"I love seeing how things connect," says Nikki. "It’s like watching the puzzle of life come together." Working in business development, Nikki regularly sees the value of connections in action. "This is a people business. Without relationships, we wouldn’t have such meaningful work," she says. "It is the stories and passion of the SmithGroup architects, designers and planners that wins over our clients. I just have to get them to the table." Nikki learned the importance of making connections early in her career, when a mentor demonstrated how being human and relating to clients on a personal level made all the difference. Thanks to those life lessons, "I am a better listener in my personal life," Nikki notes. "I tend to make sure no one is left out of a conversation and everyone is connecting." Yet even Nikki needs some private time, and she finds it with her running shoes. "After a long day, there is nothing like a good run to clear your mind," she says.