Meet Nicole Russell: Non-Profit Co-Founder, Best-Selling Author and Complex Networks’ Director of Community Outreach

Nicole Russell is the Co-Founder and Executive Director of the Precious Dreams Foundation.  In addition to advocating for mental health, emotional stability, foster care and youth homelessness, she released an Amazon #1 New Release self-help book titled, “Everything a Band-Aid Can’t Fix: A Teen Guide for Healing and Dealing with Life.”  Nicole’s philanthropic strides have been highlighted by O, The Oprah Magazine, GLAMOUR Magazine as their “Everyday Hero of the Year”, Observer’s “Top 20 Heroes Under 40” and she has received countless awards recognizing her efforts. 

Here, Nicole Russell discusses the various hats she wears, how she started her non-profit, what the future holds and leaves us with wise words to live by. 

 

HC: What was your life like prior to starting Precious Dreams Foundation? What did you do, what were your goals and how has all of that changed? 

Nicole: I was a manager for VIP services at Madison Square Garden and I was freelancing for companies like BET and Nickelodeon to assist with curating upscale events and award shows. Similar to now, I was focused on the human experience and building events and programming that accommodated a specific group of people. I always wanted to help children, but besides volunteering for organizations here and there, I wasn’t fully tapped into using my skills to impact youth and/or underserved communities. 

HC: Can you tell us about how Precious Dreams Foundation (PDF) came about and how you created this non-profit in such a short time?  

Nicole: I started the organization in 2012 with the help of a Google search. I honestly didn’t have any experience working in the non-profit sector, but I was eager to create a movement that supported homeless and foster youth and I wanted to create something unique. I hired a CPA and filed the paperwork needed to organize on a professional level and fundraise to support the mission. It was easy and PDF served as a passion project for me while I worked my full-time gig. It eventually grew as word spread and people saw how impactful our events were for the youth in attendance. 

HC: Tell us more about your book. What impact do you want it to leave on readers?

Nicole: It’s a self-help guide for teens and young adults. I wrote it to help people navigate the daily stress and tough decisions one must make sometimes without experience or knowledge. It’s full of the things I wish I knew, mistakes I could’ve avoided and even advice from some of my celebrity friends like Miguel, A$AP Ferg and Gary Vee. I hope it shows young people their ability to save themselves. We are equipped with the tools to release our anger, sadness and negative thoughts. We’re more powerful than we give ourselves credit and I want young people to tap into that power. There’s no need to suppress your emotions anymore. It’s time to do the work and go through it because we all deserve more self-love. 

HC: Alongside, author and co-founder of Precious Dreams, you also work as a consultant for Complex. Can you explain the work you do for them and how this translates into your overall mission? Nicole: At Complex we’ve recently created a philanthropic division called Complex Community. It’s our way of providing more support to the communities that we serve and it’s a way to use our resources to do more good for the world. You’ll start to see those efforts with initiatives like Community Week, which will happen in every ComplexCon host city. Media companies care too and Complex was adamant on taking the lead to show the world it’s not just about creating content that matters, but it’s also about doing the work when the cameras are off.  

HC: With your many titles, you also manage time to talk on panels, visit schools, and run/plan comfort drops- How do you balance it all?

Nicole: It’s just pure drive. I’m an overachiever and if you want to change the world and make a difference, it takes hard work and determination. I find time for what matters and this is the work that matters the most to me. 

HC: What does the future hold for Nicole Russell? Is there another book in the works, are you planning on expanding the Precious Dreams reach? 

Nicole:  There is another self-help book in the works. I want other people to have all of this knowledge I’ve obtained through my healing work and workshops with youth.  PDF is growing and we’re looking for more ambassadors and chapter leaders.  As far as myself, you’ll find me wherever there’s a need for support in a community that feels silenced or overlooked.  

HC: What is the most important thing you’ve learned along your journey? Is there any advice you could leave us with? 

Nicole: Be good to people. Don’t burn bridges and sometimes the best response is no response at all. You are the peace that you need and never give anyone the power of taking that from you.

HC: Lastly, is there anything else you’d like to add or anything else you want our readers to know?

Nicole: Commit yourself to being the best at what you do and then figure out how to share that knowledge or craft with the world. It needs you. 

 

Below is some information on the Precious Dreams Foundation, more information about Nicole and where you can find her book.