me in the corporate world and my own entrepreneurial venture.”
After Clemson, Andrews went on to help companies develop employee engagement, career development and diversity and inclusion strategies that empower all employees to succeed by embracing their differences. “I learned that inclusion is about everyone, not just one group,” she explains. “My goal is to create methods for human connections in the workplace, shifting cumbersome performance meetings into meaningful career conversations and giving employees the power to reach their own professional goals by owning their careers.”
Andrews is now the Vice President of Human Resources at McMillan Pazdan Smith Architecture located in Greenville and CEO of her own career coaching, speaking and organizational consulting company Nicole Andrews International, LLC. She trademarked and is known as The Career Disruptor® because she believes disrupting the status quo in your career or organization is no longer optional. She creates custom programs for organizations looking to drive greater inclusion, engagement, retention and development for their teams in new creative ways.
She also created The Career Disruptor® Academy membership in her coaching business, helping women who feel unseen or undervalued in the workplace stand out by challenging the status quo and using their unique strengths to create a greater impact. “I challenge my clients not to fit in but rather unlock their unique differences and disrupt their careers on purpose,” says Andrews. “Career disruption is not a bad thing. It’s really about being a positive agent of change rather than passively hoping for things to improve on their own. The women in my membership are called ‘Stars’ because everyone has a unique light to shine in the workplace and the world. It’s not about me being the ‘Star,’ but everyone coming together to make a lasting impact through their professions. The Clemson MBA program helped me become more confident in myself and my ability to make a true difference through my career. My way to pay it forward is through a business that does the same for individuals and organizations looking to truly innovate in the coming years through the power of amazing people.”
While working in the HR department for an accounting firm, Andrews partnered with CTR Factor Consulting to host a diversity-related summit for employee resource group leaders. After seeing Andrews’ work and drive through the years, CTR Co-founder Anita Gonzalez nominated her for the Top 100 award. “I couldn’t have received this recognition without Anita’s support,” says Andrews. “It is so humbling to receive an honor like the Top 100 Under 50 because so many people out there are doing amazing work. For me, it’s confirmation that I am on the right path and to keep going. Helping ambitious women uncover their purpose, embrace their unique difference and create a solid career strategy to get from where they are to where they want to be, is my passion and calling. I want ambitious women to know they don’t have to go through their career journey alone. It can be everything they have imagined and more.”
“Remember Nicole Andrews’ name because you will hear it again and again,” adds Jamie Patterson, Clemson’s director of Career Services and Student Experience. “She is one of the most driven people I have ever met. We are so proud of her Top 100 win and to have her represent Clemson. Having alumni like her is what makes the Clemson network so powerful. She really is the perfect mentor, and this recognition is only the beginning for her.”
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