Nicole Brunson is Associate General Counsel on Trane Technologies’ Commercial Litigation team, but she is not your typical lawyer. In college, she majored in biochemistry and wanted to find the cure for cancer. Then she decided to get her MBA to give her science degree some business credibility. She took the LSAT almost on the lark after taking the practice test because it was offered in her town and she loves solving problems. She earned a high score without cracking a textbook.
But no matter how unordinary, Nicole’s career in law is the perfect outlet for her combination of technical skills, analytical mind, business savvy and critical thinking. In addition to making a difference for the company in legal matters, Nicole wants to make an impact on the people at her company in her role as co-chair of Trane Technologies’ Black Employee Network (BEN), one of eight employee resource groups (ERGs) that reflect the diversity of the Trane Technologies workforce around the globe.
Nicole champions diversity and inclusion at Trane Technologies and honors her own dimensions of diversity – and those of everyone she meets. Below, she shared the importance of cultivating inclusion through employee resources groups, her goals and role models, and her best career advice.
Why are employee resource groups (ERGs) important?
ERGs create community within the larger organization, and in a company as large as ours, it’s easy to get consumed by your role or function. When you need a place to go to recharge and rejuvenate, you often look to do so within your own community. ERGs are important because they create places people can go to be seen beyond their role or function by people who understand what they’re going through at work and in the community.
ERGs are also a safe way for the entire company to appreciate the different dimensions of diversity of their employees and for employees to affiliate with demographics they are not part of, to learn and share in a way that is non-threatening to develop better understanding.
Why do you show up every day?
Because my job isn’t done yet. I love what I do for a living and I love where I do it. And I believe I have more to give beyond the cases and disputes I handle in my legal role. I have more to give to this company to help it be a place that everyone wants to come to work, that makes products that everyone wants to own.
Who is your role model?
My 15-year-old daughter is one of my role models. She is unapologetically herself, even if it comes with some self-doubt; we all have that from time to time. My daughter is committed to being who she is, in a way that’s respectful and admirable — and she doesn’t apologize for it.
What impact do you want to have at work?
I have a mantra: Leave it better than I found it. So, every piece of work I touch, every person I meet, every project I engage in: I want to create value and leave it better than I found it. I want to do good and bring good to everything I touch and everyone I meet.
Don’t be afraid to try something different or new. It’s not a failure if you’ve given your best, although oftentimes people fail because they don’t give their best.
My husband, James, and I have three children: 15-year-old twins Neala and Jackson and three-year-old Davis. My husband is a retired army veteran and pastor. I’m “mom-mom” to his 29-year-old son, James, Jr. (the only steps in our house go up and down).
Your family culture?
We are a blended family that believes in fairness and the equality of all people. We choose to be there for each other and to be for each other.