Nicole Yeldell Butts is an accomplished Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI)
executive, strategist, coach, facilitator and highly sought-after public speaker
who specializes in transforming organizations into inclusive and equitable
communities. During her 20-year career, she has built multiple inaugural DEI
offices and coached, trained, and counseled senior leadership on diversity, equity,
and inclusion matters.
Nicole has served as Chief Diversity Officer at California State Polytechnic
University, Pomona; Director of Equal Employment & Affirmative Action with University of California, Riverside; and Manager of Equal Employment & Affirmative Action at Cedars-
Sinai Medical Center. Earlier in her career, she spent over 10-years as a consultant working with a
variety of industries and clients across the country, first as the owner of her own consulting firm, then with Berkshire Associates. With Berkshire Associates she spearheaded the firm’s training and
development functions and was responsible for training and advising clients in salary equity, talent acquisition, retention, and performance management. As the founder of Ororo Enterprises, she developed and lead an international medical exchange program and designed and implemented full scale diversity & inclusion initiatives for numerous government agencies. She started her professional career as an elementary school teacher.
Nicole is the founder of NLYB Solutions, a DEI consulting firm helping executives, executive teams, and organizations courageously and effectively navigate personal, professional and organizational DEI journeys. She is also the creator of SHIFT, a proven transformational five-step framework for creating effective, measurable and sustainable DEI cultural change and organizational outcomes on a systemic level.
A two-time Historical Black College & University (HBCU) graduate, Nicole earned her bachelor’s degree from Howard University and master’s degree from Bowie State University. She is a certified mediator and holds multiple professional certifications, including Senior Certified Human Resources Professional (SHRM-SCP); Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR); Strategic Human Resources Business Partner (SHRBP); and Senior Certified Affirmative Action Professional (CAAP). Nicole is a member of the American Association for Access, Equity and Diversity; the California Diversity Council; and former board member and program chair for the Greater Los Angeles Industry Liaison Group. She is a regular expert presenter at professional organizations and societies including the Society for Human Resource Management, and HR.com.
Philanthropy is at the core of Nicole’s life. She has been a community volunteer with numerous organizations including The Posse Foundation, SHIELDS for Families, and a board member of Holman Community Development Council. Her most rewarding volunteer experience took place in Durbin, South Africa, where she served as a group process facilitator for the United Nations World Conference Against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance. Engaging with non-governmental organizations from around the globe, she helped attendees reflect on complex cultural topics and cross-cultural interactions.
As a facilitator of learning and challenging cultural dialogues, Nicole creates welcoming and brave spaces for people to engage, explore, and grow. “The most fulfilling aspect of my work is helping people expand their thinking and comfort zones,” Nicole said. “By encouraging them to navigate challenging spaces, encounters, and conversations, I positively enhance their personal and professional development.”