On the latest episode of TheEdge, our host, Leslie Vickrey, ClearEdge Marketing CEO and Founder, is joined by Nicole McMackin, CEO of Irvine Technology Corporation. The pair discuss what it was like for Nicole to step into leading a company at 29, the importance of facing your fears in both your personal and professional lives, and the successful certificate program Nicole created to mentor and develop more women into CIOs.  

Nicole began her career working for her family’s education business while dreaming of a career in law. However, when faced with the decision of marrying her best friend or pursuing her law degree, she followed her heart. After this defining moment in her life, Nicole ultimately found herself climbing the ladder of the staffing industry at Abigail Abbott Staffing. At 29, she began a new chapter at Irvine Technology Corporation as a Managing Partner leading the company through unprecedented growth, increasing 1.3 million to 60 million in revenue within her first three years at the organization.  

Despite her success, stepping into this role did not come without challenges for Nicole…Soon after joining the company, she led her team through an economic downturn, which resulted in significant profit loss.  Throughout that time, Nicole quickly learned the importance of client diversification. On top of that, though – like so many other women in the C-suite and technology industry – she experienced being the only woman in the room, which came with its own set of insecurities. Nicole demonstrates this with a story of when she nailed a presentation to a room of men and was congratulated with, “we didn’t expect that!” Her response? Let’s just say it’s one we can all learn from.

Moving on to how Nicole conquers those insecurities, she shares that she does not lead with fear as a guiding principle. Reflecting on her experience ignited a need to help other women conquer their insecurities through tools to succeed in the C-suite. Using her boardroom experience as a catalyst, Nicole spearheaded a CIO Certification Program for women. Fast forward to six weeks after the inaugural class graduation, and the results were speaking for themselves; Nicole began to hear stories of women moving up in their companies and being hired as CIOs in new organizations. The success didn’t stop there, as they began partnering with universities to deliver the program and are now in a virtual classroom following the pandemic. 

As the conversation continues, Nicole and Leslie explore imposter syndrome, the importance of knowing your value and pushing through fear, and how Nicole approaches wellness for her team as a balancing act. We hope you enjoy this episode.