Staff Spotlight: Meet Mike Nichols!

Apr 22, 2019  |  at 9:02 am  |  by awright

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Michael (Mike) Nichols, Interim CEO/President of the Coalition for the Homeless, joined the organization in January of this year. Born and raised in Birmingham, Alabama, Mike moved to Atlanta, Georgia to attend law school and eventually served as a Georgia State Representative. He then made his way to Houston in 1981 to serve as General Counsel for the Sysco Corporation.

Abbie: What made you interested in fulfilling the role as Interim CEO for the Coalition?

Mike: First, I saw an opportunity to help an extremely important organization (the Coalition) solve one of Houston’s most significant social issues. Second, I saw an opportunity to help improve the government’s approach on the issue of homelessness. The Coalition is in many ways a private/public partnership, and it concerned me that sometimes philanthropy can mask bad government. There is an opportunity to help government and philanthropy work in partnership more effectively. And third, my youngest daughter is a case worker in Seattle, also working in the homeless service system there.

Abbie: Have you always worked for nonprofits? If not, what made you decide to enter the nonprofit world?

Mike: This will actually be my second time working at a nonprofit; I also served as Interim CEO at the Houston Parks Board. Through my career, I have also been able to volunteer for a number of nonprofits. I served as Chairman of the Board of the Houston Food Bank, Chairman of the Board of Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast, and as an officer of Congregation Beth Israel. I am also currently a board member of the American Jewish Committee.

Abbie: Since you started at the Coalition, what has been your favorite thing about working here and what has been your greatest challenge?

Mike: I would have to say my favorite thing has been the ability to meet the incredible people who are committed to helping our most vulnerable populations.My greatest challenge is understanding a very complex system of homeless solutions, an even more complex system of funding these solutions, and trying to make these systems work as effectively as possible.

Abbie: What are your goals for the future of this organization?

Mike: I really want to help strengthen the organization’s financial position and its reporting so it can grow to support the number of current and future projects that it’s responsible for leading. I also want to work towards improving relationships with our service providers and our funders. And lastly, I would really like to help our employees and their partners work together as seamlessly as possible.

Abbie: Now for the fun questions! What is one thing you would like to mark off your bucket list?

Mike: I’m a swimmer and I would really like to swim from our cabin on Lake Livingston to Pine Island and back, which is about 4 miles!

Abbie: What is one fun fact about yourself?

Mike: I really love to write down memories and short stories. Some stories I have written about include growing up in Birmingham and then a more fictional one about a magical ability to re-do your life.