Nikki Bethel is a dynamic, results-driven senior leader with over 20 years of experience in strategic planning, diversity, equity & inclusion, talent management, leadership development, and public speaking. She is currently the President and Chief Executive Officer of the Emma L. Bowen Foundation (EBF). In this role, Nikki is responsible for leading the development and implementation of the overall EBF mission to prepare students of color for the workforce and increase and sustain diversity in the media industry. She is the primary spokesperson for the Foundation and works with the Board of Directors, staff and stakeholders to develop the future strategic direction of EBF and oversee the execution and communication of that strategy across the organization, with corporate partners and the broader industry. Nikki also guides and oversees the financial sustainability of the Foundation, maintains the EBF brand identity, and successfully implements operational improvements to support the long-term success of the Foundation’s mission.
Prior to EBF, Nikki was the Senior Vice President of Talent Management for Home Box Office, Inc. (HBO), and was responsible for overseeing the areas of talent acquisition and organizational effectiveness, which encompasses executive leadership and coaching, management training and professional development, employee communications and initiatives. She also oversaw integrated business solutions, including culture, talent assessment, succession planning and organizational strategy. In addition, Nikki represented HBO at Time Warner and WarnerMedia councils in the learning and development areas. She joined HBO in 2003 as a recruiting associate and was named manager, Human Resources, in 2004, responsible for employee relations for eight internal departments. In 2006, she was promoted to director, Human Resources, adding several internal clients to her responsibilities. She was elevated to vice president and then senior vice president, Organizational Effectiveness, in 2008 and 2013, respectively.
In 2001, Nikki was a consultant at A-List, where she developed, coordinated and managed strategies designed to help college students and professionals find placement and/or transition across industries. Between 1998 and 2001, she worked in the financial sector as an associate, Global Diversity at Morgan Stanley and as an associate, Human Resources at Merrill Lynch, responsible for various strategic initiatives including career development, recruitment and retention. She began her career in 1997 as a teacher at English High School in Boston, where she also managed an after-school tutoring program for elementary grade students through the B.E.L.L. Foundation.
Nikki is a member of the Brooklyn Chapter of The Links, Inc., a member of the Brooklyn Chapter of Jack & Jill of America, Inc., a lifetime member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., and is an honorary member of the Women’s League of Science and Medicine, Inc. She also sits on the board of The Apollo, is a former board member of the Emma L. Bowen Foundation, and is a member of the Executive Leadership Council (ELC).
She holds a BA degree in Government and Politics from the University of Maryland, College Park, an MA in Education from Harvard, and received a Human Resources Management Certificate from the City University of New York (New York City College of Technology). Nikki is happily married to the love of her life, Richard, and they live between Brooklyn and Sag Harbor with their daughter, Sydney.
Michael Barham is a programs and systems specialist with more than ten years of experience in nonprofit and public sector organizations that educate, train and empower young people. He is passionate about equal opportunity and equity, and brings a keen understanding of dynamics affecting the public sector, institutional philanthropy, and nonprofits. Michael was born and raised in New York City, attended Stuyvesant High School, received his Bachelor of Psychology from the University of Michigan and his Master of Public Administration from Baruch’s Marxe School of Public and International Affairs.
Ayia Gospodinova graduated from Vanderbilt University with a Bachelor of Arts in American Studies and Art and brings experience in both the nonprofit and for-profit sectors. She is passionate about the necessity and potential of engaging multiple sectors to solve social challenges. Ayia was raised in New York City and attended the Nightingale-Bamford School.
Crystal Aldape graduated from Yale University with a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science. After college, she returned to Texas where she served as an ASSET*AmeriCorps team leader with United Cerebral Palsy of Texas, which merged with Easter Seals of Central Texas. Following her AmeriCorps terms, Crystal worked for the Texas Senate Research Center as a Research Associate.
Claribel Nunez’s career in the non-profit sector includes administrative work in the development and implementation of employment programs, job readiness workshops, outreach, research, and referrals for the underserved. She also has experience working with local and state government in development and implementation of new programs. Claribel is passionate about sharing information and knowledge to empower others. Claribel is a native New Yorker and is a graduate from State University College at Buffalo with a Bachelor in Business Administration.
Everette Harrison graduated from York College, City University of New York with a Bachelor of Science in Marketing. Everette also graduated high school as the salutatorian. While in school, he has volunteered his time to helping his hometown community of Far Rockaway by participating in beach and community clean ups. Everette dedicates his time to helping his friend with his startup business CT3Designs.
With more than 10 years of entertainment industry experience, Emma Bowen Alumna Niéna Drake is a highly respected Emmy Award-Winning Producer/Writer, Music Curator and Digital & Culture Strategist who has increased revenue and engagement for major brands and media companies. Her television work includes on-camera appearances, hosting and producing for television and digital networks including ABC, NBC, CBS, FOX, OWN, Showtime, Complex Media, REVOLT, HGTV and more. She most recently launched multiple unscripted original digital shows and led the digital production team for Entertainment Tonight at CBS Interactive. Niéna was the first television producer to interview and feature Kanye West and Oscar Winner Common on television in Chicago. She's had the honor of interviewing some of the world's most notable celebrities, entertainers and public figures including President Barack Obama, Michelle Obama and many more. The Chicago Tribune named her "one of the most influential" Chicagoans.