Nicole Barreira

"I feel very successful...it has everything to do with my time at SNHU."

Nicole Barreira '06 always knew she wanted to be a chef, but even after studying culinary arts and earning a B.A.S. in hospitality at SNHU, her love of learning wasn't yet satiated.

"Food is my passion," she says, "But I knew that I wanted to be further educated. I knew I wanted to combine my love of people with my love of food."

While working full time managing the dining room at a local restaurant, Nicole enrolled in SNHU's master's program in organizational leadership.

"I tell them that it's kind of like an M.B.A., but instead of learning how to manage books, or accounts, you learn how to manage people," Nicole says.

Today, Nicole heads the menu development and marketing teams at T-Bones / Cactus Jacks, a New Hampshire restaurant chain. She spends weeks at a time with her crew at the company's test kitchen in Derry, "playing with food."

"I feel very successful, and it has everything to do with my time at SNHU," Nicole says, "Before I started my master's, I was convinced it was going to be difficult. But in the SNHU classroom, the teachers related to me both on the level of professor and on the level of being a person. I never needed to ask for help. They were always just there, assisting me, so that I might be more successful."

She takes great satisfaction in recognizing and fostering others' potential.

"I just love stepping back and watching my crew learn," she says.