Loleta Beckett-Nicholson


Director, Rental Management & Program Services, The Riverside Church, New York City, Age: 37

For Loleta Beckett-Nicholson, managing a $2 million budget is more than business — it’s a ministry. She’s the director of rental management and program services for The Riverside Church, a New York City congregation of more than 2,000 people dedicated to “serving God through word and witness; treat all human beings as sisters and brothers; and foster responsible stewardship of all God’s creation.” That charge includes making good use of its 450,000 square feet of real estate.

Beckett-Nicholson strives to make a positive contribution to the church and world beyond. That’s why she works so hard to ensure that everything from language-learning classes to major events with headliners like South African Nobel Peace Prize winner Desmond Tutu and poet Maya Angelou go off without a hitch. “We want programs that are going to inform the community,” she says.  “That’s their food for that event. They are coming in because they have a need and desire to understand different people, different cultures. It really has to feed the soul.”

Moving from the bottom-line-focused hotel business to a faith-based nonprofit with more philanthropic goals was a dream come true. Beckett-Nicholson marries the church’s vision with the structured business development, sales, operations and staff development processes she learned as a hospitality management student at Johnson & Wales University and catering manager at large hotels in New York and New Jersey. “Yes, to make money is a good thing, but that’s not my primary objective in this position,” she says.

Quote: “Community Service is the rent you pay to live on this earth.”

Fun Facts
What actress should play you in a movie:
Kim Coles
Facebook or LinkedIn: LinkedIn
What artist would you go on tour with: Tina Turner
Jeans and T-shirt or suit: Jeans and T-shirt
First car: Thunderbird
Favorite comedian: Jim Carrey
Number of countries visited: Four
Last movie: Taken