Nicole Coakley is committed to guiding young people to success

MassLive recently asked readers to identify people they consider Black leaders in Massachusetts who are committed to making a difference in politics, education, business, the arts or another area of ​​interest.

Profiles of these leaders will be published leading up to the Juneteenth holiday on June 19. These are people who our readers have identified as inspiring and who may be doing good deeds for their community. They are recognized for their achievements, leadership and commitment to creating change.

Nicole Coakley

Nicole Coakley

Age: 43

Community: Jumping field

Her story: Nicole Coakley is a leader and activist in the Springfield area who focuses on education and youth issues but has a broad area of ​​interest and influence.

Coakley was born in Springfield but raised in Charleston, South Carolina, where she attended Garrett Academy of Technology and earned her cosmetology license and a scholarship to a South Carolina state university through the National Honor Society.

While completing her law degree in 1999, Coakley began working as a teaching assistant at Morris Professional Child Care Services in Springfield. Despite graduating, she decided to stay with the center and eventually worked her way up to program director, which she said was one of the most meaningful positions she has held in her more than 20 years of experience in early childhood education.

She has also served as a lead organizer for several community and youth initiatives, such as Unity in the Community, which builds relationships between youth and law enforcement, and My Voice, My Story, My Future, a teen summit on gun violence held earlier this year. year.

“I am a strong advocate for children and work closely with school and city officials to help implement change and improve the lives of our youth in the community,” she said. “I like to spend time with my family, but I have an open arm for children at risk. I am committed to moving children in the right direction to become successful young men and women in society.”

Coakley said her commitment to community service began a few years ago when she began working as an administrator for the Springfield Police Department’s Counter Criminal Continuum (C3) Policing program in Mason Square, a community policing initiative that aims to work together with the community.

“From that moment on, I never looked back,” she says. “My passion for public service was to become a resource connector to help everyone, no matter where they were in life.”

She has also worked at Springfield College as assistant director of the Center for Service and Leadership and in 2023 ran for Springfield City Council. She is now chair of the Hampden County Commission on the Status of Women and Girls and chief clinician and program supervisor at the Center for Human Development.

Coakley has spoken about pay equity for women, especially Black women, and access to affordable child care for women and low-income families. She is a member of numerous philanthropic and leadership organizations, including the National Society of Leadership and Success, Chicopee Women of the Moose, Neighbor 2 Neighbor, and Western Massachusetts Peace and Justice Coalition. She holds leadership positions or sits on the board of directors of many more, including Easterseals Massachusetts, The Performance Project, Pioneer Valley Row Club, Libertas Academy Charter School, Gun Violence Elimination Alliance, Digital Boombox Networks, Veritas Prep High School Advisory Board , Morris Open Pantry and local chapters of the American Red Cross and YMCA.

Coakley is currently working on her doctorate in business administration and writing her dissertation on women of color in leadership and the effects of work-life balance.

“My motto is ‘Lifted and pushed forward,’” she said.

In her words: “Be the change you want to see! Believe in yourself, because no one will ever motivate you like you can motivate yourself. The road to success won’t be easy, so never be afraid to ask for help.”

We are always open to more inspiring people. If you would like to suggest someone else who should be recognized, please fill this in this shape.