President & Chief Executive Officer
As President and CEO of DESC, Nicole Sherard-Freeman is responsible for leading the strategy and day-to-day operations of the agency, in support of the city’s vision for talent readiness and employment demand for Detroit residents.
Nicole brings nearly 30 years combined experience in corporate, non-profit, and entrepreneurial sectors, and the proven ability to develop and manage complex, cross-sector partnerships. From external relationships with community-based organizations and philanthropic investors to direct, daily management of initiatives for government partners, Nicole’s unique skill set integrates significant experience managing relationships with employers and the close examination and analysis of those who provide direct service to Detroit job-seekers.
As the former Director for Corporation for a Skilled Workforce’s Detroit Portfolio, Nicole was a lead researcher and co-author of two significant reports about Detroit’s talent pool and job market: Detroit’s Untapped Talent – Jobs and On-ramps Needed; and, Detroit’s Untapped Talent – Pathways and Partnerships for Success. Nicole’s corporate background includes more than 20 years of experience in Operations, Sales, and HR leadership for Fortune 500 companies.
Born and raised in Detroit, Nicole is a graduate of Renaissance High School. She holds a Bachelor’s of Science in Business Administration, and has completed graduate studies in Organizational Management and Development at Fielding Graduate University. She holds a micro-credential in Global Human Capital Trends from Columbia University School of Professional Studies.
Nicole serves on the Board of Schoolcraft College Foundation, is Vice-Chair of the Workforce Intelligence Network, was an inaugural cohort member of Metro Detroit’s National SEED (Seeking Educational Equity and Diversity) Project, a flagship program of Wellesley College. In 2018, she was a featured panelist at the Michigan Chronicle’s 2018 Pancakes and Politics, and honored by the Michigan Chronicle as a 2018 Woman of Excellence.