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Recognizing 100 CEOs & C-level Executives
Amelia Nickerson First Step Staffing, Inc

Amelia Nickerson

Chief Executive Officer

First Step Staffing Inc.

Location: Atlanta

Founded: 2007

Industry: Nonprofit; Staffing

Amelia Nickerson has been working in the nonprofit sector in Atlanta for over 19 years, starting with the Atlanta Symphony and then as an associate director for Coxe Curry & Associates. She has worked with dozens of nonprofits, specializing in fundraising and board governance which prepared her to lead what has become the largest agency of its kind in the U.S. – First Step Staffing Inc.

First Step Staffing Inc.’s mission is to provide a pathway to economic stability through employment and retention services. As the largest nonprofit staffing agency in the U.S., the organization hires and supports men and women experiencing homelessness, veterans, those impacted by the criminal justice system and others facing barriers to work. Founded in Atlanta in 2007, First Step now operates in seven states and serves more than 8,000 individuals annually.

Under Nickerson’s leadership, First Step is in the top 5% of all staffing agencies in the U.S. based on its revenue and has been listed as one of the Fastest Growing Staffing Firms in the U.S. by Staffing Industry Analysts. The organization was also recognized for its innovation by the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness with an Extra Mile Award in 2020.

Nickerson has led the expansion of First Step, helping to grow the company from $2 million in annual revenue to over $60 million. She has helped to launch six new markets and is actively involved in future expansion opportunities.

“She has become a thought leader for both fair-chance hiring and diversity hiring in the workforce development, economic development and staffing/HR sectors,” said her staff.

An active member of the community, Nickerson sits on the Workforce Fulton Board of Directors and represented First Step at the Republican Governors’ Association meeting. She has been published by Forbes Magazine and co-authored a chapter for the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta’s book “Workforce Realigned.”

As a leader, Nickerson said it’s essential to be good at building strong teams. “In today’s fast-moving world, it is impossible for one person to stay on top of all the things needed to run a successful company,” she said. “A great leader knows how to hire the right people for the job and how to empower the team to accomplish more together.”

A key part of her role is collaboration to ensure the difficult decisions are made as a group. “I enjoy finding ways to make complex problems simple and explaining them to people from all backgrounds,” said Nickerson. “This could mean working directly with First Step’s homeless clients or talking with major funders, bankers and corporate leaders about our approach to reducing poverty.”

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I enjoy finding ways to make complex problems simple and explaining them to people from all backgrounds. This could mean working directly with First Step’s homeless clients or talking with major funders, bankers, and corporate leaders about our approach to reducing poverty.

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