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Badger of the Year 2017: Nicole Nelson BBA’03, MAC’04

This year, the Alumni Chapter of Orange County is happy to honor Nicole Nelson BBA'03, MAC'04 as this year’s Badger of the Year. Nicole is a passionate and enthusiastic Badger and demonstrates this same zeal in many areas of life. Nicole is an active member of both the chapter and other alumni activities. Nicole has served on the board and as treasurer and membership chair of the chapter since 2011. Nicole actively participates in various chapter events and is often found in her red high heels kicking off “Jump Around” during Saturday football game viewings, or annually taking pictures at the annual Cheesehead Classic golf tournament. Nicole has also served on the Wisconsin School of Business Alumni Advisory Board since 2014, being an ambassador for the School of Business Brand, and providing insights to the School as to ways to connect with Business Badgers across the country. Nicole has served on the Recruitment Committee for the past two seasons and helped to shape a diverse board to continue this endeavor long after her term completes next year. Nicole also was recently a guest lecturer for the Bolz Center for Arts Administration program, sharing with Wisconsin MBA students about how arts and business can work together in the real world. While her first love is Bucky, a close second is Nicole’s passion for dancing. Nicole started dancing in childhood, had been a competitive dancer and teacher. Four years ago, she was inspired to start a not-for-profit called Right 2 Rhythm. Right 2 Rhythm seeks to bring dance to all children, inspiring confidence, full self-expression, and a healthy body image. The organization has an annual fundraiser which celebrates dance; sharing dance lessons, performances, games, and an all-around fun night with participants. The funds raised are then used to support various program activities which include supporting individual children, school arts programs, and other not-for-profit programs. In 2015, Right 2 Rhythm started an after school Dance Club at Buena Vista Arts Integrated School. Nicole serves as choreographer and teacher of the club which serves more than 50 kids each semester. Most recently, Right 2 Rhythm started a partnership with Big Brothers Big Sisters of Orange County; starting out by sponsoring one of their match events, Dance Lessons and an ice cream social. Even with all of her extra-curricular activities, Nicole is active in the Business community. Nicole has worked as a Certified Public Accountant for BDO USA, LLP for almost 13 years, recently taking on technical roles in both the national and global departments based on her strength in delivering audit quality. Her favorite part is getting to travel the country, and soon the globe, training employees and partners of the firm in how to deliver quality audits. Nicole is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin (Bachelor of Business Administration, Accounting 2003 and Master of Accounting 2004) and works as a Global Assurance Director and Audit Quality Director for BDO USA, LLP. Nicole resides in Orange County, CA.