We had the good fortune of connecting with Nichol Whiteman and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Nichol, can you talk to us a bit about the social impact of your business?
The Los Angeles Dodgers Foundation envisions a city where everyone regardless of ZIP code has the opportunity to thrive. We are tackling the most pressing problems facing Los Angeles with a mission to improve education, health care, homelessness, and social justice for all Angelenos. Through a social justice lens, we run and fund proven programs that level the playing field and invest in solutions driven by the communities we serve.
By leveraging the Dodgers brand and unique strengths, we’re able to provide access to opportunities for growth and basic necessities for LA’s most marginalized populations and vulnerable neighborhoods.
Over 8.8 million youth impacted since 2014
Over $40 million invested since 1995
Over 4.5 million meals distributed since the beginning of the pandemic
It’s truly bigger than baseball!
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
Serving as the CEO of the Los Angeles Dodgers Foundation (LADF) has been one of the greatest honors of my life. When I think about my journey leading up to this professional moment, every opportunity and challenge prepared me for this role. From a career in investment banking to a role with a national scholarship organization, the skills, relationships, and lessons learned over the years allow me to fully thrive each day. I’m most proud of my ability to identify a challenge, create a plan, execute the plan, and assess the results. People are often overwhelmed when they see a huge problem. While I recognize the gravity of the problems that Los Angeles faces, I am inspired to be part of an immediate solution. I dissect each piece of the challenge and align it with an appropriate resource.
Although I would not use the word “easy” to describe my story, the road to CEO definitely flowed in the sense that I followed my passion. It took a lot of courage to leave corporate, for-profit industries and dedicate my efforts to communities that need support the most. In terms of the work required to produce award-winning programming, a collective approach is best. Through an exceptional team and dedicated partners, LADF continues to show up for Angelenos, especially during some of the darkest times.
There are many lessons that I have learned along the way but the ones that I want to share most are rooted in understanding who you are. Since I entered the workforce, I have always been honest with myself about who I am and what I hope to become. I want to have an impact. I want to make a difference. I want people’s lives to be better because of my efforts. Because I stick to these fundamental beliefs, it makes my work a bit easier. If something falls outside of what I consider being beneficial to my spirit, then it’s not for me. My story and brand are rooted in self-love, perseverance, and family. When I approach my work, I think of the type of support that I would want my own family to have. What do I want for my children? Every mother, regardless of what title she holds, deserves the tools to help her children become the best that they can be.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I love this question, especially since so many phenomenal women in my village live outside of California. I am so thankful that I get to see them often and I am always excited to show them a good time. I would categorize our adventure with the goal of nourishing three parts: the spirit, our roots, and the body. To nourish the spirit, we would spend a lot of time outside. The Hollywood Bowl is one of my favorite places to take visitors. Being surrounded by nature with the backdrop of thrilling live music is always a lift to your soul! I also choose activities that are near water. Whether we take a short cruise on a boat in Marina Del Rey or a walk on the beach in Manhattan Beach, water always soothes and inspires. To nourish our roots, I would definitely include a trip to Leimert Park to shop with small businesses who celebrate our culture. And last but not least, we’re definitely going to nourish the body through good food! From casual fine dining like Post and Beam and Pips to food truck favorites like Grilled Fraiche, we’re going to experience so much of what LA has to offer.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I dedicate my shoutout to Rachel Robinson, wife of Jackie Robinson and Founder of the Jackie Robinson Foundation (JRF). I am honored to call her a mentor and friend. As a scholar who directly benefited during my Spelman college years and as a former executive for JRF, I have experienced her selflessness for more than two decades. Through her work, I have learned the true meaning of having an impact in the lives of others. Having just turned 100 years old this past July, Rachel represents the power of determination and reflects how much we can achieve if we place community above self.
I also dedicate this shoutout to parents across the nation who recently sent their kids to college, especially Black mothers and fathers whose children are far away from home. My husband Tim and I dropped our son, TJ off to college where he has become a proud Man of Morehouse. While most parents face anxiety with the thought of their children being away, Black parents have a heightened fear because we are not literally by our children’s side to help them navigate the “Two Americas” that we often face. I wish these parents peace and serenity as we allow our children to blossom into the exceptional young adults that we have prepared them to become.