Memphis, Tennessee , United States
|| 00, 1971
Mar 24, 2008 04:11pm
|Info||At the age of 35, Nikki currently serves as the Vice President of Labor Relations for Northwest Airlink/Pinnacle Airlines, Inc. where she represents the airline before federal and state courts and administrative agencies. She is also responsible for overseeing the management of cases assigned to outside counsel, and manages a staff of attorneys and other professionals in matters concerning employment law and contract administration. In addition, she works daily with the airline’s unions to insure that the interest of the employee and management groups are met in the most effective and efficient manner. |
Nikki is the product of a single-parent household, and was raised by her mother and grandmother (who raised 12 children) in the small town of Gadsden, Alabama. While her mother worked long hours, Nikki spent a large amount of her time with her grandmother who tragically lost her eyesight to diabetes when Nikki was seven years old. Nikki recalls the days of her grandmother sending her to the front porch to retrieve the mail, hoping that her social security check had arrived. Her grandmother needed the check to pay for her insulin and other personal needs. Nikki has stated that if she is elected to Congress, she will remind the members not to forget the children (and their grandparents) that are going to the porch looking for the check. Nikki's mother was in many respects like her father, in that she worked long hours to make sure that the bills were paid. Nikki credits these two women for establishing her need to serve others.
Nikki’s mother and grandmother always required her to stay active in her school and to participate in extra-curricular activities. While in high school, she became President of her senior class, served on the Mayor’s Advisory Counsel, represented her school at Girl’s State, and won a voice of democracy contest in which her award was her first trip to Washington, DC. While in college, at the University of Alabama, she served as an intern on Capitol Hill to U.S. Congressman Tom Bevill (D-AL). In 1993, Nikki received her Bachelor of Arts degree in English Literature with double minors in Political Science and Criminal Justice. Nikki proudly states that while in college, she worked as a waitress and as a hotel front desk clerk, jobs that she believes have molded her into the person that she is today.
Nikki earned her Masters of Science degree from Auburn University in 1994. In addition, she worked as a lobbyist for one of the three major lobbying firms in the State of Alabama. At that time, she was the youngest lobbyist in the state. She assisted in the passage of legislation through both houses of Alabama Government, and was an advocate for various civic and political action groups. She recalls working diligently to have Alabama legislators enact laws that would require every elementary school in the state to have guidance counselors.
She obtained her Juris Doctor from the University of Alabama School of Law in 1998, where she was the first African American to be elected president of the student body. While attending law school, she was a member of Who’s Who Among American Law School Students, a member of the Bench & Bar Legal Honor Society, awarded the Dean Thomas Christopher Award, and the Dean’s Award for Leadership and Service.
After graduating from law school, Nikki began her legal career in Birmingham as a trial lawyer at the law firm of Roberson & Roberson, LLP. There she represented poor and unemployed individuals in cases against large corporations. Her clients were those who had lost their jobs due to illegal workplace practices. On their behalf, Nikki litigated matters involving civil rights, employment discrimination, sexual harassment, personal injury, wrongful death and fraud. She also directed the daily operations of the statewide judicial re-election campaign of the Honorable Justice Ralph Cook, then the senior-most Justice of the Alabama Supreme Court.
Nikki later relocated to Memphis and became an attorney with the law firm of Ford & Harrison LLP, a national practice labor and employment firm. While in private practice, she had offices both in Memphis and in Washington, D.C, and represented management in all aspects of employment litigation. Some of her representative clients include Nike, Inc., Hershey’s Foods, and Darden Restaurant’s Red Lobster and The Olive Garden. Her career has taken her throughout the country to resolve legal disputes. Nikki has also traveled extensively as a moderator of educational seminars, where she has offered training to managers and employees on relevant issues, including anti-harassment and diversity training. At the age of 33, she became the Vice President of Labor Relations for Northwest Airlink/Pinnacle Airlines.
For four years, Nikki proudly served as the Campaign Manager to U.S. Congressman Harold Ford, Jr. where she assisted in the management of his speaking engagements, fund-raising and community events, and performed legal and political research. Along with Congressman Ford, she has met with business leaders, the media, and attended civic and community functions throughout Washington, D.C. and Tennessee’s Ninth Congressional District. She was also a delegate to the 2004 Democratic National Convention in Boston, Massachusetts.
Nikki is licensed and admitted to practice in the District of Columbia, Tennessee, and Alabama. She has also been sworn in and admitted to practice before the United States Supreme Court, being sworn in by a woman that she has admired since an early age, the Honorable Justice Sandra Day O’Connor. Nikki is a member of the American Bar Association, the Federal and National Bar Associations, along with the Tennessee and Memphis Bar Associations.