Nicole S. Williams is a retired corporate executive who has served primarily as a senior financial officer for several corporations in the Midwest. She came to Chicago in 1968 to earn an MBA from the University of Chicago. Her first job after receiving her MBA in 1970 was as the financial analyst for the Illinois Bureau of the Budget under the Ogilvie administration. Recent positions have included President of a subsidiary; EVP and CFO of its parent, Abraxis Bioscience Inc., a public specialty pharmaceutical company; and as EVP and Corporate Secretary of R.P. Scherer Corporation, a public, global drug delivery company purchased by Cardinal Health in 1999. Early in her career she was a member of the Board of the Metropolitan Planning Council in Chicago from 1976 –1992 and also Chair of the Illinois Environmental Facilities Financing Authority from 1972–1982. Today she continues to serve as a director of both public and private companies. Since 2005 she has been a director and currently serves as Vice Chair and Senior Financial Counsel of the Chicago Horticultural Society.
Nicole’s relationship with Openlands goes back almost 20 years when she granted to Openlands a conservation easement covering the ravine segment of her property in Glencoe. Recently, she and Openlands together successfully defended the easement against neighbors who had repeatedly cut trees to improve their view of the lake.
A key pastime is traveling to experience the local gardens and natural habitats in various parts of the world. As avid gardeners, she and her husband have incorporated in their Glencoe garden some of the plants and horticultural designs discovered in their travels.
“I cannot conceive of living without being outdoors and exposed to natural habitats. Even as a child, I was encouraged to play outdoors and learned at a very early age how to help in the garden. I feel strongly that children need this exposure to nature as it is such a rewarding experience and one that will enrich their lives as they grow older. Fundamentally, I am determined to do everything I can to help preserve this wonderful planet and, in particular, this incredibly natural diversity that surrounds us in the northeastern Illinois region.”