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Alex Nickle

The Cumulative Effect: Alex Nickle (BBA '10) on the lasting gift of an exceptional student experience

More than a decade after graduating from the Lazaridis School of Business and Economics’ Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) program, Alex Nickle (BBA ’10) continues to stay involved in the Laurier community. A frequent ICE Week judge, volunteer and annual donor, Nickle recently created the Alex Nickle (’10) Award supporting an equity-deserving student in financial need beginning their first year of undergraduate studies at Laurier.

Nickle had an exceptional student experience at Laurier thanks to what he calls the “cumulative effect” of diverse professional opportunities, lifelong friendships, and a sense of belonging in the Laurier community.

“I decided to go into business, because I thought that was a degree that could take me a few different places,” he explains. While the fact that Nickle’s father is a Laurier alumnus influenced his decision, he says that the size of Laurier’s Waterloo campus and the co-op program at the Lazaridis School closed the deal.

“I thought the co-op program was a huge added benefit to get your foot in the door. That was a really big positive of the program, and it turned out to be great for myself personally,” Nickle says. “My experience is a good testament to the program working well.”

Nickle landed a position at Gluskin Sheff in his third co-op term, and went on to full-time work at the company after graduation.

“I had never heard of Gluskin prior to starting the job application process through co-op,” Nickle admits. “They’re a huge supporter of the Laurier co-op program and they hire a lot of Laurier graduates as well. If my name had come across their desk without the Laurier connection, I don’t think I would have been in the running for a job there. But I worked there in my third term, got hired full-time after graduation and worked there for the next eleven years.”

Today, Nickle works with Waratah Capital Advisors, a firm that he says is also very supportive of Laurier in terms of hiring co-op students and alumni.

In addition to the professional opportunities Nickle’s program provided, meeting new people and being part of the Laurier community made his student experience special.

“I remember first year, being in residence and meeting all these new people and everyone for the most part being away from home for the first time,” he says. “Some of my best friends to this day are people I met on my residence floor that first year. I’ve been in some of their wedding parties, and these friendships have lasted well north of a decade at this point.”

Staying close with classmates and working at a company with such strong ties to Laurier, Nickle was inspired to give back to the community however he could.

“I’ve had the opportunity to work with some great alumni who are very philanthropic with the school and have given back a lot, whether it’s time, money, hiring students and alumni,” he says. “The experience for me was so good I want to give back, and hopefully in some small way help other people have the same experience.”

Through his philanthropy, Nickle finds opportunities to engage in causes he’s passionate about, in addition to supporting the Lazaridis School.

“It’s a split between the business school and something else that resonates with me,” he says. “Sometimes it’s an initiative like the COVID-19 Emergency Fund. Obviously COVID impacted a lot of people in different ways and maybe displaced people from jobs that they needed to support themselves and stay in school.”

Similarly, Nickle created the Alex Nickle (’10) Award to reduce barriers to education for equity-deserving students at Laurier.

“Everyone who’s willing to put in the time and effort deserves a chance to get an education, and I would hate for someone’s financial situation to be the impediment there. There were some significant events that happened over the last few years that really galvanized people, and this award was an opportunity to combine my passion for supporting education with helping members of communities that may face some structural disadvantages.”

Nickle describes philanthropy as something that’s often seen on a large scale, but stresses that small gifts can have large-scale impact.

“Your own situation may seem small in the grand scheme of things,” Nickle says. “But if everyone has a small impact, the cumulative effect is pretty large.”


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