Meet Nick Wilson

Annie KennedyInside WITS

Nick Wilson (he/him) is WITS’ new Operations Manager and joined the staff in November 2021. Read on to learn more about Nick, why The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe was the best book he read in school, and why his beloved childhood Walkman was always breaking down.

Tell us about yourself.

I’m Nick. I was born and raised in Chicago and have lived here most of my life. I’m the oldest of three and have a large extended family. Reading has been my main hobby for as long as I can remember. I have fond memories of the bookcase at my great-grandparents’ house, school library, book fairs, and my local library branch’s bookmobile. Music has also been a long-time interest. As a kid, my mother would replace my Walkman every year, because the previous one broke down from overuse. I have an AA in Philosophy from Harold Washington College, and I have ten years of experience in nonprofit operations.

What are you most looking forward to about working at WITS?

As a lifelong reader and CPS alum, I’m very excited about the WITS mission. I’m looking forward to learning more about the programs that are offered and ways that I can take on more of the administrative tasks so that program and fundraising staff can do what they do best.

What was the best book you had to read in school?

That’s a tough one. I would have to say The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis. I had to read it in middle school. I don’t remember much of the actual story, but I do remember how transported to another world I felt while reading it.

What book series would you like to see turned into a TV show?

I think the Binti series by Nnedi Okorafor would make a great TV show. It has a good combination of compelling story and stunning visuals. Ideally, the production crew would be Black woman-led for this sci-fi story that centers a Black girl.

What could you give a 30-minute presentation on with no preparation?

Policy debate. It was a big part of my life. I did debate for three years in high school and a semester in college; attended and worked at debate camps; and also judged and coached off and on for about ten years.

Tell us about your favorite teacher.

My favorite teacher, without a doubt, was Ms. Cannon. I had her for second and third grade. She liked the entire class so much that she decided to keep us for third grade. At my school, moving to third grade was a big deal because you got to move to the second floor. We were all so confused when our final report card listed the same room for the next year. After the disappointment of not moving upstairs died down, we were excited to have Ms. Cannon for another year. She was extremely dedicated to her students and was very invested me, not just as a student but also a person.

What song always puts you in a good mood?

Currently, it’s “Don’t Stop Me Now” by Queen. Freddie Mercury was such a raw, unstoppable force, and that energy is present in this song in a palpable way. It also reminds me of the karaoke bar scene in Red, White & Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston, which always makes me smile.

WITS is committed to being an antiracist organization. How does diversity, equity, and inclusion come through in your work?

I try to keep DEI at the forefront of my work. This generally takes the form of asking myself questions and interrogating my assumptions. Are there ways in which the language in the employee handbook could be more inclusive? Am I looking at holidays from a Judeo-Christian lens? Am I being as open-minded as possible in the hiring process, from where jobs are posted to résumé screening? This even includes paying our vendors and contractors in a timely manner, because not everyone can afford to wait for those payments.