“The diverse culture that CBU offers allowed me to gain critical insight into the lives of students from a broad array of backgrounds and deepen my understanding of cultural differences among individuals from numerous counties across the world (many of whom have remained close friends to this day). This exposure broadened my perspective, allowed me to empathize with people differently, and significantly impacted my growth as a person.”

Nikki Dunn McNamara graduated from Southaven High School and enrolled at CBU as a Psychology major and a pitcher for the Lady Buccaneer Softball Team. During her first year as a Lady Buc, she was named GSC West Freshman of the Year and became the GSC West Co-Pitcher of the Year in her sophomore year. She still holds numerous CBU pitching records, including most wins, lowest earned run average, and most strikeouts. She was also active in Zeta Tau Alpha. As a Psychology major, she presented social science research at the Mid-South Psychology Conference and the Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology (SIOP) Conference in New Orleans. She served an internship with the United States Marshals Service and regularly volunteered at the Humane Society of Memphis and Shelby County.

Nikki says that her favorite memories of CBU include meeting her future husband — Brian McNamara (BSBA Finance ’08) — on the Signaigo Soccer Field during her first week on campus as a freshman. “He proposed to me several years later, in the same spot on the soccer field where we first met. We have now been together for a total of 15 years, have been married for nine years, and are proud parents to five-year-old twins, Dunn and Clare.”

Following her graduation in 2009 — and being honored with a Certificate of Presidential Recognition for outstanding achievements and service — Nikki relocated to Brian’s hometown of Lafayette, LA where she began graduate studies at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette and served as a research and teaching assistant. She relocated to Baton Rouge in 2012 as a Human Resource Analyst for the Louisiana Department of Public Safety & Corrections. She took a position at Louisiana State University in 2014 as a Human Resource Coordinator, where she was promoted to Human Resource Manager, Assistant Director of Human Resources, and Associate Director of Human Resources. During this time, she also completed her Master of Science degree in Communication with a concentration in Organizational Communication and a minor in Psychology from University of Louisiana at Lafayette. Nikki became Director of Human Resources at Franciscan Missionaries of Our Lady Health System (FMOLHS) in 2021 and now also serves as its Director of Corporate Shared Services & System Employee Relations.

Nikki is certified by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) as a Senior Certified Professional (SHRM-SCP) and in Inclusive Workplace Culture (SHRM-IWC). She currently serves in a voluntary capacity as the Louisiana State Council Certification Director of SHRM for the state of Louisiana and as a Volunteer SHRM Certification Instructor. She is also an active member of the FMOLHS Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (DEI) System Operational Council, responsible for identifying different avenues to financially support initiatives to increase DEI across the organization. She has previously served as Certification Director for the Greater Baton Rouge SHRM Board of Directors and as a SHRM22 National Conference Volunteer in New Orleans in July 2022. The Greater Baton Rouge SHRM recognized her as its Outstanding HR Professional of the Year in 2020.

While at Louisiana State University, Nikki served as Chair of the LSU University SACSCOC Assessment Committee/Task Force. She also served as a member and HRM representative of the LSU University Committee for Unsatisfactory Faculty Performance Evaluation Procedures, the LSU University Diversity Committee for Classified Worker Accommodations, and the LSU University Committee for Dismissal for Cause Procedures for Faculty. She was also a Watermark Knowledge Ambassador and a member of the Digital Measures Workflow Insight Board. Nikki was recognized with the LSU Foundation Staff Outstanding Service Award in 2009.

I made the decision to pursue a career in Human Resources while enrolled in Dr. Tracie Burke’s Professional Careers in Psychology course during my sophomore year at CBU, specifically after hearing a guest speaker who was an HR professional speak to the class about her role. More recently, this came full circle as I was incredibly honored to be invited by Dr. Burke to serve as a guest speaker for her current students and teach them about my role in HR. I was able to provide them with advice about pursuing a career in the field of Human Resources, which was a very special experience for me. I was grateful for the opportunity to give back to my alma mater in this manner and am thankful to Dr. Burke for the invitation.