Nikki Kirk (she/her) is a leadership development and cultural equity practitioner who is dedicated to advocating for systemically excluded and institutionally oppressed populations. Through her work with organizations like Americans for the Arts, the Center for Arts-Inspired Learning, and El Sistema USA, she has supported individual and organizational growth in the areas of youth and leadership development. Nikki has a background in designing, restructuring, and transitioning programs, both in-person and in virtual spaces. She has diverse experience as a facilitator, curriculum developer, program coordinator, project manager, mentor, and advisor, including designing and managing internship/fellowship programs, specifically for leaders of color.
Most recently, Nikki led a leadership development portfolio with Americans for the Arts, including its Diversity in Arts Leadership Internship and Arts & Culture Leaders of Color Fellowship programs. In this role, she oversaw internships for pre-career undergraduate students from backgrounds underrepresented in the leadership ranks of this country’s arts sector as well as a fellowship for emerging and mid-career arts administrators of color.
Nikki earned a Master’s degree in Arts, Festival, and Cultural Management from Queen Margaret University in Edinburgh, Scotland, where she researched the impact of programming at the intersection of arts and social justice. She received a Bachelor’s degree in Political Linguistics from Pitzer College in southern California, where she affirmed her interests in and the significance of language and identity, human rights, and cross-cultural understanding. She holds post-graduate certificates for training in Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, from the University of South Florida, as well as from Case Western Reserve University’s Weatherhead School of Management, for training in youth development focusing on youth interaction strategies, mental health first aid, and social and emotional learning in youth programs. She also has completed coursework for certificates addressing How to Fight the Racial Leadership Gap in Nonprofits and Sexual Harassment Prevention.