Nicole McDermott (she/her) is a leader, educator, facilitator, and certified coach (ACC) with 20+ years of experience. She values courage over comfort and has experience integrating Dr. Brené Brown’s work into the award-winning Northern Virginia independent school she led for eighteen years (2005 – 2023).
A longtime member of Kiwanis International, Nicole has worked with and managed volunteer teams delivering leadership content to teenagers and is directly responsible for the logistics of educational conferences serving thousands of high school students. She is a volunteer in her community and with philanthropic causes that are important to her.
Nicole’s professional areas of expertise include maintaining integrity while leading through change, building community within organizations and trust within teams, working through conflict between stakeholders, shifting climate and culture, coaching and staying curious, mentoring young adults, and educating the whole child. Nicole has facilitated workshops and educational sessions in person and virtually for 50-100 attendees and spoken to groups up to 1000 people.
Nicole holds a B.S. in elementary education (with a minor in English/journalism) from Salve Regina University in Newport, Rhode Island, and a M.Ed. in education leadership as well as a certificate in positive leadership from George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia. Nicole was trained by Dr. Brené Brown as a Certified Dare to Lead™ Facilitator; Nicole has held this credential with pride since 2019 and facilitates curriculum based on Brené Brown’s work, research, and best-selling book. Nicole successfully completed an accredited leadership / organizational well-being coach training program through the Center for the Advancement of Well-being at George Mason University and is an International Coaching Federation (ICF) Professional at the ACC level. Additionally, Nicole is a Gallup-Certified Strengths Coach, trained to help individuals and teams grow from and set goals around their CliftonStrengths assessments, as well as a Certified Practitioner of the EQ-i 2.0 + EQ 360 emotional intelligence assessment tools.
Nicole meditates and practices mindfulness every day, considers herself an emergent runner, is a regular blood donor (O+), and believes we can do hard things. (At the school she led for almost two decades, the first “we can do hard things” wooden sign was hung in 2015, and the students were empowered by this, often mentioning it!) In addition to volunteering through Kiwanis, Nicole spends her free time reading, relaxing, walking, writing, baking, traveling, seeing musicals, staying connected with people she loves, and supporting causes that are important to her. For a week each summer for 11 years, Nicole volunteered at Camp Sunshine, a retreat on Sebago Lake in Maine for critically-ill children and their families. She loves all things related to New England, the color pink, kayaking, being near the water, and leadership, and she’s moved by Oprah Winfrey, Brené Brown, Marianne Williamson, Anna Quindlen, Kelly Corrigan, and Taylor Swift.
At the top of Nicole’s core values list are quality, community, connection, efficiency, choosing courage over comfort, diversity and inclusion, always giving her best, making a difference, caring for our earth, and continuing to grow into a better version of herself.  She has always felt that teaching is much more of a vocation rather than an occupation.
Through NMM Quality Matters (DBA Quality Matters), she brings these values and her Certified Dare to Lead™ Facilitator, coaching, and training skills to leaders, schools, non-profits, and other organizations or groups seeking to build courage, increase empathy, develop stronger teams, and more. Nicole’s approach is grounded in mutual trust, integrity, the importance of continuous growth and improvement, and the idea that we can hold two – or more! – truths at once. Together with her clients, she co-creates brave spaces to facilitate professional and personal growth with 1-on-1, group, in-person, and virtual options. While Nicole’s home base is Northern Virginia (right outside of Washington, D.C.), she’s able to travel to you and is conveniently located near two major airports. She can meet you online as well.  This is important work; Nicole is eager to share it and will work with you to make it possible with your budget. Reach out today!
In addition to her Quality Matters work, Nicole is a partner with Educational Directions, a nationally-recognized consulting firm for independent schools. With her school leadership experience, values, and skills, she meets schools where they are, assisting and empowering them to reach their next level and helping to connect them with outstanding leaders. Educational Directions (EduDx) provides consulting for executive and senior administrative searches, strategic alignment, governance, organizational development, and leadership executive coaching.
With gratitude, respect, and awareness, Nicole acknowledges that she lives on – and when she works from home is on – the land of the Piscataway people. She is committed to showing up as a learner and listener in the diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging space and to standing against racism, hate, and injustice.