Cray Kaiser Employee Spotlight: Nicole Hughes-Durkin

In Cray Kaiser’s Employee Spotlight series, we highlight a member of the CK team. We couldn’t be prouder of the team we’ve grown and we’re excited for you to get to know them. This month we’re shining our spotlight on Nicole Hughes-Durkin.

Getting to Know Nicole

No single day is ever the same for Nicole as CK’s HR Coordinator. Her typical activities and engagements range from attending career fairs and engaging in recruitment activities to registering staff members for Continuing Professional Education (CPE). She also provides support in the areas of employee benefits and onboarding processes.

Before she joined the CK team, Nicole attended Governors State University. She also worked at the Hinsdale Hospital in the Quality Management Department. This past year, Dr. Mark Cohen, the Superintendent at Mokena School District nominated her for the Intern of the Year award. The nomination process was facilitated by Moraine Valley Community College and she ultimately received the Intern of the Year award.

Why CK?

Nicole joined the CK team in October of 2019. What initially drew her in was the organization’s commitment to nurturing and helping their employees grow. When asked what elements of the culture motivates her, Nicole said, “The positive and collaborative culture that encourages innovation and continuous learning!” She also appreciates the support the team receives and the importance CK places on inclusivity. “The challenging and rewarding nature of my position coupled with the autonomy and opportunities for advancement have been strong motivators for me to continue my career at CK.”

When asked which core value means the most to her, Nicole answered, “The core value that holds the greatest significance for me is “people.”’ She continued, “In my role, I firmly believe that prioritizing the well-being of individuals is vital. I derive immense satisfaction and fulfillment from providing support to my team, whether it involves aiding in the search of CPE classes, recruiting new staff, or addressing any inquiries.”

Nicole’s favorite CK outing was the gathering at K-1 Speed. Since the team at CK can be competitive, she thought that it was a thrill to engage in races and compete against one another. It was an exciting post-tax season event.

More About Nicole

How do you like to spend your weekends/time off? Bonus question: what do you want to do most when tax season is over?

I like to spend my weekends/time off with my family. We love to travel as a family even if it is little weekend trips. We enjoy going out biking, hiking, and swimming. The thing I want to do the most when tax season is over is sleep in.

Tell us about your family.

For over 13 years I have been happily married to my husband Sean. Our family includes two wonderful boys, Logan (10 years old) and Parker (7 years old), as well as our beloved Shiba Inu named Kira. We cherish the moments we spend together as a family, whether it’s having dirt biking adventures or simply enjoying a cozy movie night indoors.

What was your favorite vacation?

My favorite vacation was in 2021 when we treated our boys to a memorable trip to Universal Studios and Disney. The vacation was a surprise for the boys, and their surprise when we showed up at the airport in a limo was an amazing moment.

What’s your favorite movie or tv show?

Gilmore Girls

What’s the last book you read?

Becoming by Michelle Obama

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