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Rudy Nickens


Rudy Nickens is an executive coach, facilitator, educator, entrepreneur, and thought leader with expertise in cultural diversity, business management and community development. For over two decades, Nickens has consulted, educated and trained hundreds of local, national and international organizations in workforce diversity, leadership development, cultural competence and conflict resolution.

He specializes in efforts to eliminate the effects of internalized racism and sexism and violence against women. Prior to joining Evolution, Nickens was the director for Equal Opportunity and Diversity for the Missouri Department of Transportation which has a budget of over $2.6 billion and more than 6,000 employees.

In the wake of the death of Michael Brown, Jr. in 2014, the Governor asked for Nickens to work with the Ferguson Commission – whose mission was to conduct a “thorough, wide-ranging and unflinching study of the social and economic conditions that impede progress, equality and safety in the St. Louis region.”

Nickens also served as executive director of The St. Louis Black Repertory Company and vice president of St. Louis 2004 – a civic organization created to act as a catalyst for community development. Beyond his organizational leadership roles, Nickens
owned and operated The Sunshine Inn for years which in addition to having great food was an institution that proved a place and resources for all kinds of community activity from art to politics to community organizing.

Nickens earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology from the University of Missouri-St.Louis. A Rockefeller Foundation Next Generation Leadership Fellow, he received the Ethics Project’s Inaugural Ambassador Andrew Young Award for outstanding
leadership and the Robert Bradley Award for distinguished service.

Nickens joined the Regional Arts Commission of St. Louis Board of Commissioners in August 2022.