Being relational drives business. Your brand/business must be about more than just transactions in order for it to thrive. The beauty happens in between the transactions/deals. When you are relational, you step into the spaces between transactions, so to speak, and that step-in is what makes clients come back, makes them choose you, makes colleagues recommend you, and makes people want to work with you.

Our featured guest today is A. Nicole Campbell.

Nicole (Nic) is a mom first, and everything else falls into place because of it. She’s an MIT graduate and an attorney who has served in senior leadership positions for two billionaire hedge fund giants. 

Nic recently transitioned to a new role, having founded Build Up Advisory Group (February, 2019). Her firm specializes in designing and building systems to help nonprofits, philanthropies, social entrepreneurs, and philanthropists thrive. She’s working to scale it to create the kind of workplace she’s always wanted to work in.

Build Up, Inc. is a boutique capacity builder that holistically supports leaders of color and projects and nonprofits led by people of color that serve under-resourced communities. Probably the first of its kind, and hopefully it can serve as a model for other fiscal sponsors.

My ask today is that you’d help share this episode. If you’re posting to social, please tag @tbpod and use the hashtag #TrailblazersFM


  • I really am so thankful and grateful to have my two little girls.  They have really aligned my priorities and my life.  I used to ask myself the question of ‘what could I be?’ and they’ve made me change that to ‘how good can I become?’
  • My mom instilled in us that education is important, and this is how you can achieve anything.  It’s the one thing that no one can take away from you. 
  • With an education and a strong foundation, you can pretty much do anything.
  • My education at MIT set me up to be a problem solver that comes to problems with different levels of expertise and experience to bear on how I then solve that problem.
  • I’m no longer a lawyer that comes to the problem and gives you my legal opinion; but I am a problem solver that happens to have legal experience and expertise.
  • Build Up Advisory Group specializes in infrastructure design.  We focus on building out the organizational infrastructure of philanthropists and non-profits.  We spend a lot of time with leaders of these organizations, helping them set up the foundation, so that they can deliver on their mission and make sure that their programmatic work is supported.
  • We serve these organizations through the lens of governance, grant making, and organizational design.
  • If an organization is doing good programmatic work, and you strengthen their infrastructure, they will do outstanding work.
  • Black Male Achievement means the celebration of Black boys and men, recognizing how amazing they are, and putting that at the forefront of the conversation we are having about society and how we can improve.
  • If there is Black Male Achievement, then everyone is achieving.
  • Being relational drives business.  In service-based professions, we tend to move on a transaction-by-transaction basis, but there are spaces in between those transactions.
  • In between those transactions, in those spaces, are where your client and the organization are most vulnerable; that’s where they have the need.
  • If you’re not asking questions about what’s happening in between transactions and providing a level of support in between those transactions, you’re missing out on a huge part of the relationship with your client and a huge part of the service that you can provide to your client.
  • People keep coming back to you because of how you relate to them and how they relate to you.
  • They will keep picking you, want to work with you, and refer you to other people, because they feel supported, and they feel that you are a resource.  You can only get there, if you are relational.
  • While you might be able to provide transaction-level support, you’re not able to provide the holistic support that your client will benefit from, without expertise.
  • If you’re a grant-making organization, put organizations that are focused on under-resourced communities — particularly those that are led by people of colour —  on your radar; and allow them to tell their own stories rather than you or the organization stepping in to tell their story for them, thinking that you’re doing it better.
  • Build Up, Inc. helps to create or build the capacity of leaders of colour and projects and organizations that are supporting under-resourced communities.



  • Lean in to you! In the morning, affirm “I believe in me.  I believe in my capabilities.  I believe in my abilities. I believe in who I am.”
  • Once you leave your home, your cocoon, your safety net, and you go out into the world, there is going to be so many things that are trying to tear you down from that and pull you down from that.  So, if you start your day with this affirmation, it goes a very long way when you fail in something and need to recover.
  • When you come back home, reflect and assess, “How did I lean into me day?  Where did I show up? When did you shy away?  When did you step away? and Why?”


The Campaign for Black Male Achievement. Join, support and invest in this movement to help improve the life outcomes of our black men and boys.


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