Seven years ago, Nicole Girouard came to a point in her career where she thought she might have to choose between her corporate ambitions and her desire to seek out higher education.
“At the time when I was looking to pursue my business degree, there weren’t a lot of options available if you wanted to continue on in your career…It was sort of an either/or situation,” lamented Girouard, who was working full-time as the Key Account Manager and Communications Lead for Bayshore HealthCare at the time.
“I was in my roughly fourteenth year in business and corporate environments and had a really great position at a national organization, but (getting my business degree) was always something that I wanted to do. One important thing for me was that I didn’t want to give up the progress I’d made in my career.”
“With Yorkville, I had the opportunity to do both at the same time,” said the 41-year-old Class of 2016 graduate.
“It was a lot of work doing school full time and work full time, but the way that the program was structured, you were able to take one step at a time towards your goal, and actually achieve it.”
While the balancing act between school, work and her home life was often a difficult one for Girouard to juggle, she credited her “incredible” support system of family and friends for helping her achieve her goal.
“When you pursue something like this, when you make the decision to do it, you need to stick with it, you can’t sort of be half-in and half-out,” she said.
“So, for those that are around you and are used to seeing you at every barbecue, or family event and birthday, you kind of have to pull back for a while – and the people that are around you need to understand that and support you focusing on something as important as this.”
For Girouard, attaining her BBA degree was a goal she set in order to formalize the business acumen passed down to her from her entrepreneurially inclined family members.
“My parents have owned businesses, my grandfather owned a business…and during the course of my own career, I’ve also always had something going on the side and have owned many small businesses myself,” she said.
“Yorkville offered a very structured way to go through all of the pieces that I may not have been exposed to throughout my career, so that I could move things forward. And I’m glad I did, because now I have my own successful business.”
Three years after graduating, Girouard is now the proud founder and CEO of GNIC Consulting Services – a coaching and strategy agency that helps executives find the “missing pieces” they need to succeed.
“I’ve applied the learnings I took from Yorkville University, plus my two decades of life and business experience, and my business partner and I leverage that to help get executives unstuck,” she said, crediting Yorkville for helping her achieve her own goal of successful business ownership.
“For me, Yorkville University provided me with the opportunity to access learning in a way that allowed me to continue pursuing my personal and professional goals – and at the end of the day, it was about access to learning.”