Monday, September 25, 2023

 Tippie's 2023 Alum of the Year

Nicole Johnston

Nicole Johnston (BBA94)
Chief Sales Officer, Food Division

Newell Brands, Atlanta, Ga.

What’s the best business advice you’ve ever received?
99.9% of people try to do the right thing. Assume positive intent. If you are having a challenge with someone, align on what success is, and challenges go away. 

Best place you’ve ever traveled?
Petra, Jordan, hands down. My husband and I went in 2015. You have to walk through a slot canyon where it feels like nothing is around. After about a mile, you make a final turn and it opens up to the stunning treasury, which is breathtaking. 

What do you love doing that you wish you could get paid for?
I love coaching and developing others—especially women!  

Three people you’d invite to a dinner party (alive or dead):
1) P!nk, who would not only be crazy fun at a dinner party, but I really respect her as a strong, talented woman who always delivers messages of support, inclusion, and lifting women up.

2) Ada Lovelace, whose brilliant mind was able to construct the first computer program over a hundred years before the machine was even invented.

3) The Mirabal sisters. Known as The Butterflies/Las Mariposas, they led the revolution against the brutal Dominican dictatorship of Rafael Trujillo. He ordered their assassination in 1960, which led to his own demise. Being married to a Dominican and seeing the outcome of their fight, I would absolutely love to understand more about their journey. 

What do you miss about Iowa City? 
So many things! I was in Iowa City in April on one of those perfect spring days where it would’ve been a huge challenge to decide whether to go to class or to get a blanket and just sit on the Pentacrest and enjoy the sun. Those simple pleasures are amazing memories.


Tippie's 2023 Young Alum of the Year

Illustration of Cheryl Davenport

Cheryl Davenport (BBA05)
Vice President of Consumer Creation Strategy

Nike, Portland, Ore.

What do you love that most people hate?
Resolving interpersonal conflict.

What podcast do you like?
The Ezra Klein Show

What’s the best business advice you’ve ever received?
In business and in life: you don’t have to be perfect to be fabulous.

Best place you’ve ever traveled?
After 32 countries and 42 states, the best is always yet to come!

What do you love doing that you wish you could get paid for?
Drinking exceptional cappuccinos.

Three people you’d invite to a dinner party (alive or dead):
Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Serena Williams, and Michelle Obama.

If you could have one talent instantaneously, what would it be?
To sing well. I’m truly terrible.

What’s the best kudo you’ve ever received?
“You helped me dream bigger for myself.”

What do you miss about Iowa City?
The radiating, city-wide energy of a Hawkeye football game day!

What is a time you have failed and tried again?
Learning power weightlifting in CrossFit... still learning.

Best way to spend a day off?
I’m a working mom. There are no days off!


Read more about why they were chosen for the award.

These interviews appeared in the Fall 2023 issue of Tippie Magazine.