42 Fun Facts About …


Nicole C. Wong is a life explorer, multimedia storyteller, and experience architect.  Her insatiable curiosity about everything from nooks and crannies of daily life to subcultures around the world have led her to unearth discoveries about Silicon Valley techies’ habit of corporate-cafeteria hopping and the taste of fried crickets in China.  And more serious stuff, like insights about layoffs and offshoring at the world’s largest technology company.  This appetite for adventure and passion for communicating with words, audio, and video has fueled an award-winning journalism career — with reporting experience in the United States, Europe, Asia, and Latin America — as a business and metro journalist at The Boston Globe, The San Jose Mercury News, and The Washington Post from 2001 to 2009.

Later in 2009, the San Francisco native moved to New York to be a Knight-Bagehot Fellow in Economics and Business at Columbia Business School and Columbia Journalism School.  When her yearlong academic fellowship concluded, she eagerly moved home to put her storytelling and business-strategy skills to good use as a global brand marketing manager at Yahoo! Inc. Then, as storytelling senior manager, Nicole hacked together and rapidly iterated training programs that sharpened the skills of the company’s top 60 U.S.-based conference speakers and that helped everyone from front-line employees to senior executives understand, personally own, and be ambassadors of the company’s vision, mission, strategy, value proposition, and culture. Then, as senior manager of leadership development, Nicole delighted in applying her insights as a performance consultant, instructional designer, facilitator, coach, and global program manager for a portfolio of learning solutions that cultivated leadership skills.

In 2015, Nicole embarked on a new adventure as founder and chief storyteller of UpLeveler, a learning-and-development consulting practice that lifts leaders’ business results by weaving data-driven insights into storytelling that inspires people to believe and act. Since PwC hired her as a full-time employee that year to help launch its content-strategy and curation team as the leadership-development subject-matter expert, she has been operating UpLeveler on a pro-bono basis to serve non-profit organizations.

Nicole’s personal mission is to inspire radical hope. Follow her journey here.


2014: Yahoo! Inc.’s HR organization gave Nicole a You Rock Quarterly Award for “embracing change and driving excellence and collaboration” through “exceptional work defining, developing, and delivering” the Hiring Top Talent training program, producing “high-quality results with enthusiasm and professionalism.”

June 2010: Foreign Press Center Japan awarded Nicole a fellowship to spend 11 days in November in Tokyo and Osaka researching the topic of her choice: Philanthropy and social innovation.  FPCJ is a non-profit independent private foundation, which received basic funding for the fellowship from Nihon Shinbun Kyokai (The Japan Newspaper Publishers and Editors Association) and the former Keidanren (now the Japan Business Federation).

February 2010: Columbia Business School‘s Pangea Advisors program selected Nicole as one of three students to serve as a pro-bono strategic consultant on a public-health and consumer-technology project in India.  Her team spent a week in New Delhi researching issues surrounding counterfeit prescription medicine and dedicated the rest of their free time during the Spring Semester to creating a public-awareness marketing plan targeting consumers throughout India.

May 2009:  Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism awarded Nicole one of nine Knight-Bagehot fellowships to spend August 2009 through May 2010 taking whichever classes intrigued her at Columbia Business School, Columbia Law School, the School of International and Public Affairs at Columbia, and the Journalism School.  As a fellow, she also engaged in off-the-record seminars and dinner meetings with corporate executives, economists, and academics and went on field trips to media companies and financial institutions in New York.

September 2008:  The Reuters Foundation and Stanley Foundation selected Nicole as one of six American journalists, from a pool of more than 100 applicants, to receive a Tsinghua University-Thomson Reuters Global Journalism Fellowship.  The U.S. fellows traveled to Beijing and Tianjin later that year to engage with six Chinese journalists in a week-long, cross-cultural examination of globalization in China.

September 2007:  The Society of Professional Journalists’ Northern California Chapter named Nicole the Outstanding Emerging Journalist of the Year for her business stories “that were enterprising, engaging and accessible.  Her stories show how industry practices affect real people.”

April 2007:  The TJFR Group/NewsBios named Nicole one of the Top 30 Under 30 young business reporters in the country for her “extensive reporting using a vast array of documents,” resulting in a series of high-profile stories that examined Hewlett-Packard’s worldwide layoffs since 2000.

April 2007: The Society of American Business Editors and Writers gave Nicole and the rest of the San Jose Mercury News business staff the Best in Business Award for their overall excellence, providing coverage that gave “deep insights into the tech-heavy market” and showed  “how cultural trends, consumer behavior as well as changing job markets … can shine brilliantly through a business prism.”

June 2006: Judges from Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism in conjunction with The American Council on Germany awarded Nicole a McCloy Fellowship to spend a month in Europe reporting on the topic of her choice:  How labor laws, political activism, national culture, and technology influence multinational companies’ decision-making processes when distributing layoffs across countries around the world.

May 2006:  The UCLA Anderson School of Management honored Nicole and seven of her San Jose Mercury News colleagues as one of four finalists for the Gerald Loeb Award for Distinguished Business and Financial Journalism in the Deadline Writing category for producing an authoritative package on the surprise ousting of Hewlett-Packard chief executive Carly Fiorina.

April 2006:  The Society of American Business Editors and Writers honored Nicole and her San Jose Mercury News colleagues with the Breaking News Award for reporting “Why Fiorina was Ousted” with “smart touches in a well-organized, comprehensive package.”

April 2006: The Society of American Business Editors and Writers gave Nicole and the rest of the San Jose Mercury News business staff the Best in Business Award for their overall excellence, specifically for their “global perspective,” “innovative use of the Web,” and “ability to make technology topics both comprehensive and reader-friendly.”

September 2005: The Society of Professional Journalists’ Northern California Chapter gave Nicole and her San Jose Mercury News colleagues the Excellence in Journalism Award for their “comprehensive, multidimensional” breaking-news coverage of Hewlett-Packard’s ousting of chief executive Carly Fiorina.

July 2005: The San Jose Mercury News gave Nicole a General Excellence Quarterly Award for her creative approach to covering employment issues, specifically by brainstorming and producing sophisticated, quirky, unique stories that consistently elevated this topic to front-page status and scooped the competition — all within her first six months as a Mercury News business reporter.