Nicola Halsall Idehen, The Vistria Group

Nicola Halsall Idehen
Chief Human Resources Officer
The Vistria Group
Chicago, IL

Nicola Halsall Idehen was in her 30s when she became the chief human resources officer at The Vistria Group, a private equity firm. That position followed her similarly people-focused role as senior vice president and head of talent development at asset manager firm GCM Grosvenor. “I love that focusing on people is at the heart of what I do.

My job is to figure out how to encourage people to perform at their highest potential. The more companies realize what a strategic advantage the HR function can be, the better off their business will be,” she states. Idehen has a bachelor’s degree in economics from Yale University, an MBA from Harvard Business School, and spent a semester at Oxford University in England during her junior year at Yale. She learned about herself from her Ivy League experience. “You have to be extremely disciplined and focused. I learned I could excel in those rigorous environments,” she remarks. Discipline, focus, and the pursuit of excellence were values her family instilled in her.

In her professional life, she also draws on her foundation from Riverdale Country Day School. “My teachers and coaches created a nurturing environment for me to learn and explore without ever making me believe I had to limit myself in any way. The most important lesson I learned is not to put yourself in a box or let people box you in.

You don’t have to be one thing,” says Idehen. And she has benefited from her husband’s encouragement to take professional risks and push herself when she thought she couldn’t. “My husband, who I started dating my freshman year in college, has been my cheerleader from the very beginning of our relationship.” Idehen considers herself an athlete and stays actively engaged in sports — biking, skiing, running, and taking classes at Soul Cycle. She hopes to “visit all of the countries in the Caribbean, Africa, and Latin America and explore their cuisines, languages, music, and other cultural traditions.”